Prospect Nolan Gorman received a call Monday night he’s been dreaming of his entire life. With the 19th pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, the St. Louis Cardinals selected the 18-year-old third baseman from Sandra Day O’Connor High School in Phoenix, AZ.
Gorman is the first player born in the 2000’s to get drafted in any major American sport.
At 6-foot-1, 210 lbs, he’s highly regarded as one of the best raw, power-hitting talents in this draft class; and for good reason. Gorman won both the Under Armour All-American and MLB All-Star Game High School Home Run Derbies.
As a senior, Gorman pulverized the baseball, hitting .421 with 10 home runs and a 1.536 OBP in 32 games.
In a March 2018 article by SB Nation’s Shaun P Kernahan, he talked about how impressive Gorman’s power was in person: “The ball jumps off his bat in ways that are rarely seen. In his first AB, he made terrible contact that initially had me looking for the left fielder to be coming in to make the play on a lazy pop up. Instead, when I turned my head to the outfield, that left fielder was up against the fence watching the ball carry out.”
His performances both in high school and club ball earned him honors as a High School All-American and a spot on a USA Baseball team.
Although he’s committed to the University of Arizona, Gorman is expected to sign with the Cardinals. He’s a rock-solid addition to an already promising, young core in St. Louis.
With retirement looming for some of the Cardinals’ stars, namely Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright, St. Louisians shouldn’t worry about their team’s future.
Some of the team’s younger players have shown they belong with their impressive stints in the Majors.
Outfielders Harrison Bader (24) and Tyler O’Neill (22) have proved thus far in 2018 they’ll be part of a talented outfield for years to come with the recently acquired Marcell Ozuna (27).
St. Louis’ future infield is coming together as well. Behind shortstop Paul DeJong (24), there’s more talent there than some may think. Although in limited time, middle-infielder Yairo Muñoz (23) has thrived in DeJong’s absence thus far. He seems versatile enough to play second or third base while DeJong plays shortstop.
Add the power-hitting Gorman (18) to the mix, and you’re looking at a pretty solid offense that can back what looks to be an electric pitching staff.
Carlos Martinez (26) and Alex Reyes (23) are the most promising of the young pitchers and will lead a staff that could very well be the best in baseball in a couple years. People forget Michael Wacha, who has come close to throwing a no-hitter three times, is only 26 years old.
Those three, Jack Flaherty (22) and Luke Weaver (24) will likely be the starting rotation as soon as next season — depending on what manager Mike Matheny wants to do with 29-year-old Miles Mikolas (6-2, 2.49 ERA), who is under contract until the end of the 2019 season.
This abundance of young pitching talent is definitely a good problem to have.
Although the future is extremely promising for the Cardinals, the team is still competitive and looks to contend for a playoff spot in 2018. The focus will certainly be on that for the remainder of the season, but the team will only get better as the young players continue to improve.