ST. LOUIS – In a crowded bunch of young St. Louis Cardinals hitters, Nolan Gorman is making his case for everyday opportunities. He’s also making a strong early push in the National League leaderboards.

Gorman delivered a grand slam in Wednesday’s blowout victory to increase his RBI total to 18 in 17 games. His RBI count is second-best in the National League, only trailing Atlanta Braves first baseman Matt Olson.

“I’m just trying to put the ball in play. When we got runners on, it’s the biggest thing to try and score runs for these guys,” said Gorman via Bally Sports Midwest.

The 22-year-old currently leads the Cardinals in RBI, batting average (.316), home runs (5) and on-base-plus-slugging percentage (1.052). He’s one of just a small handful of NL hitters within the Top 20 of all Triple Crown criteria (batting, home runs, RBI) and even within the Top 5 for some advanced metrics.

But it’s not just the quantity of his production this year that has captured attention.

Gorman has delivered in several timely situations over the past few weeks, including a pair of late tiebreaking home runs in Colorado, an extra-inning game tying hit in an eventual walkoff win against the Pirates and a grand slam that put Wednesday’s contest against the Diamondbacks out of reach.

“He just keeps getting those knocks when you need it,” said shortstop Tommy Edman via Bally Sports Midwest. “He’s definitely matured a ton from last season, and he’s going to be a key part of our lineup the whole year.”

With help from some clutch hits, Gorman leads the National League in Win Probability Added with a 1.2 rating. This measures a player’s contribution to a win by the impact of each specific play made by that hitter and how it altered the outcome of a game.

“I’ve been impressed with his routine and overall demeanor, regardless of how the at-bat looks,” said Cardinals manager Oli Marmol after Wednesday’s win. “There are certain at-bats that haven’t gone his way. You look in the dugout, and you can’t tell the difference. He’s just even-keeled, and he’s taking it as he goes. He’s had a very productive season up to this point.”

Gorman says he spent the offseason working on a more fluid swing. One notable change in his approach, compared to highlights from last year, is a front leg lift that seems to be helping with timing and balance.

The 2018 first-round draft pick was touted as the team’s top prospect as recently as 2021, though shuffled between St. Louis and Memphis last year after some inconsistent results.

After Wednesday, Gorman has started in 11 consecutive games and has only been held out of the starting lineup twice this year. Gorman has mostly slotted into the lineup as the designated hitter, though has filled in at second base and third base at various times.