2018 MLB Draft preview: Nolan Gorman scouting report.
With the 2018 MLB Draft less than three weeks away — the first round kicks off on June 4, 2018 — its time to start offering capsule looks at players the Texas Rangers could select with their top picks. The Rangers’ first round pick is at #15 and their second round pick is at #55 — they have no compensatory picks this year.
Leading up to draft day, we will be doing writeups of some of the players who could end up getting selected by the Rangers with one of their first two picks. Today, we are looking at Arizona high school third baseman Nolan Gorman.
Nolan Gorman is a 6’1”, 210 lb. lefthanded hitting third baseman from Phoenix, Arizona. Gorman’s calling card is his power — he’s considered to have as much power as anyone in this year’s draft class, with some having it as 70 power or higher. The reports indicate that Gorman has great bat speed and can handle high velocity, but has struggled with pitch recognition, expanding the zone and handling breaking balls, so while his hit tool is promising, there are approach issues that would have to be improved upon for him to succeed. There are also questions about whether he can stick at third base, and generally, if a player as a third baseman in high school and isn’t a really good third baseman, more often than not he ends up moving to first base.
Baseball America has Gorman as the #15 player in their top 500 draft prospects rankings, saying that the power is impressive enough that he’s a mid-first-rounder even with the other questions surrounding him. MLB Pipeline has Gorman at #17 on their list, praising his “ultra-quick hands and bat speed” but expressing concern about holes in his swing. Fangraphs has Gorman at #11 on their list with a 70 raw power grade, while Keith Law has him at #15 and says he has 80 raw power.
Jonathan Mayo’s latest mock draft came out today and has Gorman going to the Rangers at #15, though he says Gorman could go higher. Interestingly, he has Jarred Kelenic, another high school bat expected to be off the board, going to the Rays at #16, and that would present an interesting dilemma if both players were there when Texas picks — do you take the cold-weather guy with the better hit tool projection but who has had limited reps, especially against high-level talent, or the guy with the huge tool but questions about his contact ability?
In the other mocks, Fangraphs has Gorman off the board well before Texas picks, slotting him to Atlanta at #8, as does Keith Law in his latest mock. Baseball America’s mock draft has Gorman going to Miami at #13, though also have him linked to teams as high in the draft order as the Padres at #7.
Were I to guess, I’d say Gorman is gone when Texas picks, particularly given how many of the players ranked ahead of him are the righty prep pitchers that everyone seems leery of lately. He’d be a very high-risk, high-reward type of player, though of a different variety than the toolsheds the Rangers often select — he’s someone whose entire value package will be based on his bat, and thus has to hit in order to progress. Gorman could end up making strides and being a big time middle of the order major league hitter, or his pitch recognition and approach issues could result in him stalling out in AA.
Here’s video of Gorman: