But Hoerner's first MLB game was still a quick reminder to Maddon of why he admired Hoerner so much.
"He's very adult," Maddon said on the Laurence Holmes Show on Tuesday afternoon. "First of all, he's very smart, a very bright kid. And then he's really mature beyond his years. Gosh, it's really like talking to guys who have played for the last 10 years in the major leagues. It's daunting (to make a debut), but he was able to compartmentalize in a manner that speaks to great parenting and where you come -- Stanford University, etc. He was ready to go. He was not wide-eyed by any means, just like when I met him in spring training."
The 22-year-old Hoerner went 3-for-5 with four RBIs in helping the Cubs to a 10-2 win against the Padres. His superb debut came after he had played just 89 career minor league games, as Hoerner became the first member of the 2018 draft class to ascend to the big leagues. The Cubs drafted him 24th overall in 2018. Hoerner skipped the Triple-A level, having finished his season at Double-A.
With Javier Baez likely out for the rest of the regular season with a thumb fracture and Addison Russell in the concussion protocol, Hoerner will be counted on as the Cubs' everyday shortstop for the time being.
"This is a kid who always felt like he belongs here, and I don't mean that in a bragging, horrible way," Maddon said. "He really feels comfortable in his own skin, and you saw it. You saw all of that last night. So the conversation was very similar to the one I had with him in spring training when I was getting to know him. If you get a chance to speak with him, it will come through immediately. He's going to look you right in the eyeballs and be straight up. He's not going to be overwhelmed with anything. That's just who he is."