The MLB draft is a special time for teams and players alike. Teams use this time to restock their farm systems and find talented players that will help the organization for years to come. For the player, it is a memorable day like none other. The dream of playing in MLB becomes much more realistic once a player’s name is called. One such player hoping to be selected in the 2018 draft is infielder Nico Hoerner.
Nico Hoerner 2018 MLB Draft Profile
Hoerner is a junior SS/2B for Stanford is having quite a season and a remarkable career. Hoerner is slashing .345/.391/.496 this season with 80 hits, 45 runs scored, and 40 RBI. Though he does not have any tools that rate as elite, Hoerner has done nothing but produce in college. He stands a good shot at being selected in the draft and has enough skill to round out into a solid MLB player.
Hoerner’s biggest strength is his ability to get on base in a variety of ways. He has a career .304 batting average and .351 OBP in three seasons at Stanford. Though those numbers are not elite in themselves, he has improved his numbers each season. He is hitting .345 as a senior after batting .254 as a freshman and .307 as a sophomore.
Another positive for Hoerner offensively is that he rarely strikes out. He has struck out just 73 times during his college career which is an impressive feat in itself. Unfortunately, he does not walk at a super high rate to blow his strikeout numbers out of the water. Hoerner has just 48 walks in his career, but his zone recognition and bat control should allow him to make the transition to professional baseball.
He does have a bit of speed and began utilizing it a bit more this season. Though he was never an elite base-stealer at Stanford, Hoerner grabbed 15 steals as a junior and has enough speed that he will not be a liability on the basepaths.
The biggest knock on Hoerner will undoubtedly be his lack of power. Listed at 5-foot-11 and 195 lbs., Hoerner has just three collegiate home runs. He does have 43 doubles over the course of his career, but he is not the kind of hitter that will make pitchers feel threatened. It is possible that he will develop more power as he continues to mature. However, expecting Hoerner to be a middle-of-the-order bat at the next level is likely unrealistic.
Another drawback for Hoerner is his lack of elite arm strength. That should not be a major concern as the rest of his defense profile should translate to the next level. He is a solid fielder who will be able to transition to second base if his arm does not develop further.
A good comparison for Hoerner is Paul Janish. Janish was a light-hitting, defense-first infielder who made a living with his glove over parts of nine MLB seasons. While Hoerner currently does not have the type of strong arm that Janish had, he should be able to slot in at second base for a number of organizations.
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