In a team full of veterans, the St. Louis Cardinals have a great mix of old and young. Brendan Donovan, the 25-year-old is becoming an everyday starter for the Redbirds as a rookie.
The St. Louis Cardinals outfield seemed not to have many voids coming into the year, but injuries have presented some opportunities for the young bucks. With starters Harrison Bader and Tyler O’Neill battling the injury bug, it is time for the Donovan show.
Before Donovan Made the Big Leagues
Brendan Donovan, the Alabam native, played football and baseball at Enterprise High School. He was an All-Stater, hitting the ball to all sides of the field with great power and speed. As a high schooler, he primarily played the left side of the infield, as he got on base over half the time and had an even higher slugging percentage.
After his high school domination, Brendan Donovan stayed in Alabama for college as he attended the University of South Alabama. Donovan is originally from Wurzburg, Germany, his favorite athlete in college–oddly enough–was Matt Carpenter. In 2018 he slashed a .302 batting average, .456 on-base percentage and .480 slugging percentage with 55 RBIs.
His college days came to an end and he entered the Cardinals organization being drafted in the 7th round of the 2018 amateur draft. Donovan spent the majority of his season with the A-Peoria Chiefs, St. Louis’ high-A affiliate. He batted .266 with a .377 OBP and .407 SLG while adding 26 doubles, 3 triples, 8 home runs and 53 RBIs.
COVID-19 came along and changed Brendan Donovan’s career and he shined in 2021. He spent most of the summer in Memphis and Springfield, but returned to Peoria for the second time. His time at Memphis was filled with a lot of success, thanks to his .860 OPS. Finally, 2022 came, and after a brief stint in Memphis, Donovan’s biggest test began.
Welcome to St. Louis
It may be strange to see a team with players like Albert Pujols, Yadier Molina, Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt start rookies, but that is the case this year with the Cardinals. Brendan Donovan finally got his call to the big leagues and he is looking to prove he is here to stay.
The flow is there, but so are his baseball skills as he can thrive playing virtually any position. Through 195 at-bats, Donovan is batting .292 with a .401 OBP and .405 SLG. Out of his 57 hits, he has 14 doubles, a triple and 2 home runs.
Throughout his career, Brendan Donovan has always done a great job doing whatever it takes to get on base, but his strikeout numbers have inevitably gone up since the competition has gotten stronger. You cannot really shift against him either; his spray chart is pretty versatile and he can hit the ball anywhere, but mostly hits up the middle. His 33.8% hard-hit ball rate could improve, but his great contact-hitting and sub-20% strikeout rates make up for it.
Brendan Donovan’s availability to play anywhere Oliver Marmol asks him to and play it well is why he remains in the lineup. He is not a slouch either offensively, but if he can keep getting better on that side of the field, the sky’s the limit.
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