Yesterday saw an intriguing pair of recalls, both of which were somewhat unexpected. Can either player make an impact or will they be viewed more as safety nets for their respective franchises? Let’s take a look:
Nico Hoerner – Shortstop – Chicago Cubs
The injuries to Javier Baez and Addison Russell forced Chicago’s hand, and they weren’t shy of thrusting him into the lineup immediately. Hitting sixth in his MLB debut Hoerner went 3-5 with 4 RBI and 2 R, certainly a line that is going to catch your attention. While impressive, it’s fair to wonder if the 2018 first round draft pick is really ready to contribute significant numbers down the stretch.
Playing at Double-A, he hit .284 with 3 HR, 22 RBI, 37 R and 8 SB over 268 AB. He did show an ability to make consistent contact (6.1% SwStr%), though is that enough to get you excited? There is upside, if he’s playing regularly, but the question is whether or not he’s ready to tap into it. Just look at what MLB.com has said about him:
Hoerner excels at putting the bat on the ball, thanks to his uncanny hand-eye coordination, compact right-handed swing and controlled approach. Though he hit just three homers in three years at Stanford, he has strong hands and has driven the ball in his short history with wood bats. He has the sneaky power to hit 15 homers per season, not to mention the patience to draw walks and the solid to plus speed to steal bases.
Having not played at Triple-A there will likely be an adjustment period, and while he made a quick splash it’s hard to expect him to continuously produce at a high level. There are going to be some high points, and in keeper leagues he’s a must own, but for most he’ll likely be too risky to trust down the stretch.
Kyle Lewis – Outfielder – Seattle Mariners
In 517 PA at Double-A this season he hit .263 with 11 HR and 3 SB. Injuries have generally been the biggest issue throughout his career, though the approach has come into serious question:
- Strikeout Rate – 29.4%
- Walk Rate – 10.8%
- SwStr% – 14.8%
If he’s swinging and missing at that rate in Double-A, just how high may it balloon against Major League pitching? That alone is going to limit his potential upside, and there also is no guarantee that he’ll be in the lineup every day. This could turn into more of a cameo, just to get him a little experience, as opposed to thrusting him into the lineup each and every day. For most he’s far too risky to trust.
Sources – MLB.com, MILB.com, Fangraphs