Nolan Gorman forcing Cardinals’ hand with scorching minor league start

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The St. Louis Cardinals farm system is shining brightly this spring. Nolan Gorman, however, may be shining too bright for the Cardinals’ current plans.

The St. Louis Cardinals‘ No. 2 prospect has been showing off this spring, so much so that the Cardinals’ may be forced to bring Nolan Gorman up to help with an offense struggling to gain some consistency.

Gorman was the Cardinals’ first-round draft pick in the 2018 MLB Amateur Draft.

Gorman is currently hitting .307/.360/.693 with an OPS of 1.054 in 26 games with the AAA Memphis Redbirds. He has knocked 12 home runs, three doubles, eight walks, two stolen bases, and 18 RBI.

This is amazing production from the 22-year-old who just keeps making it harder for the Cardinals to keep him at Memphis.

Joey Schnieder of Fox2Now.com in St. Louis reported that Gorman was recently named the International League Player of the Month for April after hitting .338 during the month putting him amongst the top 10 hitters in all of Triple-A.

Schnider reported, “MLB Pipeline ranks Gorman 31st among minor-league prospects and No. 2 in the Cardinals’ farm system. The strong start could have him knocking on the door of a major league debut, despite a crowded infield with Tommy Edman at second base.”

Cardinals crowded, talented infield creates Nolan Gorman conundrum

Therein lies the problem for the Cardinals. Edman is a 2 WAR player, according to Baseball-Reference. He’s hitting .292/.393/.458 with an OPS of .851. He has three home runs, seven stolen bases, 18 runs, and 14 RBI. Defensively, Edman has six defensive runs saved.

Edman is making his case to win a second consecutive Rawlings Gold Glove.

The Cardinals have prided themselves on that defense. This offseason Edman joined Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, Tyler O’Neill, and Harrison Bader as winners of the coveted defense award. It is hard to imagine the club risking that defense to bring up Gorman, who was actually drafted by the Cardinals as a third baseman. Gorman transitioned to second base last season after the Cardinals acquired Arenado.

One option that is being bandied about in the rumor mill requires Edman to be moved to shortstop, a position he hasn’t played in some years, in order for Gorman to come up and play second.

If this were to successfully happen, it would put shortstop Paul DeJong out of a job. DeJong is in the midst of a team-friendly six-year contract worth $26 million with the Cardinals that lasts through 2023. There are club options on the contract for 2024 and 2025.

DeJong is hitting .130/.209/.208 with a +30 wRC. He does have one home run, three stolen bases, and seven RBI. He has five defensive runs saved, though.

How long will John Mozeliak, Cardinals’ president of baseball operations, be OK with sacrificing offense for defense with DeJong?

One would think if it were so easy to move Edman to shortstop, it would have been done by now. DeJong’s defense at short and Edman’s success at the second base make for good cases to keep things the way they are going.

There is also the possibility of just bringing Gorman up to be an option for the designated hitter. As manager Oliver Marmol is fond of playing to matchups, several players have been given a shot at the DH for the Cardinals along with Albert Pujols and Corey Dickerson. Gorman could easily fit into the position.

In recent games, St Louis’ lack of success with runners in scoring position has been staggering. According to Baseball Savant, the Cardinals have a weighted on-base average of .308, which is in the bottom percentage of the league.  MLB considers WOBA “a version of an on-base percentage that accounts for how a player reached base, instead of simply considering whether a player reached base.”

While it could be a disaster defensively, Gorman appears more than worth the shot.

Nolan Gorman’s hot start demands the Cardinals find a way to bring him up to St. Louis.

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