1. Nolan Gorman
Nolan Gorman is one of the best power-hitting second basemen in the league. He just turned 22, and he has already shown growth in many facets of his game. The former third baseman made the transition to second base a few years ago when the Cardinals traded for Nolan Arenado. He had some initial hiccups, but he has already made great strides on the defensive side of the game.
Gorman's bat has always been highly touted. His slugging potential was off the charts in the minors, and he was no slouch at getting on base either. He has a career .232/.317/.454 slash line, but his 2023 numbers are even better at .236/.328/.478 for an OPS+ of 117. He mashed 27 home runs in 464 plate appearances, and he has true potential to hit 35 home runs a season. At just 22 years old, Gorman has plenty of time to continue to adapt to major league pitching.
Perhaps Gorman's greatest improvement in 2023 was on the defensive side. In just his third season playing second base, Gorman was able to improve his Outs Above Average from -12 to -2. That is a massive improvement, and Jose Oquendo has been vital for Gorman's growth up the middle. Should Gorman continue to make improvements at swinging at high fastballs, he is a middle-of-the-lineup bat that has star potential. Gorman is the Cardinals' second baseman of the future.
Nolan Gorman isn't a free agent until after the 2028 season. He is showing the ability to improve year-by-year on both sides of the ball. Gorman is the most valuable Cardinal player on the trade market this offseason. I think the Cardinals should extend him, but if they decide to trade him, they will easily get an ace pitcher in return.