St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Nolan Gorman should be a valuable piece in the future, but the Cardinals might not have room.
Gorman hit only .226 with the team last season, but he showed some real power potential. On top of that, in 2022, Gorman was one of the best in the league at hitting the ball on the “sweet spot,” which he did 46.7% of the time. His expected weighted on-base average on contact was outstanding as well at .479. These all point to some bad luck for Gorman in his first season in the major leagues.
While Gorman strikes out often, his ability to make quality contact and hit the ball over the fence should be able to mitigate his whiff-prone ways more often in the future. A place he can improve is in catching up to the fastball, and upon more exposure to big league pitching, he should be able to time them better.
Gorman’s weak spot will always be his defense. He is stretched at second base, where he was 12 outs below average. Tommy Edman and Brendan Donovan will also play middle infield spots, although the team’s propensity to move Donovan all over the field should free up a spot at times. There is also the question of what the Cardinals will do with Paul DeJong and whether they will give him one more chance to redeem himself.
Ideally, Gorman would serve as the Cardinals’ designated hitter, but Juan Yepez has shown that he also deserves the role. However, making Gorman a platoon bat at designated hitter would be underutilizing his skills and development opportunities.
The Cardinals have some pressing needs at other positions, especially behind the plate and in the rotation, so if the team doesn’t believe it has a long-term home for Gorman, he could be dangled in trade talks, as a power hitter who can play second base at times will be a sought-after commodity.
Dealing away Gorman does run the risk of being another trade the Cardinals would regret, but if the Cardinals are set on winning the World Series within the next few years, as they should be with Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado still playing well, they might want to move Gorman now.
On the other hand, if the Cardinals want to be cautious with their chips and wait for Jordan Walker and Masyn Winn to debut alongside Gorman, they could still be threats much farther into the future. It will be fascinating to see what the team does with Gorman.