An underrated reason why the St. Louis Cardinals needed Nolan Gorman: his left-handed bat providing balance to a right-handed heavy lineup.
For years, Nolan Gorman was hyped as the St. Louis Cardinals top infield prospect. He has 30-plus homer potential, a middle-of-the-order bat capable of doing significant damage, and has the ability to play both second and third bases.
Right now, the Cardinals have Gorman playing second base since Nolan Arenado is at third base. And since being called up, Gorman has not just played the position well, but has hit .387/.472/.677 with a 1.150 OPS and two home runs in 31 at-bats. He looks every bit the player the Cardinals envisioned him being since drafting him with the No. 19 overall pick and, at least early on, has managed to cut down his strikeout rate.
But what has stood out is how his left-handed bat has added a new element to a Cardinals lineup that desperately needed it. While he has two homers in 31 at-bats, the rest of the team’s left-handed hitters have five homers in 433 combined at-bats this season, as noted by Rob Rains of STLSportsPage.
Just look at the Cardinals’ hitters: Paul Goldschmidt, Arenado, Harrison Bader, Tommy Edman (switch hitter), Albert Pujols, Juan Yepez, Dylan Carlson (switch hitter), Gorman (left-handed hitter), Yadier Molina and Tyler O’Neill. Sure, there are other complementary players on offense, but that’s the players seeing the majority of time in the lineup. And it’s a LOT of right-handed hitters.
Early on, Gorman has balanced the Cardinals’ lineup, and it has paid dividends (as evidenced by the better numbers for LHH). The team ranks in the top-5 in batting average and runs. And that’s with Arenado struggling after a scorching hot first month, O’Neill struggling and on the Injured List, and Carlson off to a slow start.
Goldschmidt, of course, has been playing at an MVP level and that certainly has helped. But Gorman emerging as a force the moment he was called up has given the Cardinals an element that they desperately needed: a capable left-handed hitter.
And it makes an already potent lineup that much more dangerous.