Cardinals: Why Nolan Gorman shouldn’t be optioned to Triple-A
There’s talk about the St. Louis Cardinals optioning Nolan Gorman to Triple-A. Here’s why I wouldn’t do that — at least not yet.
I want to make one thing clear: I would not option Nolan Gorman back to the minors if I was running the St. Louis Cardinals. At least not yet.
Yes, he’s hitting .174/.240/.196 with 17 strikeouts in his last 50 plate appearances. But on the season he’s hitting .256/.330/.415 with a .744 OPS, three home runs and 12 RBI. He’s getting valuable major-league playing time and is in the midst of a slump. These things tend to happen during a 162-game season. It’s baseball.
If his struggles continue for a prolonged time, or if he’s playing even worse, I would then consider optioning him to Triple-A. I’m just not at that point. But Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch believes that Gorman could “use a big game or two” before “he could head back to Memphis for more work if he doesn’t start barreling up more pitches.”
If the Cardinals do option Gorman to the minors in the coming days/weeks, the logical bet is that they would recall Paul DeJong from Triple-A. Since being optioned, DeJong has improved – he has nine home runs and 29 RBI in 127 at-bats – but is still hitting .228/.280/.496 with 29 strikeouts.
The Cardinals want the Paul DeJong Experiment to work. After all, they placed their belief in the veteran shortstop this winter by not pursuing Carlos Correa, Trevor Story, Marcus Semien, Javier Baez or Corey Seager in what was widely considered the best free-agent shortstop class in baseball history. They have a lot riding on DeJong succeeding.
But I would not take away at-bats from Gorman, their second baseman of the future, to call up DeJong and see if the month in Triple-A will provide better results in the majors. That would require 1) moving Tommy Edman back to second base and 2) could impact Gorman’s confidence, though there is no evidence that will actually be the case.
We’ll see what happens in the coming days. Maybe Gorman has a big game and quiets these thoughts. I just wouldn’t do it. Not yet.