Very few prospects coming up in the St Louis Cardinals Minor League system generated as much interest as Nolan Gorman did when he came up He was drafted out of Sandra Day O'Connor High School in Pheonix, AZ as the 19th pick of the 1st round in 2018 as a Third Baseman and a potential slugger. He moved from Johnson City rookie ball to AAA Memphis in 3 seasons. Even though it did take 4 years (there was no minor league season in 2020). In those 3 seasons, he hit a combined .270/.339/.496, 73 HRs and 207 RBIs
In his first 2 seasons, he exclusively played 3B. Then in 2021, Gorman started learning 2B splitting time between 2B and 3B in AA Springfield. That was the year that some guy named Nolan Arenado joined the Big League team at 3B.
Last year, he debuted with the Cardinals on May 20, 2022, going 1 for 3 with an RBI. He played 10 games in May hitting .387/.472/.677, 2 HRs, and 7 RBIs.
Now he did struggle after that and was sent down in Mid-September.
This year He made some off-season adjustments and started out Hot and then he slowed a little but was still putting up productive numbers at the end of June, .272/.360/.555 with 13 HRs and 41 RBIs. So far in June and early July, his numbers have not been good .182/.248/.339 with 5 HRs and 8 RBIs. However, in his last 10 games covering 37 ABs, He is hitting .297/.350/.595, with 2 HRs and 8 RBIs. And for the entire month of July, he is hitting .260/.327/.540 with 3 HRs and 10 RBIs in 50 ABs. He is hitting left-handers much better this year than last going .257/.357/.514 with 2 HRs and 9 RBIs in 35 ABs this season vs .211/.348/.316 0 HRs and 2 RBIs in 19 ABs last year. Now that is no guarantee he is on his way back but he is ticking upward.
Can he replace the gold gloves like Edman, Donovan, or Wong?
Tommy Edman via MLB Brendan Donovan by Bill Greenblatt vis UPI Kolten Wong via AP
In all honesty, his numbers at 3B were a little sketchy
His 3B play was a little sketchy. His fielding % was in the high 800s, and low 900s and the range factor was about average around 2.5
He switched to 2B and struggled initially with 4 errors in 16 games in Springfield and 3 in 61 games in Memphis in 21. last year in Memphis he had 2 errors in 34 games but in the call-up to St Louis 8 errors in 68 games. Now this season he has been moved around more and has 4 errors at 2B in 41 games. his dWAR has improved from -0.4 last season to -.01 this season.
He is a little lower than average in Fielding but above average in range factor. and currently has better Defensive Runs Saved and a better Zone rating than either Edman or Donovan and has played more innings at 2B. In many respects, he is still learning the position with only a total of 1,816 innings at 2B. Now, will he win a Gold Glove like Edman or Donovan? Who knows, only time will tell.
It is no secret that his name keeps getting mentioned as a possible trade portion with the deadline less than 2 weeks away. Gorma is not eligible for FA until 2029, which makes him a very attractive target for teams that are looking for a little power. I am not saying the Cardinals WILL trade Gorman (and I for one wouldn't). However, there are teams who will come knocking and there could be that one offer that lights up Mozeliak's eyes. As to what that would be who knows? It could be a plethora of minor-league talent like we saw go to Oakland for Murphy or a Solid MLB #3 or possibly a #2 starter. It could be a top prospect and a reliable bullpen arm. As much as is being made about John Mozeliak's comments that the last two weeks won't weigh too much in how the team approaches the deadline. I say BS, if Gorman stays hot and continues to raise eyebrows, other teams could make a strong push for his services with an offer the Cardinals might not be able to say no to. Or would he be a bat they could sandwich between Goldy and Arenado for 2024, forming an impressive murderer's row?
The fact is with guys like Jordan Walker, Lars Nootbaar, Brendan Donovan, Ivan Herrera, Masyn Winn, Alec Burleson, Victor Scott, Ryan Helsley, Andre Pallente, Mathew Liberatore, Tink hence, Zack Thompson, and Micheal McGreevy. The Cardinals have the makings of a strong young core to move forward with providing some of them aren't traded also. But it just seems to me that the Cardinals have invested a lot of resources to keep Gorman around. he could have easily been traded after the Cardinals traded for Arenado or he could have even been part of that deal. So, my gut tells me that unless a team wants to seriously overpay St Louis for Nolan Gorman, he will be the starting Second Baseman next Spring Training in 2024.
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