Cubs Players Working Out at the MLBPA Spring Training: Hoerner, Wisdom, Hendricks, Wieck

It’s nice to check in on some of the locked-out Chicago Cubs players who are now able to train up together in a big facility being provided by the MLB Players Association in Arizona.

Among them …

Nico Hoerner’s arms get bigger every year, I swear. You just hope he can stay healthy this year, and whatever happens with the Cubs at shortstop during Offseason Part Two, Hoerner is likely to play multiple positions:

I still want the Cubs to add a defensively-inclined starting-ish shortstop before the season begins, but that isn’t really a shot at Hoerner. I just think his best value is as a guy who can move around, and also spend a decent bit of time at second base. That said, if he comes in as the starting shortstop, I’ll give him the full and fair evaluation before making up my mind about how he can hang there. We haven’t really seen him get much of an opportunity, and maybe he really can be average. That would be huge.

Given his breakout last year, the needs he had in his swing, and how well he worked with the Cubs’ coaching and development infrastructure the last two years, the lockout probably really disproportionately hurts a guy like Patrick Wisdom (who had also been trying to work with new hitting coach Greg Brown before things shut down):

You know the story with Wisdom, even if it’s harder because of the lockout: to be more than just passable overall this year, he’s going to have to be the truly rare hitter who can make significant strides in contact rate around age 30 (without losing his power). I won’t say it’s impossible, and I also won’t say that it’s impossible for Wisdom to still be a productive player with that huge hole at the top of the zone. But if he were going to be a solidly above-average player (even assuming above-average defense at third), he needs more contact. The power is incredible. Top ten caliber. But guys just don’t have meaningful full-season success with strikeout rates over 40%. The math doesn’t work. Here’s hoping for great progress for Wisdom this offseason, even if he’s been on his own.

I am loving the “pump house” reference:

With Codi Heuer going down (sigh), Brad Wieck’s potential role in the bullpen just got a bump up. He has that back-end reliever stuff, without question. But health has been an issue, as has consistently with the delivery.

Kyle Hendricks, doing Kyle Hendricks things:

Certainly hoping for a big bounce-back year from Hendricks, who needs that premium command to return.

written by

Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

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