ST. LOUIS -- Before Nolan Gorman became the first player born in the 2000s drafted by a Major League club, before he was awed by a handshake offered from Yadier Molina, before he cranked his first batting practice home run out of Busch Stadium, the 17-year-old received some big league advice. The lesson came courtesy of former All-Star first baseman and current MLB Network analyst Sean Casey.
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"It's a grind and you have to keep yourself under the water of that the whole time," Gorman recalled Casey telling him recently. "You can't come up for air. That was the biggest piece of advice I've been given."
Gorman will soon put it into practice. The Cardinals first-round pick's professional career is slated to begin at Class A Johnson City later this week after officially signing with the club Monday, when he was introduced at Busch Stadium. A source confirmed Gorman agreed to the slot value of $3,231,000 for his Draft-pick selection (No. 19 overall).
The club is also in agreement with supplemental first-round selection Griffin Roberts. A right-hander from Wake Forrest with experience as both a starter and reliever, Roberts is scheduled to undergo a physical later this week. MLB Pipeline's Jim Callis reported the deal is for full slot value of $1,664,200 (No. 43 overall) on Monday afternoon.
Gorman and Roberts are the Cardinals' first 2018 Draft selections to agree to contracts with the club.
"Hopefully, we'll see a bunch more signings in the next four to five days," president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said.
A third baseman from Sandra Day O'Connor High School in Phoenix, Ariz., Gorman was among the premier power hitting prospects in this year's Draft class. He was ranked MLB Pipeline's No. 12 overall prospect in this year's Top 200 crop, thanks in large part to an ability to hit for power scouts touted as high as 70 grade on the 20-to-80 scouting scale.
Gorman rocketed up draft boards last summer after winning two prestigious national home run derbies, one at the MLB All-Star Game in Miami and another at the Under Armour All-American Game in Chicago.
"You don't need to project his power," Girsch said. "It's more of a projection of, how does that power translate into games? Does he have enough contact ability to let that power play? But for a guy like Gorman, his power is 'now' power. We're not dreaming on it. He has power today."
On Monday he showed a glimpse of that, sending several pitches into the seats during four rounds of batting practice prior to the Cardinals' series opener against the Padres. Gorman was given a temporary locker in the Cardinals' clubhouse, where he was welcomed by members of the current team, including Molina, whom he said he grew up watching.
Accompanied by his parents, Brian and Jennifer, grandparents Anna and Tom, brother and girlfriend, Gorman's first trip to St. Louis included a visit of the Cardinals Hall of Fame on Monday. He said an extended tour of the city is planned for the coming days, before his Minor League journey commences.
"It's been amazing. I've dreamed of this my whole life," Gorman said "This stadium is really cool. It's huge, and there are a lot of people watching you."