21-year-old Nolan Gorman has been on a tear for the Springfield Cardinals this season, firmly presenting himself as one of the finest young talents in baseball.
Playing for the Double-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals, Gorman has reached 10 home runs and 23 runs batted in while hitting .303 at the plate, a similar average return of major-league stars Shohei Ohtani and Ronald Acuna Jr. The young third baseman is the Cardinals’ second-highest prospect behind Triple-A pitcher Matthew Liberatore.
Nolan Gorman Impressive Stats
Gorman exploded into the headlines five days ago by hitting three home runs in his first three at-bats against the Arkansas Travelers— this came 24 hours after he hit two homers against the same opponent, bringing his HR total to five in two days and seven in just over a week.
If this powerful hitting streak is a sign of things to come for the Cardinals, he might as well get ready for the call to the big show; St. Louis is currently sitting in fourth place in the National League Central Division, ahead of the woeful Pittsburgh Pirates.
The pride of Missouri is in the bottom half in the MLB in total scoring and home runs and is one of the worst teams at getting on base, only managing to hit .230 as a team this season.
Standing at 6-foot-1, 210 pounds, Gorman has the body of a professional despite his youth. He hits left-handed despite throwing with his right and has a pure, powerful swing.
As appealing as Gorman’s offensive qualities are, he has struggled routinely fielding the ball, committing many errors and posting a .922 fielding percentage since the beginning of 2019. This is a fair margin off of the MLB’s total average of .984% last season and will need to be improved before he can become a legitimate major-league player.
Improving Defensively Too
To Gorman’s credit, he is improving defensively: he has maintained a .928% standard this season playing as a second-baseman and third-baseman. Even still, it is a given that the budding star will hang his hat on delivering at the plate.
The Double-A slugger is hitting a career-best average this season and knocking in more home runs per game than any other year as a professional.
As good as Gorman has been so far in 2021, there are a couple of roadblocks in the way of his path to the top: they are named Tommy Edman and Nolan Arenado.
Gorman’s favored 3B position and backup 2B spot are occupied by St. Louis’ most productive hitters on the roster and some serious shuffling would need to be done to fit all of them into the roster, especially with Edman already playing out of position as a natural 3B himself.
Arenado in particular is unlikely to give up the spot at third after the Colorado Rockies dealt the five-time All-Star to the Cardinals back in February. This move was seen as a franchise-changer and only required a few players surplus to requirement in return.
The Rockies are also paying Arenado’s salary through 2022, meaning that the Cardinals have one of the game’s best in their lineup and out of their books for a year.
The next step for Gorman will likely be a tenure with Memphis Redbirds, who are 15-23 this season. Gorman’s call-up may come later in this season or it may come next year, but regardless, he will be moving up the ranks soon. Keep an eye on the Cardinals’ prospect over the next couple of years as he traverses the Minor Leagues.