Cardinals: What Jordan Walker, Nolan Gorman emphasized this offseason
Jordan Walker and Nolan Gorman emphasized plate approach this offseason, which seems to be a consistent theme among St. Louis Cardinals players.
Even in a lockout, where all baseball talk has been put to a standstill, St. Louis Cardinals prospects Jordan Walker and Nolan Gorman have continued to dominate headlines. The buzz surrounding both has been palpable and has left many observers, myself included, wondering just how good each might be.
But they can still get better, and Katie Woo of The Athletic says that both Walker and Gorman prioritized bettering their plate approach this winter. Of course, a disciplined approach and better pitch selection is what fueled the Cardinals’ late-season surge in 2022, so perhaps this is part of the team’s new organizational hitting philosophy.
That philosophy will be more analytically driven – it’s something that Oli Marmol made clear will be emphasized more than under Mike Shildt – though following a similar script to what they followed late last season would be wise. After all, Tyler O’Neill, Dylan Carlson and Harrison Bader – all who had either career seasons or took a step forward in 2021 – credited that approach with their surges late in the season.
It has also been a philosophy implemented and mentioned by Lars Nootbaar and Juan Yepez in the Arizona Fall League in October.
So, to Marmol’s credit, he was able to implement his core values with his players before the lockout. It was part of the appeal of hiring Marmol, who knew every player on the roster having worked directly under Shildt, and why teams such as the New York Mets, who hired Buck Showalter after the lockout, are working at an extreme disadvantage.
Whether this philosophy produces results in 2022 remains to be seen. But given how it worked in 2021, the Cardinals have every reason to be optimistic that it will translate to this season.