#2 - Nolan Gorman
While he may not be as exciting to some fans as he was coming into 2022, Nolan Gorman still has immense potential at the plate, something that could transform this Cardinals' lineup even more if he is able to continue to tap into that power.
After hitting 30 home runs last year (14 in St. Louis and 16 in Memphis), Gorman used this offseason to work on the two things that will hold him back the most from realizing his potential - strikeouts and his defensive ability. Gorman has the ability to be a 40 HR guy at second base and DH for the Cardinals and should be able to do so at a good enough average/on-base percentage to profile as a middle-of-the-order bat. Left-handed power like that carries so much value in today's game, which is why his ceiling is so high.
Early on in camp, Gorman has shown improvements at the plate, but maybe more surprising and encouraging are the strides that he has made defensively.
If Gorman can even be an average defensive second baseman, that kind of bat at second base is deadly. While I love the style of play that both Donovan and Edman bring to this Cardinals' club, left-handed sluggers will always be one of the most valuable kinds of players there are. Gorman is just 23 and has 283 career at-bats, so jumping off him this early would be a huge mistake.
I am excited to see what Gorman can bring to the table this year. If his bat truly is ready to break out this season, Gorman may find himself at the top of this list whenever we revisit it.