Tooting their Hoerner: Cubs’ 2018 first-round pick making big first impression

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Nico Hoerner (right) talks with coaching staff assistant Juan Cabreja during Thursday’s 3-for-3 game against the Rockies. (John Antonoff photo)

MESA, Ariz. — Infield prospect Nico Hoerner is wasting no time opening eyes on the big-league staff nine months after the Cubs made him their first-round draft pick (24th overall) out of Stanford.

‘‘He’s kind of a quiet kid but very confident at the same time,’’ Maddon said.

That confidence is soaring after a pair of big-league exhibition starts in which he reached base in all eight of his plate appearances, including a homer and double Saturday against the Angels to go with a pair of singles and a triple Thursday against the Rockies. He also has been hit by pitches twice and drawn a walk.


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‘‘I just need to see him more on defense,’’ said Maddon, who had Hoerner starting at short Saturday after he was the designated hitter Thursday. ‘‘But our guys have told me they wanted him to play [with the big club] because there’s a lot of confidence to him.

‘‘I don’t know what level we’re going to start him at, but he’s not far away. If he catches the ball as well as everybody says he does and is able to work good at-bats, like we’ve seen — which I don’t think is going to go away — he’s not far off.’’

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