The #1 Cardinal Prospect: Dylan Carlson or Nolan Gorman?

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This topic contains 12 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by Avatar Bob Reed 2 months ago.

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  • #97520
    stlcard25
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    What say you?

    Most prospect raters have Gorman #1 but in the most recent TCN rankings, Carlson took over the top spot. By all measures, both are very good and could be stalwarts on the Cards roster for a long time. Dylan has enjoyed a breakout season at 20 in Springfield while Gorman is scuffling a bit at Palm Beach after a hot start in Peoria. He has the benefit of being 17 months younger as well.

    For my money, it’s still Gorman as he has a higher ceiling. Of course, maybe Carlson becomes the next Cody Bellinger but I see him as more a guy who’s above average at everything in a corner OF spot, maybe a .280 hitter with 25 HRs and solid to plus defense. Gorman might hit .250 but has 40 HR potential and plays a good 3B that could get better with reps. Both are easy top 50 prospects and should be exciting to watch progress though.

    #97530
    Brian Walton
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    FWIW, Keith Law was asked about the Bellinger comp for Carlson and his reply was that they are not at all the same (in his opinion).

    For those who don’t subscribe, in a nutshell my logic for moving Carlson ahead was a consistent successful season – from MLB spring camp right up to yesterday – in fact his career best year. Gorman had a fantastic April but has struggled significantly at two different levels since. A few weeks are not concerning, but his slump is 2 1/2 months and counting. (It also happened at the end of last season.)

    If asked, TLR would say they are “tied for first”. 😉

    #97610
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    forsch31
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    I would have to say that Carlson is slightly ahead of Gorman at this time. His all around game and solid hitting at AA shows his promise. Gorman may have a higher ceiling but he hasn’t shown much patience. If he was striking out less, I would have Gorman ahead.

    #97612
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    14NyquisT
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    Until Gorman can show he can hit pro pitching, Carlson is a head higher. Carlson is our only younger position player prospect at or close to AAA that is having a good season.

    This is Carlson’s fourth pro season and by far his best. It takes time.

    #97631
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    thejager
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    i still have GOrman #1 because of the ceiling …but it’s not like Carlson is far off…and closer which always seems to weigh heavily on how people see prospects

    I dunno if i care who is 1 or 2, it is just nice to have high upside hitters on the farm after primarily pitching leading the way for so long….having said that, i havent been encouraged lately reading the boxscores for the minor leagues on the pitching side in general…some standouts, but not as much depth

    who would have thought? (sarcastic) losing picks and international draft money would have real world ramifications?

    #97633
    Brian Walton
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    Last night was Gorman at his worst and best.

    Game 1 – 0-for-4, with four strikeouts and thrown out of the game
    Game 2 – Five RBI

    #97636
    stlcard25
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    FWIW, Keith Law was asked about the Bellinger comp for Carlson and his reply was that they are not at all the same (in his opinion).

    I didn’t realize that was a comp that people were making. I just threw that out there as a pie in the sky 99.9% best case scenario. Ha

    I suspect that people will see that Gorman “magically” re-finds his power stroke and hitting ability when he gets to Springfield this coming year at some point. Getting away from the A ball caverns will do him a lot of good. He could put 35 over the fence in the Texas League.

    #97646
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    SoonerinNC
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    I am concerned about the number of pitches Gorman misses completely. Carlson has always had great command of the strike zone and has seriously upped his offensive game this season. And only 17 months older than Gorman. The most encouraging thing about Gorman at this point is that the Cardinals seem OK with pushing him to higher levels.

    This has been a really down season for the Cardinals minor league teams. The full season teams are 63 games below .500. and most of the prospects are performing below par. Carlson and Arozarena are exceptions. Short season teams 5 above .500.

    • This reply was modified 2 months ago by Avatar SoonerinNC.
    #97653
    Brian Walton
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    stlcard25, fair points on Gorman, but the size of the ballpark is irrelevant when missing the ball entirely, as Sooner notes. I am less convinced pushing him ahead to PB is a good thing, given how he was struggling in Peoria, but he has six or seven weeks remaining to figure out FSL pitching. He is going to have to learn how to hit in big ballparks, too. To that end, a small concern for me is that his career doubles count is the same as his home run total. Maybe trying to hit it over the fences isn’t always the best answer.

    #97656
    stlcard25
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    Fair point, Brian. Strikeouts have been an issue. I’d also like to note that at the age Gorman is now, Carlson had just finished up a season at Peoria that included a BB rate of 11.5% and a K rate of 25.7%, not all that different from Gorman’s 11.3/28.4 split at Peoria. Some have short memories of Carlson’s “command of the strike zone.”

