With their first pick of the night, number nineteen overall, the St. Louis Cardinals selected Nolan Gorman, a third baseman out of Sandra Day O’Connor high school in Arizona.
For my part, I like the pick of Gorman a lot. It surprised me he was still available at nineteen, and while there are certainly some questions about his offensive game, which I’ll get to in a minute, the ceiling for him is sky-high, and probably higher than just about any other player the Cards could have picked at this spot.
Gorman was in my initial batch of favourite hitters I wrote up back in February. My thought haven’t really changed all that much since then, so here’s the report.
The good: Gorman has big-time raw power, with plus bat speed that comes without him having to swing out of his shoes to generate. He carries his hands low, and generates easy loft to from center field to the right field foul pole.
Defensively, Gorman isn’t the smoothest, but I think he sticks at third long term. The arm fits fine at the position, and while he isn’t all that rangy, he moves well enough laterally that I don’t see him being forced off the hot corner. That’s probably one of the bigger questions facing him, though; if he can’t handle third he loses a lot of value, as a middle infield spot isn’t in the cards, meaning he might very well end up at first.
The bad: Gorman can absolutely put on a power show, but he has some definite swing and miss in his game. The contact issues didn’t really show up last summer on the showcase circuit against premium pitching, but he was way less impressive this spring, and that has to be a concern. He’s patient and smart, but contact issues can really take a bit out of a player’s value.
As I said a moment ago, I think Gorman sticks at third base, but that’s not without question. He’s already extremely mature physically, and is a fringy runner. An eighteen year old who’s already this big and strong could be viewed as a good thing, or potentially a player who will have to watch his body.
My verdict: I’m a big fan of this pick. I think I might have liked Ethan Hankins just a touch more at the same draft spot, but the Cardinals are absolutely taking a high ceiling guy with this pick. I was expecting conservative and safe, and am pleasantly surprised. Gorman could end up a star, based on plus-plus power at a position on the left side of the infield.