St. Louis Cardinals: Gorman and Herrera are the stars of Springfield

Nolan Gorman (81) rounds second base after connecting a home run against the New York Mets during the eight inning at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
Nolan Gorman (81) rounds second base after connecting a home run against the New York Mets during the eight inning at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports /

The AA Springfield Cardinals are a very fun team to watch. At the heart of their star power are top prospects Ivan Herrera and Nolan Gorman.

The top two levels of the St. Louis Cardinals’ minor league system have not been touched by the restructuring that the MLB did over the winter. Here are our looks at High-A Peoria and Low-A Palm Beach. However, at AA Springfield, the biggest thing that has changed is the roster.

Back in 2019, the team’s top prospect, Dylan Carlson, tore up Springfield all summer. This summer, it could be Nolan Gorman and Ivan Herrera’s time to shine in Southwest Missouri. Our preview of this level begins there.

The Cardinals’ second and third-best prospects have been batting second and third in the Springfield lineup this year with mixed results. Herrera has had a better first week, but it’s been no time at all. Here is the Opening Day lineup for the Cardinals.

At this point, we all know about the tantalizing power of Gorman and the advanced maturity of Herrera both at the plate and behind it. Watching how they do against advanced competition is going to be great, but there are so many other fun players to watch as well.

Big Luken Baker has manned first base and batted cleanup to start the year, and although the team’s 17th-best prospect hasn’t started hot at the plate, there is something mesmerizing about a 6’4″, 280 lb player swing the bat.

Springfield is also home to former first-round draft picks who have yet to turn out. 2015 first-rounder Nick Plummer, now 24-years-old, is having the time of his life at his first appearance in AA. Through the first week, Plummer is 6-14 with a 1.000 OPS at AA. He’s going to have to keep up a solid performance to make a push back into the MLB conversation, but he’s doing the right stuff so far.

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Delvin Perez, the first pick of 2016, is also at AA and has been the leadoff man. So far, he’s been playing with reckless abandon, taking huge hacks at the plate and flying around the infield. This spring, he made some noise in big league camp with a muscled-up body, but he’s still gotta figure out how to transfer that into results on the field. Perez, like Plummer, is fighting to stay in the conversation with long-term prospects destined for St. Louis.

Lastly, I can’t go through the hitters without at least mentioning Yuan Yepez, the player the Cardinals got back in the Matt Adams trade. A lottery ticket at the time, Yepez has three extra-base hits so far and leads Springfield in OPS.

On the pitching side, 2019 4th-rounder Andre Pallante has been a guy to watch so far as well as Opening Day starter Domingo Robles. Robles, a 23-year-old lefty, was acquired last summer from the Pirates and has already thrown 10.1 innings, allowing one run and striking out 10.

As far as total packages go, Springfield has probably been my favorite team to watch so far. At almost every position there is someone who is exciting to watch and a  storyline to follow that could impact St. Louis at some point.

Next. Harrison Bader’s approach has been great. dark

Players can make the jump straight from AA to the MLB, so this is the first level where the performances could lead straight to St. Louis. Springfield’s intrigue is much more on the hitter’s side, but we’ll see a focus on pitchers again in our next installment looking at AAA Memphis.