2024 ZiPS projection: 132 G, .240/.317/.467, 28 HR, 80 RBI, 112 wRC+, 2.2 fWAR
2023 final stat line: 119 G, .236/.328/.478, 27 HR, 76 RBI, 118 wRC+, 2.5 fWAR
2022 final stat line: 89 G, .226/.300/.420, 14 HR, 35 RBI, 105 wRC+, 0.5 fWAR
Counting stats are counting stats, I care much more about rate projections than I home run total or runs batted in total projections, but come on, how do they have Nolan Gorman hitting just one more home run in 2024 while playing in 13 more games?
If you followed much of my writing this offseason, you've probably seen me reference the insane dip in production Gorman had during the month of June. Gorman was so bad in June that he posted a .439 OPS and 22 wRC+ in 76 plate appearances. He was basically unplayable that entire month and it sunk his case to be an All-Star in his sophomore season.
You know what's even crazier? If you take out of the month of June from Gorman's season, he posted a .880 OPS and 137 wRC+ in the other 338 plate appearances. That's an incredible production that has gone under the radar nationally because of how bad that single month was.
Gorman is a streaky hitter, so the Cardinals will have to live with some of the bad to get all of the good. It's likely that Gorman will have a month or two where his production just is not where you want it to be, but overall, he'll still be a fearsome hitter at the plate. And come on, do we really expect him to be that bad at the plate for an entire month again? Gorman still finished with an .806 OPS and 118 wRC+ on the season even with that terrible stretch, so even just a less drastic dip in production would have made him an .820 OPS and 125 wRC+ guy on the year.
So why on earth does ZiPS see Gorman regressing down to a .784 OPS and 112 wRC+ guy in 2024? I have no idea how to explain that reasoning. Gorman slightly improved his strikeout rate in 2023 and took a big step forward in walk rate, while also having a very similar BABIP as he did during his rookie season. His xwOBA actually jumped by 17 points as well, so the newfound production seemed to be expected.
This awesome thread from @TJStats on X (formerly known as Twitter) demonstrates the incredible tools that Gorman has, and why there are a lot of people around baseball who expect him to pop in a big way next season. The whole thread is worth checking out, but this specific tweet shows how Gorman's mix of Barrel% and Z-Swing% puts him among the most elite hitters in baseball.
If Gorman is playing in 130+ games in 2024, book a 30+ home run season, and his OPS and wRC+ should be much higher than what ZiPS is projecting.