Statement: Nolan Gorman is having one of the most prominent seasons by a 23-year-old power hitter in St. Louis Cardinals history.
He really is doing that.
After blasting two long-distance solo home runs that traveled a combined 869 feet in Wednesday’s 11-7 win at Arizona, Gorman stood with 22 home runs and 65 RBI on the season. Now, let’s go ahead and add in his 15 doubles, .503 slugging percentage and a 123 OPS+.
I put those single-season numbers in the StatHead search engine and here’s what I came up with:
In franchise history, here are the names of the Cardinals who put together this combination at age 23 or younger … a combo of at least 22 homers, 65 RBI, 15 doubles, a .500-plus slugging and minimum 123 OPS+.
– Albert Pujols, three times. He did it at age 21, 22 and 23 from 2001 through 2003.
– Joe Medwick, at age 23 in 1935.
Gorman, 23, is making a run at it. The Cardinals have 59 regular-season games to go, so we can’t put him in that exclusive group right now. But as of Thursday morning, he would qualify. It’s just a matter of Gorman finishing strong.
I’ll say it again: Gorman is having one of the best overlooked seasons in the majors so far this season.
1. He’s only one of nine MLB hitters that has a profile that features 22 or more homers, 65 or more RBIs, 15 or more doubles and a minimum .503 slugging percentage and 123 OPS+.
2. The other eight with that statistical combination are Shohei Ohtani, Mookie Betts, Nolan Arenado, Matt Olson, Adolis Garcia, Rafael Devers, J.D. Martinez and Christian Walker. The average age of the eight players is 30.3 years old. Gorman is seven years younger than that average.
3. Gorman has competed in 181 MLB regular-season games in his early MLB career. The other eight hitters in that reference group have averaged 943 career regular-season games.
4. Gorman is the only hitter in the majors this season, age 23 years or younger, that has the combination of 15+ doubles, 22+ homers, 65+ RBI, a slug of .500 or higher and an OPS+ of 123 or higher.
5. Among the 2023 Cardinals, Gorman is tied with Arenado for the club lead in homers, is second to Arenado in RBI, and is third in OPS (.828), slugging, OPS+, and total bases. Gorman, in effect, is standing with Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt on the leaderboard.
6. Here’s an update of an improvement barometer that I offered here a couple of weeks ago. Compared to his 2022 rookie season, Gorman is up 19 points in batting average, up 25 points in onbase percentage, up 83 points in slugging, up 107 points in OPS, up 19 points in OPS+, and up 64 points in Isolated Power. His strikeout rate has gone down by three percent, and his walk rate is up by nearly two percent. And Gorman has increased his hard-hit rate by more than five percent, up to 48.6%.
7. Before you fuss about Gorman’s 30% strikeout rate, please let me tell you a couple of things: he’s one of 16 MLB hitters that have a strikeout rate of 29 percent or higher. But per wRC+, only three are having a better season offensively than Gorman, who is 25 percent above league average.
8. In summation: I like Nolan Gorman. And if you don’t like Nolan Gorman, then you’re an evil person.
9. Well, not really. You’re a fine person. But you really should be pretty damn happy with what Gorman is doing for the Cardinals at age 23.
Thanks for reading …
For the last 35 years Bernie Miklasz has entertained, enlightened, and connected with generations of St. Louis sports fans.
While best known for his voice as the lead sports columnist at the Post-Dispatch for 26 years, Bernie has also written for The Athletic, Dallas Morning News and Baltimore News American. Bernie has hosted radio shows in St. Louis, Dallas, Baltimore and Washington D.C.
Bernie, his wife Kirsten and their cats reside in the Skinker-DeBaliviere neighborhood of St. Louis.