Spring training is in full swing. While many of the sport's biggest names are off for the World Baseball Classic, there are some rising stars who are taking advantage of the opportunity to show what they can do. The St. Louis Cardinals have a pair of young players that are doing just that in Jordan Walker and Nolan Gorman.
Walker has been the big story of camp thus far. Drafted as a third baseman, Walker has made the transition to the outfield with Nolan Arenado manning the hot corner for the foreseeable future. The change in defensive positioning has not slowed him down offensively. Neither has the opportunity to hit against Major League pitching.
Walker is absolutely destroying opposing pitchers whenever he steps in the batter's box. He's slashing an otherworldly .417/.417/.917 with an OPS of 1.334 through 24 at-bats so far. That's including three home runs, three doubles and six runs batted in. It's no wonder why he is beginning to garner comparisons to former franchise icon Albert Pujols. Like Pujols before him, Walker looks ready to make the jump to the majors without spending any time with AAA Memphis.
If not for Walker, then Cardinals Nation would be abuzz with how Nolan Gorman has come into camp this year. Gorman had a disappointing rookie campaign in 2022 that saw him lose out on playing time. What he didn't lose was the faith the organization has in him to be the kind of player that matches the hype he came with when drafted 19th overall in 2018.
Last year should come as no surprise given that Gorman has struggled every time he has moved up a level in the minors. With every step there was an adjustment period. Once that adjustment was made, however, Gorman has looked like the player the Cardinals thought they had when they drafted him. This spring looks no different.
Gorman currently sports a .353/.450/.706 slash line to go with a 1.156 OPS, two home runs and five runs batted in. He trails only Jordan Walker for the team lead in home runs, hits and batting average this spring. Walker may be putting on a show, but Gorman (another converted third baseman) is most definitely making the case he belongs.
As with any young player, it's unwise to read too much into Spring Training statistics. In the cases of Jordan Walker and Nolan Gorman though, it seems the excitement may be warranted. If the young duo can do this over an entire season, then the Cardinals will arguably have the most potent offense in the majors this year.
Brian Swope is a staff writer and editor for Gateway City Sports as well as the host of the Yakker Jacks podcast. He is an IBWAA member. You can follow him on Twitter @PoppaSwope.