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What do the Cardinals have in Nolan Gorman?

MLB: Spring Training-Washington Nationals at St. Louis Cardinals Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Nolan Gorman

DOB- 5/10/2000

6’1/210

Bats - L/Throws - R

Player comp- Younger Bryce Harper due to the similarities in their swings not their skillset.

Nolan Gorman is off to an unbelievable start this season at Triple-A, hitting .316 to go along with eight home runs as of April 24. However, since he was drafted, there have always been some questions about Gorman’s fit on a Major League team. Gorman does carry with him some significant concerns in regard to how much swing and miss is in his game — as there seemingly is with just about every player now. Although, on the flip side, Gorman also posts extremely high exit velocity rates with loft in his swing that is capable of producing 30-plus homer seasons. Down below, we are going to break down Gorman’s game, evaluating his swing, approach at the dish, and skillsets as a fielder.


Swing

Gorman has a violent, yet relatively clean swing. His hands do a great job of being loaded at the start of the swing, barely having to move back before they come forward in his swing. He starts with a slightly open stance, but he immediately brings that front foot and hip in to help his timing and generate power. His hips do a good job of generating some power, although he also generates some of his power from his hand and bat speed. He is strong on his front side, not showing any loss of power in his front leg as it moves straight. He generates so much natural force and twist in his swing that it does cause his front foot to twist out a bit. He shows great balance during his swing, staying back on his back leg with little movement in his head, which is something that is going to be key in pitch recognition and bat-to-ball skills.


Where he excels

Gorman is a player who has extremely quick hands paired with a lightning quick bat. Bat and hand speed are two things that cannot be taught, and him having these assets makes him a special talent. He is going to post very high exit velocities as a result of this but also due to the fact he is able to get everything behind his swings. As discussed above, Gorman has very quiet hands during the start of his swing, as they are already cocked and hardly move back. His hands stay on the same plane throughout the entire swing. This is something that is going to be helpful in keeping up with high velocity pitches high in the zone.

Gorman is able to produce loft in his swing with his upper cut, which, along with his high exit velocity numbers, is going to produce high extra-base hit and home run totals at the Major League level. Gorman does see a lot of pitches, as he is selectively aggressive early in the count. This does help in getting opposing pitchers pitch counts up and increases the likelihood that they make a mistake to him during the plate appearance.

Gorman does a great job of showing a mature approach at the plate, and he is able to make adjustments on pitches he has seen throughout the course of the PA. For example, if he swings and misses at a breaking ball low in the zone, he is far less likely to offer at the same pitch in that location later in the at-bat.

Even though Gorman is likely to end up at second base, he does possess a very strong arm. This will be prevalent on plays to his right, as well as relays to the plate. He does possess some range and could potentially be an above-average defensive second baseman.


Where he struggles

Gorman’s biggest struggles revolve around his swing and miss and pitch recognition problems at the plate — especially against lefties. Swing and miss is something that is ever-present in baseball today and is seemingly only increasing, so it is not a major red flag when it comes to Gorman. Although, it is something that does limit his overall ceiling as a player. Even though Gorman shows the willingness to work counts at the minor league level, I do not see him being a player with a walk rate of nine percent or better, at least in the early part of his career.

He is going to struggle with swing and miss on soft stuff low and away, in part because of his pitch recognition, but also as a result of his swing. It is not shown in the video above, but Gorman’s front hip has a tendency to fly open and his head flies out. As a result, it is going to be difficult for him to make contact with anything low and away. And, if he does, it is likely that he is going to roll over it for a ground-ball out. Gorman has the lower body strength and hands to hit homers the other way — if he sits back and makes the conscious effort to work the other way a bit more often. There is also a bit of an uppercut in his swing which is going to give him some problems with high velocity fastballs above the zone. Gorman is good at recognizing high fastballs; he just has to show the willingness to lay off consistently.


Future Projection

It is tough to envision Gorman playing third base for the Cardinals like he was originally projected. St Louis employs one of the best third basemen in baseball in Nolan Arenado, who is under contract through 2027, assuming he does not exercise his opt-out clause this offseason. As a result, Gorman has gotten significant run at second base over the past two seasons, appearing in 89 total games at the position.

Regardless of where he is playing in the field, Gorman’s future value is solely reliant on his bat. At his peak, I envision Gorman being a perennial All-Star who will consistently hit 30 or more home runs a season while driving in 100 or more runs.


Future grades

Hit - 50 - Power - 65 - Speed - 45 - Fielding - 55 - Arm - 55