Nico Hoerner's Rapid Ascent to AA is Uncommon, but Theo Epstein Says He's an Uncommon Player

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Nico Hoerner’s Rapid Ascent to AA is Uncommon, but Theo Epstein Says He’s an Uncommon Player

Chicago Cubs

It was another fun note among a day full of ’em on Opening Day: Cubs prospect Nico Hoerner, he of the tremendous Arizona Fall League and Spring Training performances, is getting the fast-track treatment, beginning his first full professional season at AA. It’s the kind of thing we’ve seen before with the Cubs’ TIPPY TOP positional college draft picks, but that shouldn’t obscure for us just how rare this is.

Cubs President Theo Epstein acknowledges just how rare it is, but hey, Nico’s a rare player:

There will almost certainly be ups and downs for Hoerner at Tennessee, which is actually not a bad thing if it happens: as part of the development process, you want a young player to be at a level where he’ll be challenged, where he’ll see right in his face the adjustments he’s going to have to make to keep climbing the ladder.

But, hey, what if even AA isn’t a challenge yet for Hoerner? How about he keeps right on climbing, eh?

Sure, maybe, but don’t expect it:

In other words, the Cubs are planning – at most – to give Hoerner a later-season taste of AAA if his work at AA justifies it. That, too, can be a really nice developmental tool to deploy before the offseason: show a young player the things he’ll need to work on in the months ahead to be ready for the next season.

However this plays out, it’s really exciting for the Cubs to have THIS kind of position player once again. Hoerner doesn’t turn 22 until May, so he’ll still be plenty young even when next season begins. Here’s hoping, by then, he’s already started to give the Cubs some tough things to think about.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.