On the "Game-Saving," "Sexy" Nico Hoerner Diving Play

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On the “Game-Saving,” “Sexy” Nico Hoerner Diving Play

Chicago Cubs

On a night where two Cubs legends were returning, simultaneously, for their first game back at Wrigley Field, you would have to do something really, really special on the baseball side to stand out. But with two outs and the bases loaded in the 8th inning, that’s what Nico Hoerner did, and everyone took notice.

First, again, the play that saved two runs and possibly more (Willson Contreras called it the “game-saver”), complete with the over-the-moon reaction from pitcher Andrew Chafin:

Off Starlin Castro’s bat, that looked like a single to me. Even once the camera swung to show the positioning, I thought there was no chance Hoerner could get to the ball. Then, when he did successfully dive to snag it, I thought, well, at least he saved a run. But then the speed with which he transferred the ball and popped to his feet, I mean, he made that play at first NOT EVEN CLOSE. I was just blown away, hence me screaming about it at home, and Chafin losing his mind on the mound.

Turns out, Chafin wasn’t the only one with a ridiculous reaction, it’s just that the cameras didn’t catch David Ross:

Ross, by the way, loves Hoerner’s defense at second in general (how could you not):

Chafin added a little digital reaction to the face he made as the play was happening:

Despite his limited playing time thus far, Hoerner is already up to second in baseball in Outs Above Average at second base, per Statcast. His early DRS and UZR/150 marks at second base are also already kinda crazy. It’s all small sample, so you don’t really take the numbers as gospel, but it’s notable when it matches (1) what he did last year as a Gold Glove finalist, and (2) what your eyes are telling you this year.

It’s highly likely that Hoerner is already a top five (or better) defensive second baseman in all of baseball. He’s a stud out there.

(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)

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.