5 Cardinals players most likely to have a breakout season in 2023

Toronto Blue Jays v St. Louis Cardinals
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Nolan Gorman

Gorman is still just 22-years-old and is in line for a serious improvement in production in what will be his second year in the big leagues.

The lefty-swinging infielder burst onto the scene last year after annihilating minor league pitching at every stop. He hit 25 home runs in 119 games split between Double-A and Triple-A in 2021 and looked to be near major league ready despite his young age.

To start 2022, he began the year in Triple-A once again. This time, he forced the Cardinals' hands by hitting 15 home runs with a .308/.367/.677 slash line through just 34 games. Many have not only made it to the big leagues but excelled in the big leagues at his age, so the Cardinals did what any smart team would do and promoted him to see what he's made of.

Things didn't go quite as expected during the 2022 season, but it's hard to fault the Cardinals for trying. In 89 games at the major league level, Gorman hit 14 home runs with 35 RBI and a .226 average. His 106 OPS+ suggests he was six percent above league average, but he struck out in just under 33 percent of his plate appearances, which is not something you'd like to see out of a player at the game's highest level.

In 2023 Spring Training, Gorman came into camp with something to prove. After missing time due to back stiffness last year and being demoted briefly in September, he knew that spring games were his shot to show that he can stick in The Show.

In 19 games during spring, he recorded 15 hits in 52 at-bats (.288) with four home runs and a whopping 13 runs batted in. He struck out 19 times but also drew seven walks, scored nine runs, and even stole a base along the way. He's off to a red-hot start in the regular season, too, with a .500 average, two home runs, and more walks (five) than strikeouts (four) through four games.