Prospect #3: 3B, Nolan Gorman
Previously ranked 9th at July reranking
Drafted in the 1st round of the 2018 draft
THE QUICK WRITE UP
TO CLARIFY, Nolan Gorman is one of the three best prospects in the organization. Plain and simple. However, one thing that I've been trying to do and trying to teach people is that the expectations of teen-aged players needs to be handled with caution. Don't forget that just two years ago we were all losing our minds after Delvin Perez was drafted. He was a super athletic and potential short stop that hit for contact. He was considered a steal in the draft for the Cardinals, as well. Now, these two are not really anything alike, but, after one season of struggle, many were ready to give up on the teen aged Perez. I don't want to go through this same fan base roller coaster of mangled expectations. So, instead, we give Gorman the 10th spot on the list as a chance to breathe before the real hype-storm strikes. It's coming, too. Gorman has real power from the left side of the plate. He plays a steady third base and he has a really wonderful arm. Sometimes that arm will force the first baseman to adjust on the bag, as he has a tendency to let his throw draw a little bit. His footwork can get a bit sloppy at third and he doesn't seem super rangy yet, but you can also see that he has the potential to get way better. So far, Gorman has made the plays that he's need to make at third and that's what we want to see.
Gorman has been incredible as a newly-turned 18-year-old in the Appalachian League. That's an advanced assignment for a newly drafted player that is closer to his high school graduation than he is to his first day as a collegiate freshman. What's most impressive about Gorman is that he is hitting for power, both slugging home runs and driving doubles. The ball absolutely fires off of his bat and his quick hands and placement of those hands allow him to wait back and get to off-speed offerings. Gorman appears to have all of the tools to be a top 100 prospect in baseball. He'll be on many of those lists at the end of the season. With a little seasoning he'd probably be the #1 prospect on this list. Gorman has missed the last weeks worth of contest for an undisclosed reason. I've been told that it isn't anything to be too worried about but that the Cardinals are going to be as cautious with Gorman as they can be. For good reason, too. He has the chance to be a truly unique talent. The type that hasn't come through the system in a very long time.
Gorman was promoted to the Peoria Chiefs on 8/8/2018. This is a very big deal, as it's only the sixth time in the last decade that a prep player has been promoted to a full-season affiliate in the same year that they were drafted in over the last decade, MLB-wide. It's going to be a tough assignment for the young man.
WHY TO GET EXCITED
Gorman is, more than likely, the most raw-talented draft pick that the Cardinals have selected since Shelby Miller.
That power from the left-side of the plate. If you were to remove Tyler O'Neill from the list and Terry Fuller from the organization, Gorman would probably have the most raw in-game power of any of the players in the system.
At only 18-years-old, he's excelling at Johnson City. Most 18-year-old draft picks start their professional careers at the GCL level. There, they mostly struggle. Gorman, however, has an OPS of 1.000+. He, along with 10th round pick Kevin Woodall, are anchoring a very powerful Johnson City club.
Sometimes it's the sound of the ball off of the bat that tips your hand about a hitters potential. This is the case with Nolan Gorman. The sound of the ball off of his bat is the sweetest that you put in your desserts. He has Flash-quick hands that are aided by a low hand-slot and a smooth and easy front-foot timing mechanism.
Gorman is athletic for his size. He has good lateral movement at 3rd. I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up becoming a plus fielder if push comes to shove and Gorman has to move over to first base.
Gorman has a strong arm and it's definitely suited for third base.
While not a burner, Nolan is very quick and he scoots around the bases.
He's very well put together for a teenager. He's stocky, but in the muscular way. He's thick-legged, too.
The bombs that he hits are of the majestic and awe-inspiring variety.
He's 18-years-old with nothing but a bright future ahead of him. As the quick write up says, he's only tenth on my list because I'm trying to practice caution with kids that just got their voter ID card. Aside from Tyler O'Neill and Dakota Hudson, Nolan Gorman is the only prospect in the organization with a chance to be on a "Top 100 Prospects" list.
WHY TO BE CAUTIOUS
Here comes the obligatory warning: He's still only 18-years-old!! Life is a weird thing, you know? There's no telling what life has in store for him and managing a professional career on top of being a kid can't be easy. Variables change quickly. Your surroundings change quickly. YOU end up changing quickly.
Gorman is out on his front foot a little early in his swing. Sometimes it looks like he's lunging at the ball. I'd like to see him weight shift to the back foot a little. I believe that it'll come with time
Gorman has big strike out potential. I mean BIG. Gorman has been great for Johnson City, but his K rate is just under 27% and that is way too high. Johnson City is an aggressive starting point for him, and his walk rate is a beautiful 15.9%, but the strikeouts are coming in large amounts.
There's a chance that Gorman won't be able to stay at third base. His footwork gets a little weird over at the hot corner. He has a good/strong arm, but he has a tendency to draw the first baseman off of the bag with it. It's worth repeating in bold letters, though: IT"S STILL WAY TO EARLY TO MOVE HIM OFF OF THIRD. Give him at least two full seasons over there to sort out these issues. He's big and smart and athletic and I have faith in him.
For now, let's not focus on what Gorman is capable of being. He's all promise and talent and potential, so let's soak that up while we can. I do want to point out that many believe that he is going to turn out, offensively, to be something similar to Cody Bellinger or Corey Seager. This is mostly because of his power potential and the fact that their swings and swing-paths are similar. You won't be surprised to find out that I think it's crazy to compare such a young kid to an All-Star. The thing with Gorman is, none of that is out of the question, either. I see a lot of Kyle Seager in him, but only time will tell.
Thanks to Fangraphs for their continued help with the stats for these articles.
Thanks For Reading!!