Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Cubs Nico Hoerner and Hayden Wesneski Snubbed


Generally speaking, as fans we are going to bias talking about different rankings when it comes to players on our teams and again this may seem a little bias, but why the hell wasn’t Nico Hoerner ranked in MLB Network’s top-10 second basemen? Or how about right-handed starting pitcher Hayden Wesneski not appearing in any top-100 prospects list?

In 2022, Hoerner played his first full season in MLB and was a top-10 shortstop, finishing the year with a 4.0 fWAR in 135 games. Much of his value came from his stellar defense, but his 106 wRC+ also ranked 10th among all shortstops and Hoerner has already proven in the past that he’s a great defender at second base.

So again, I’ll ask, why is Nico Hoerner not considered a top-10 second baseman???

From 2019-21, Hoerner played 468.1 innings at second base and had 10 defensive runs saved before he became the team’s every-day shortstop in 2022. That’s elite defense at second, followed by elite defense at shortstop and three straight seasons of producing above average offense at the plate. What kind of weird algorithm is MLB Network using that it doesn’t view Hoerner as a top-10 second baseman heading into the 2023 season?

I’m not going to freak out too much because six different analysts did rank Hoerner in their top-10 lists on MLB Network, but I guess we should then question whatever method it is they’re using to make this overall list.

By the way, I’m standing by my prediction that Nico Hoerner will win a gold glove at second base this season. Heard it here first!

As far as Wesneski goes, I know ranking prospects is extremely difficult, and the people who do it put in a lot of hard work, but it still doesn’t add up why he’s not considered a top-100 guy. Is it his age? He turned 25-years-old last December, so he is a bit older than some other pitchers ranked in prospect lists, however, no one can deny that the stuff looked awesome and he was great in his brief time up with the Cubs in September.

Wesneski has a dominant out pitch with his nasty slider and although he’s not a flamethrower on the mound he can still throw his fastball in the mid-90s. Overall in the minors last year, Wesneski pitched in 24 games, made 23 starts, record a 3.92 ERA and 1.16 WHIP, and struck out 106 batters in 110.1 innings. Then, when Wesneski was called up to the majors, he had a 2.18 ERA and 0.94 WHIP in 33 innings, holding opposing hitters to a .198 batting average.

JJ Cooper, editor-in-chief for Baseball America, did respond to the question of why Wesneski missed out on being a top-100 prospect in BA’s rankings, as opposed to someone like St. Louis Cardinals prospect Matt Liberatore who was ranked 79th.

Fair and I will repeat, these guys know a lot more about the prospects they rank than I ever will, so I’ll respect their opinions.

That being said, print these lists, hang them up at their lockers to give Hoerner and Wesneski some extra motivation! Nothing wrong to play with a chip on your shoulder.


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