As part of the ongoing lockout, MLB staff are not allowed to discuss any of the locked out players with the media. However, this doesn’t include players that aren’t on a 40-man roster, leaving front office members free to discuss prospects that have yet to earn a roster spot. As such, Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak provided some comments to John Denton of MLB.com about Nolan Gorman, Masyn Winn and Jordan Walker. (Twitter links 1, 2 and 3.)
On Gorman, Mozeliak had this to say: “Very impressive. His development & how he’s growing & creating more value for himself by playing multiple positions it’s a positive. From an offensive standpoint we’re all excited to see what he’s capable of doing.” Gorman had an excellent year at the plate in 2021, playing 119 games between Double-A and Triple-A, hitting a combined .279/.333/.481, wRC+ of 115. The 21-year-old is now considered among the top 60 prospects in the game by each of Baseball America, FanGraphs and MLB Pipeline. As Mozeliak points out, Gorman also expanded his positional versatility last year. Prior to 2021, he had only played third base in the Cardinals’ system, but he played 77 games at second base last year, compared with 32 at the hot corner. Of course, the club already has an excellent third baseman in Nolan Arenado, who is under contract through 2027. (He can opt out of his contract after this year but, based on the fact that he just declined an opt out last year, it seems unlikely he would do so.) Second base, however, seems likely to be manned by Tommy Edman this year, though he could be bumped into a super-utility role if Gorman were able to force his way into the picture.
As for Winn, Mozeliak tells Denton that the youngster will be focused exclusively on playing shortstop this spring. The Cardinals drafted Winn as a two-way player in 2020 and he plied both aspects of his trade last year. However, he only logged a single appearance on the hill, throwing one inning. As for the other part of his game, he made 438 plate appearances between A-ball and High-A, hitting .242/.324/.356. It seems his pitching aspirations will be taking a backseat for now, though it’s always possible he could return to the mound in the future.
When asked about Jordan Walker’s future positions, Mozeliak said, “He’s gonna get work at places, but he’s such a good athlete I don’t think that’s a panic moment for us. … As (most) have heard me say before, if you hit, we will find you a place to play.” Walker certainly did hit in 2021, his first year of game action in the professional ranks. Between A-ball and High-A, he made 366 plate appearances and hit .317/.388/.548, wRC+ 151. On the defensive side of things, Walker only played third base last year. But given the presence of Arenado, it makes sense to give him an opportunity to try to find another home, just like Gorman.