Nolan Gorman made substantial improvements to his approach in the batters' box. His hard work has put him into consideration for the 2023 All-Star Game.
When the St. Louis Cardinals drafted Nolan Gorman in 2018, the team was getting one of the top power bats among high school hitters. But with the power came lots of swing and miss. This offseason, Gorman focused on cutting down the strikeouts, particularly against the high fastball, and focus on getting the barrel on the ball more. As of Sunday, Gorman sits atop the power statistical categories not only in the National League but in all of Major League Baseball.
But first, take a look at these stats:
Gorman is the National League leader in slugging percentage and second overall in baseball. He is also tied with superstar Ronald Acuña Jr at the top of the NL OPS leaderboard. Given his lower spot in the batting order, Gorman has received many opportunities to cash in RBIs, and he's succeeded, ranking second in the National League and fifth overall in MLB.
Among Qualified Players at the DH position, Gorman leads all designated hitters in homers (13) and is tied for first in on-base percentage (.391) this season. If this production remains constant through June, Gorman will become an All-Star selection. So how has Gorman been so successful so far this season?
Through the first 41 games of the season, Gorman has struck out less this season, improved his walk percentage, and produced more hard-hit contact on pitches. Take a look at these statistics from last season to this season from Statcast.
2023 (42 Games)
Hard Hit %
Now even with these improvements, Gorman is still getting exposed at the top of the strike zone. Visuals from Statcast further illustrate how Gorman has pounded pitches closer to the knees but with little contact above the center. Blake Newberry from SB Nation's Viva El Birdos also shows Gorman's whiff percentage as something to monitor despite his improvements. As fans, we even saw some strikeouts in Friday's game where Tony Gonsolin went up the ladder to get Gorman to whiff.
Nolan Gorman is performing like an All-Star this season, hence why my colleague Josh Jacobs lists Gorman as a future extension candidate. Gorman has been able to barrel the ball harder while simultaneously striking out less and reaching base more. He will need to continue working to fix the hole in his swing up in the zone. But if this performance holds, look for him to represent the St. Louis Cardinals in Seattle in mid-July.