Gorman played the entire 2021 minor league season at second base. With the help of Dustin Pedroia and other members of the Cardinals staff, he was able to get some tips on how to play the middle of the infield well. It is always challenging to play a new position, especially when you are learning it at advanced levels such as AAA and the majors.
In 2022, Nolan Gorman had -12 outs above average according to Baseball Savant. That number is...not very inspiring. However, this year, Gorman has improved that number drastically. While it is still negative (-3), a 9-point jump in just one season is impressive. His main area of improvement has been his lateral movement towards first base.
Last year, Gorman played much deeper, partially because the shift was still allowed. This year, he is playing either up the middle behind second base or much closer to first base. In one of my previous articles, I discussed defensive positioning and how it has hurt the team this year. This spread across the first base side of the middle of the field has allowed him to increase his range and mobility.
While his arm strength remains in the 20th percentile, his improved range helps him cover more ground. His ability to play third base also provides the team's positional flexibility. On August 26th, he started at third base and gave Nolan Arenado a breather. He can just as easily go back to second base now as well.
Between Gorman's improved defense, his increased plate discipline, and his massive jump in success against left-handed pitchers, he should no longer be in a platoon split. His bat is necessary in a lineup that has been anemic at times this year, and his glove at second base has improved steadily in just one year. Should Nolan Gorman continue to improve at this rate, the Cardinals could have one of the best second basemen in all of baseball on their team.