Nolan Gorman is widely considered to be the St. Louis Cardinals’ best hitting prospect, but is it actually catcher Ivan Herrera?
Pitcher Matthew Liberatore and infielder Nolan Gorman are the two prospects who generate the most buzz among St. Louis Cardinals prospects, with Gorman widely regarded as the team’s best hitting prospect.
But do the Cardinals have a better hitting prospect in their farm system?
Jim Callis, Jonathan Mayo and Sam Dykstra of MLB.com recently went through each team’s farm system and ranked their best hitting prospect, with catcher Ivan Herrera coming ahead of Gorman among their rankings. Here is what they said about Herrera:
“Herrera has shown an impressive approach at the plate, particularly when it comes to laying off off speed pitches he can’t hit. That allows him to make the most of his short, right-handed swing and punish the offerings he can drive.”
Herrera, 20, is rated as the Cardinals’ No. 3 prospect and No. 87 prospect in baseball. He joined the organization in 2017 and has continually mashed, hitting at least .284 in each season and as high as .336/.415/.483 in 2018. In four minor-league seasons, he has hit .302/.392/.426 with 13 home runs and 109 RBI in 179 games, and looks like the favorite to eventually replace Yadier Molina.
Herrera, however, has struggled this season with Double-A Springfield, hitting .205/.340/.364 with two home runs and 10 RBI in 13 games. But the fact that he is at such an advanced level before he turns 21 speaks to his ability and why the Cardinals, along with the MLB.com prospect staff, is so high on him.
But is Herrera a better hitting prospect than Gorman? I’m not sure. There are some scouts who rave about Gorman’s tools, believing he has 40-plus home run potential. But Herrera has shown elite patience at the plate, evidenced by his 77 walks in 636 at-bats in the minors, and his offensive numbers are impressive for a backstop.
Either way, both players will figure into the Cardinals’ long-term plans. And while it is unclear where Gorman figures defensively, Herrera will be the team’s catcher of the future and should only boost what is already one of the most talented in baseball.