Cardinals take power-hitting young 3B Gorman with top draft pick

Nolan Gorman won the 2017 MLB High School Home Run Derby during All-Star Week in Miami.
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Cardinals used their highest draft pick in five years, No. 19 overall, to select a power-hitting young third baseman from Phoenix.

The Cardinals tabbed third baseman Nolan Gorman, 18, of Sandra Day O’Connor High School in Phoenix. He is the first player born in the year 2000 ever to be taken in the MLB draft.

The Cardinals also selected right-handed pitcher Griffin Roberts 43rd overall with a Competitive Balance Round A pick. Their final pick of Day 1 was first baseman Luken Baker, a second-round compensatory pick (75th overall) due to the loss of pitcher Lance Lynn in free agency.

Gorman bats left-handed and stands 6-foot-1, 210 pounds. He hit .419 with 32 home runs, 118 RBIs and 115 runs scored in his high school career. He batted .421 with 10 homers as a senior, helping to lift the Eagles to their first 6A state championship.

“Gorman has a different profile than what we have picked before, and we’re excited to draft this kind of player into our system,” Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said.

Gorman has won multiple home run derbies, including the 2017 MLB High School Home Run Derby during All-Star Week in Miami.

“We were thrilled to take Nolan,” Cardinals scouting director Randy Flores said. “The way the board worked out, you can’t believe a left-handed hitter as young as he is, who has performed with power on the biggest stage, was available to us.”

The selection of Gorman was the highest for the Cardinals since 2013, when they took pitcher Marco Gonzales 19th overall.

Roberts, 21, went 5-4 with a 3.82 ERA in 14 starts as a junior at Wake Forest in 2018. His ACC-leading 130 strikeouts ranked ninth in the NCAA.

“Roberts possesses a power arsenal and had success transitioning to a starter,” Flores said. “Our hope and aim is for him to be in the rotation.”

Roberts was selected by the Minnesota Twins in the 29th round last year but did not sign.

Baker, 21, hit .347 with 28 home runs and 129 RBIs in 145 career games at Texas Christian.

“Baker is an impressive player, and we didn’t think we would have the chance to draft a high-caliber player like him at that spot,” Flores said.

Baker was selected by the Houston Astros in the 37th round of the 2015 draft but did not sign.