Curious what a year without Minor League games would do to St. Louis prospects? You should no longer worry after hearing how prepared two of the brightest are entering a crucial campaign. Nolan Gorman and Matthew Liberatore have grown up in the game together and now look to make it hard for the Cardinals to keep them away much longer.
For the second event of the Winter Warm-Up, Dan McLaughlin again played host and expertly bounced back and forth between best friends ‘Norman’ and ‘Libby’ from their home bases in Arizona. Neither is expected to open the season under the Arch but don’t count either highly confident player out from forcing a summer call-up. And for the Birds on the Bat, that boost couldn’t come at a better time.
Debate about the strength of the farm system likely hasn’t been quite as lopsided as it has seemed the past few years. Dylan Carlson made a huge leap from Springfield which had to be the way Gorman was hoping his first taste of the Texas League would also turn out. Then 2020 happened and now it is truly anyone’s guess where and how Memphis will look whenever games start.
Liberatore will be pulling for at least a Pacific Coast League assignment with his buddy right along for the ride no doubt as neither player has a clear path to Cards just yet. A strong showing in Florida will make any decisions on finding a rental much easier for the pair of highly touted first rounders. After the trade from Tampa Bay, the big lefty was anxious to get into a regular season game for his new club. As he mentioned during the virtual event, however, it has now been nearly a year and a half since he appeared in a real game and has ‘plenty of fire in his belly’ (for the hitters).
As shocking as that deal was for those outside St. Louis, it was even bigger for the potential next wave of stars. Gorman said he initially didn’t believe his friend and turned to social media to get the scoop. Once that wore off, though, both realized they were given the chance to chase their dream together. That also included a strange summer in Springfield during a pandemic but with an eye on greater things still to come.
One thing is for certain after seeing how both have prepared for this step the last 15 years together. They would like nothing more than to spend another 15 leading the Cardinals which certainly sounds just as good to anyone who supports the BOTB.