Nolan Gorman, Edmund, Cardinals discussed on Effectively Wild: A FanGraphs Baseball Podcast
So my last question was about two guys who took steps back in 2022, so I want to ask about two guys who took steps forward, Edmund, you just mentioned and newt bar, you mentioned as well. And he really had a breakout Edmund, just the defense was so spectacular at least by the numbers that he ended up being an extremely valuable player, depending on which war you're looking at. So is there hope that Edmund can continue to be and above average hitter in addition to giving them that kind of glove and then with newt bar who, as you mentioned, it's going to be on the Japan team in the WBC. Is there an expectation that he can maintain that power outburst that he had? Sure. I think let's start with Tommy, right? He is the guy that kind of projected to be their utility player in 2021. He was even playing in right field because the Cardinals had so many injuries at that point. And he seems to thrive anywhere you put him defensively. He was actually so good last year at shortstop that he, for whatever reason, kind of got played out of a gold glove because he wasn't exactly utility player either. But obviously a certainly a deserving candidate there. I think for Tommy, that they don't, again, it's a little bit like mason. They don't need him to be the home run hitter. They need him to be the switch hitting get on base guy. You got a bunch of power behind you if you're Tommy Edmond. You have O'Neill. You have Nolan's Goldschmidt, Contreras. Nubar will get to. You don't need to hit the home run. You just need to get on base. And I think those are that's a fair expectation for Tommy. He can serve as a leadoff hitter. He can serve as a double leadoff hitter in the 9 hole. But if Tommy can get on base, steal a bag and put himself in scoring position, they'll certainly take it. Average, I don't think is a huge stat when it comes to admin that they're looking for, and neither is power, but the on base percentage absolutely. Now for newt bar, this is a guy who barely made the opening day roster last year, actually spent a significant time in Memphis and triple-A and came back in the second half just to completely new person. And the expectations for Lars are heavy in 2023. He was the first player that manager Ollie marble expresses being a regular starter at the winter meetings. He said Lars nubar will be playing ideally every single day for us. And the key for Laura staying in that lineup is to making sure he can hit. He has that lefty power bath, the Cardinals were covered and they were trying to find one over the off season. It did not work out. John Mozilla lamented the fact that they were not able to do so. So it was clear that that was an area that they thought they needed to boost. Now they're going to look for that help internally with Lars. He's been working extensively at driveline, has completely revamped revamped his power, his barrel, exit velocity. Those are all things trending in the right direction. So again, the cardinals are looking for a lefty power bat. They'll hope they have one internally now and will be Lars's spot to win. And I want to ask about another hitter who revamped himself. And that's Nolan Gorman, who I think maybe had the most kind of textbook case of the league catching up to someone. Good prospect and then comes up and hits the ground running and then stops hitting anything because it seemed like he had a hole that the lead kind of cut up to and he has done his best to close it and to counter adjust. So can you explain what he did and how it seems to be working thus far? Yeah, I think that's a perfect explanation for it. The league just caught up to where he was getting exposed, which was the high fastball. Look, we know how Nolan Gorman projects. He is that outstanding left handed power header that we talked about a little bit with the Cardinals needing in Lars. Now the reason that he slumped so poorly in the second half was because opposing teams were identifying the fact that he was really chase heavy on the high fastball. Nolan Gorman's bread and butter pitch is that low off speed down in the zone. If you give them some high heat, he's going to chase. And so to Gorman's credit, he went into the off season working primarily on how to do not necessarily damage with that high fastball. But being able to fall it off or at least put it in play if he can to give him a better shot at the change up or the off speed, which he can do damage with. And the early returns have been very favorable. Ollie marvel says that he came into camp as looking like a brand new hitter, talked to Nolan Gorman after Sunday's game. He fouled all he was in a two strike count and fouled off a couple high fastballs and eventually got one for two run single. And when I asked if he felt like it was a step in the right direction, he said, no, I expect to do that now. I put in way too much work to not have that expectation. So for me, I thought that was a really encouraging sign for Gorman, who acknowledged, you know, I'm not always going to want that pitch. I still want them to pitch me low, but if they know that I can foul it off, if they know that I can do damage with it at times, then they're going to stop giving it to me so often and it's going to increase my chance of getting the off speed pitch in the zone that I want. So that's what Gorman is coming into. He's trying to win a spot on this act of roster for opening day. And if he can do some damage or at least put himself in a more favorable position to get to that change up or the off speed stuff, then I think the cardinals will have a really exciting bench and you know he can still play second for them too. I want to talk a bit about the rotation now and maybe we can start with a guy who actually hasn't been with the club all that long in Jordan Montgomery when he came over from New York. He had that like scintillating August and looked so good and then he kind of trailed off after that. He wasn't bad, but he was, he was more sort of what he had been with New York and I'm curious what the club's expectations are for him going into 2023 and how he might work to look more like his August than like his September and October. I think the cardinals are expecting him Montgomery to be a middle of the rotation arm. They'll certainly take it, of course, if he projects to be higher than that. But for Jordan, it's the cardinals are in a weird spot with their rotation because after the season, they only have one pitcher on that rotation that is signed. It's only Steven Matt's. Everyone else is either retiring if you're Adam Wainwright or said to be a free agent. Jordan certainly is obviously under that criteria as well. I think what the cardinals are looking for in Jordan Montgomery is if he can be that durable, utilizing the glove side fastball that brought him a lot of success last year. Get balls on the ground, get quick outs, don't walk, guys. That's the reason why they traded for him at the deadline. They saw a guy that really fit their ballpark and what they look for with their pitchers, the cardinals like.