NEW YORK — The future is about to become the present for the Cardinals, who are promoting top prospects Nolan Gorman and Matthew Liberatore for their weekend series in Pittsburgh.
Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol made the announcement following the Cardinals’ 7-6 loss to the Mets on Thursday. Gorman will join the team on Friday and is expected to start at second base in the series opener against the Pirates. This game will be streamed exclusively and for free on Apple TV+.
Liberatore should then start on Saturday. The Cardinals are using him to fill the rotation vacancy that arose after playing a doubleheader earlier in the week.
In corresponding moves, the club placed outfielder Tyler O’Neill (right shoulder impingement) on the injured list and transferred Jack Flaherty to the IL 60 days.
Gorman, the club’s No. 2 prospect and No. 29 overall prospect according to MLB Pipeline, instantly adds a powerful left-handed presence to the roster.
“We will use Gorman at second base. He will be in the composition. He is here to play,” Marmol said. “He will come here and show what he can do. He worked hard to minimize strikeouts. It is something he is aware of. He is doing quite well. He makes a lot of contacts and drives the baseball. We have a need, so he comes to fill it.
Drafted out of high school by the Cardinals as the 19th overall pick in 2018, Gorman hit .308 with 15 home runs and a 1.044 OPS in 34 games with Triple-A Memphis this season. This follows a season 21 in which he slashed .279 / .333 / .481 with 25 homers between Double-A and Triple-A.
“He’s a powerful hitter, an exciting player,” said Juan Yepez. “He can hit the ball hard in all parts of the pitch. It will be nice to have him here.
Gorman’s form in St. Louis, however, was not going to be dictated solely by his bat. He also had to find a place on the pitch. To do that, the 22-year-old Gorman began making the transition from third base to second base last season, following the club’s acquisition of third baseman Nolan Arenado.
Liberatore, who was drafted by Tampa Bay three picks ahead of Gorman, came to St. Louis as part of the 2020 trade that sent Randy Arozarena to the Rays. The 6-foot-4 southpaw, who registers as the club’s No. 3 prospect, has posted a 3.99 ERA with 169 strikeouts in 164 2/3 innings at Triple-A since starting the season. season 21. He walked less than three batters per nine innings each season thanks to his advanced pitching ability. MLB Pipeline rated each of Liberatore’s four pitches above average: fastball, slider, curveball, and changeup.
“I can’t wait to give him the chance to come here,” Marmol said of the 22-year-old. “He comes and pitches on Saturday. We’re going to see him well and see where we want to go from there.”
That the two prospects arrive together at the Majors is fortuitous, but appropriate. They have been friends since they were 5 years old, when they met while playing on the same neighborhood coaching field team. They were later teammates on travel ball teams and with elite programs like Team USA, before becoming roommates in the minor leagues.
And now their side trips take them to Pittsburgh, together.