    No doubt that Gorman is having some trouble but he’s got a year and half to work to where Carlson is now. I think he can and will do so, which is why I’d still place him #1. Like I said, Carlson is probably going to be a good player and I hope he reaches his ceiling. I just think Gorman could be a superstar.

    #97657
    Brian Walton
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    Peoria was also the last stop where Carlson fanned anywhere close to 20%. FWIW, I don’t recall being too concerned about his K rate, but the two are different kinds of hitters. Gorman is going to strike out more. But it is also fair to note Gorman has just two homers over the last two months and is batting in the low .200s after a huge April. He has some adjusting to do. I hope he shows me enough to re-take the no. 1 spot.

    #97658
    stlcard25
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    As a counterpoint, Gorman has been better (and more powerful) at the same age at his primary stop in both of his seasons so far compared to Carlson. He has struggled more upon being challenged at higher levels but it’s not a stretch to believe he could outpace Carlson at Springfield by the end of next season as he’s shown ability to adjust to leagues before (Peoria from last year to this). It’s not even close to a major quibble that Carlson has earned a shot at the top spot…I just don’t think he’s the better prospect than Gorman at this point.

    I agree on your last sentence…I hope the same. Or that both are so good that they stay 1-2 all the way to St Louis stardom.

    #97727
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    Bob Reed
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    There seems to be something like a consensus — at this website and everywhere else — that strictly from a batting standpoint Dylan Carlson has a higher floor and lower ceiling than Nolan Gorman. That’s certainly how I feel as well. But what about the non-batting factors? What about fielding and baserunning?

    First I must declare a tiny caveat. These calculations are about a week old, so there may be some very minor changes lately. In fact there almost surely will be. But this will be extremely close to accurate.

    I used the numbers available at Baseball Prospectus for fielding and baserunning values at the minor league level, and pro-rated to a per-150-game run value for many highly ranked third base prospects.

    (There is no shortage of arrogant and annoying voices within the scouting & analytics “communities” who pooh-pooh defensive metrics at the minor league level, but I’ve consistently found the numbers to have solid predictive properties — at least as much as defensive scouting reports, if not moreso. And specifically, over the years I have observed one near certainty: if a player has truly terrific defensive numbers in the minors, he will be an excellent gloveman when he gets to The Show. Middle infielders, catchers, corner outfielders, doesn’t matter what the position.)

    So anyway, here are the fielding + baserunning values for hot corner prospects, per 150 professional games:

    1) Ke’Brayan Hayes +18 runs per 150 minor league games played.
    This makes sense, as Hayes is universally lauded for his glovework and doesn’t hurt you on the bases.

    2) Isaac Paredes +8 runs per 150
    3) Elehuris Montero +6
    4) Sheldon Neuse +5
    5) Bobby Dalbec +1
    6) Jordan Groshans neutral
    7) Nolan Jones -1
    8) Hudson Potts -2
    9) Mark Vientos -4
    10) Alex Bohm -5
    11) Jonathan India -6
    12) Ryan Mountcastle -12
    13) Colton Welker -14

    I know, you’re wondering where Nolan Gorman is hiding. First, for those of you who unlike myself have real lives and don’t regularly waste time poring over other teams’ prospect evaluations, I just want to say that the above numbers generally align quite neatly with the scouting-based reputations of each prospect. Paredes and Montero look a bit better here than their reputations, but the rest of the numbers reflect the publicly available scouting reports to a great degree. So what of Gorman?

    Nolan Gorman as of last week had been worth +19 runs per 150 games in defense + baserunning since being drafted. Well, it’s all defense. He’s not a runner.

    Gorman could get hurt. He could get fat. He could run off to join the circus as a knife-thrower for all I know. The future is not written…but his past is clearer than crystal. Nolan Gorman has indisputably been an outstanding defensive third baseman so far as a professional. And it is largely for this reason that I place him above Dylan Carlson on my Redbird prospect list. (Carlson is at +3 per 150 games, which is very slightly better than both the mean and median for an elite outfield prospect, and distinctly above average in a corner.)

    I think Baseball Prospectus went too far in ranking Nolan Gorman 14th in their latest prospect list. And I think Carlson at 38th was a tad too low. But 20th for the former and 30th for the latter feels right to me, so I guess I’m guilty of quibbling. The plausible upside for Carlson over his prime 4-6 years is something like 2017-2019 Tommy Pham. But the plausible Gorman upside is Mike Schmidt Lite, and that’s even better. I have the same concerns as Forschy and others, re Gorman’s contact troubles. But Nolan’s so very young, and has so many physical gifts — strongest hands/wrists of anyone I’ve seen at Peoria (though admittedly I never saw Pujols there) — that he’s still a half-notch above Dylan for me.

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