The St. Louis Cardinals are looking to bounce back and make a competitive run in 2024 following their forgettable 2023 campaign. Outfielder Jordan Walker impressed in 2023 and may be on the verge of a true breakout season. But is there another player who can take a big step forward?

Of course, shortstop Masyn Winn is an exciting young player. However, infielder Nolan Gorman has the potential to become St. Louis' next superstar.

Nolan Gorman ready for breakout performance? 

St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Nolan Gorman (16) hits a single against the Cincinnati Reds in the first inning at Great American Ball Park.
Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Gorman, 23, was once a highly-regarded prospect. He's displayed signs of stardom over the past couple of years, but injuries have limited the Cardinals infielder.

Gorman recently addressed steps he's taken to avoid injury trouble moving forward, per John Denton of

“Obviously, I spent the whole offseason making sure that wouldn’t happen,” Gorman said of a back injury he dealt with previously. “I didn’t want to come in here to Spring Training and have to worry about it, or really even talk about it. Like I’ve said, I took care of my back in every way that I needed to this offseason.”

Denton also revealed an attention-catching change Gorman made during the offseason.

“An avid lover of popcorn, Gorman’s dedication to being healthier this season led to him switching from popcorn brands that use peanut oil to ones that utilize healthier coconut oil,” Denton wrote in the article.

Gorman is reportedly in better shape as a result.

He features more than enough talent and potential to continue to progress as a player. Although, Gorman isn't concerned with numbers. He just wants to go out and play baseball.

“I don’t think about numbers at all,” he said. “Numbers are going to be where they’re at and where they need to be by the end of the year. If you’re going out there and playing hard and playing to win, the numbers will always be there.”

Gorman has appeared in 208 career big league games. He's slashed .232/.317/.454/.771 during that span.

2023, Gorman's second year at the MLB level, saw him crush 27 home runs in just 119 games played. He may not be focused on numbers, but Gorman might have 40-plus home run potential in a full season. And for someone who plays second base, that is extremely impressive.

Will Nolan Gorman be next great second baseman?

In fact, Gorman may emerge as one of the best second baseman in the sport if he figures out how to raise his OBP moving forward. Limiting strikeouts and swing-and-miss will be important. Gorman has struck out in 32.3 percent of his at-bats during his career so far, per Baseball Reference.

It should be noted that Brendan Donovan may play second base as well. Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol recently addressed St. Louis' second base situation.

“There is a way of doing it where they still get enough time at the DH and second base positions,” Marmol said, via Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “We are weighing (that) question of Donnie in the outfield and what would that look like? At the end of the day, it’s about figuring out what gives you the best combination of both defense and offense, where you’re not just chasing offense at the expense of defense. Gone down that road before.”

Regardless of where Gorman plays, he's going to hit for power when healthy. He can play second or third base, and may be used at DH as well. The Cardinals' offense was not bad in 2023 despite the team's overall struggles, but their production should still improve with Gorman and Walker set to break out.

Cardinals heading into 2024 season

The Cardinals still have uncertainty to address. The starting rotation may be better than it was in 2023, but it's still far from a perfect pitching staff.

In the end, though, St. Louis is going to improve upon their abysmal 71-91 2023 season. They should end up receiving more consistency from players who endured down years in 2024, such as Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt.

Additionally, the National League Central is wide open. The Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs both lost star pitchers in Corbin Burnes and Marcus Stroman. The Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates are getting better, but they certainly are not locks to compete.

It would not be surprising to see this Cardinals ball club go from worst to first in the NL Central. And if they get hot in October, perhaps they will shock the MLB world and make a serious playoff run. St. Louis will be an intriguing team to follow throughout the upcoming campaign.