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PEORIA — ​Nolan Gorman's first hit as a professional baseball player was a home run at rookie level Johnson City, Tenn.​

On Friday, Gorman's first hit as a member of the Peoria Chiefs also cleared the fence.

That's exactly what St. Louis had in mind.

Gorman's plus power is a huge reason the Cardinals selected the Phoenix high school standout as their first-round draft pick (and 19th pick overall) in June's first-year player draft.

Gorman made his Dozer Park debut Saturday after an unusual promotion to full-season ball. According to Baseball America, Gorman is only the seventh player in the last 10 years to go from high school baseball to Class A in the same year.

"I think it's awesome," Gorman said Saturday in the Chiefs dugout 90 minutes before first pitch. "Not many guys get to do this. But at the same time, they put me in advanced rookie to start, and I showed them I could handle that so I'm here now. I'm going to show them I can handle this, too."

Gorman terrorized the Applachian League in his short stay at Johnson City with a .345 average, 11 home runs and 28 RBIs in 142 at-bats.

The Cardinals needed no more convincing to promote a third baseman who was playing prep baseball three months ago to the Midwest League. Gorman is the first Cardinal position player draft pick to play in Class A in his first season since Garry Templeton in 1974.

"My mindset hasn't really changed," said Gorman. "I'm playing pro ball. I'm playing every day. I've got to stick to the approach and try to help the team win."

MLB Pipeline already thinks highly of Gorman. The prospect arm of Major League Baseball's web site lists Gorman as the No. 3 prospect in the St. Louis system, the No. 9 third baseman in all of the minor leagues and the No. 100 prospect overall.

Peoria took a 28-17 second-half record into Saturday's game against Clinton (Iowa). The Chiefs continue that home series Sunday through Tuesday.

"I've heard nothing but good things about Peoria. I know the fans are excited, and I'm excited, too," Gorman said. "Guys have more control of their pitches here. It's been good getting adjusted to it. Getting my at-bats is going to help."

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Contact Randy Reinhardt at (309) 820-3403. Follow him on Twitter: @Pg_Reinhardt



Reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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