St. Louis Cardinals: Reacting to prospect Nolan Gorman’s rank at third
MLB Pipeline’s top 10 third base prospects have been released for 2019. Where does St. Louis Cardinals’ prospect Nolan Gorman rank?
The St. Louis Cardinals‘ 2018 draft replenished the bottom levels of the minor leagues for a team that had their first and second round picks stripped from them in 2017. A good draft was imperative to the long term health of the organization. In his third year leading the draft, scouting director Randy Flores had four total picks in the top 100 (19, 43, 75, 95). Flores’ first round pick, Nolan Gorman, quickly took the minor leagues by storm.
After the 18-year-old was taken at 19 overall by the club (ranked as 12th best player), he was assigned to the Johnson City Rookie Ball team where he played for just 38 games. What did Gorman do in those games? Tear the cover off the ball. In just 167 plate appearances, Gorman hit .350 with a 1.107 OPS and slugged 11 homers.
Now I realize that he was in rookie ball, and that the rate he was hitting homers at was unsustainable, but when you extrapolate that home run rate over 500 plate appearances, Gorman would’ve hit 33 homers. All in his first year out of high school.
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Gorman was then promoted to Low A Peoria where he finally was caught by the league. Jumping up to Peoria put Gorman at an average of 3.4 years younger than everyone else around him. The jump from Rookie ball to Low A is a big one, and he finished out the season batting just .202 over 25 games at Peoria. Even with a sluggish end to the season, Gorman was pushed extremely hard by the Cardinals and has received national recognition for his success.
MLB Pipeline has released their top 10 third base prospects for 2019 and the list is as follows:
- Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Blue Jays)
- Nick Senzel (Reds)
- Austin Riley (Braves)
- Ke’Bryan Hayes (Pirates)
- Alec Bohm (Phillies)
- Jonathan India (Reds)
- Ryan Mountcastle (Orioles)
- Michael Chavis (Red Sox)
- Nolan Gorman (Cardinals)
- Nolan Jones (Indians)
This list has a lot of firepower for sure, and Gorman at 18-years-old is the youngest player on there. Guerrero Jr. is just 19, but he is a freak of nature. On a more personal note, the thing that is the weirdest to me about Guerrero is that as the number one prospect in the entire MLB, he is just 10 days younger than I am. That’s weird to think about.
Back to Gorman, he will most likely end up being a tier below what Guerrero Jr. is as a prospect. Although, as far as the vast majority of first round draft picks go, being ranked in the top 10 at his position a year after being drafted is more than what Randy Flores could’ve asked for when he pulled the trigger on Gorman.
The step back he took in 2018 when promoted to Peoria is most likely nothing to worry about. He will most likely spend the vast majority of the year at Peoria in 2019, but may get moved to AA Springfield at some point.
Being ranked 9th at third base is something for Gorman to notch into his belt and build upon in the future. I am sure that while he may not have sped through the rankings like a guy like Guerrero Jr. did, he still has a ton of potential value he can offer the Cardinals in the future. I would expect that Gorman will continue to inch his way up these rankings until he breaks into the majors.
Nolan Gorman has already surpassed expectations for where he should be at this point in his career. The Cardinals knew he had potential when they drafted him, but he could potentially turn into a superstar player that mans third base or first base for the Cardinals as soon as 2020 or beyond.