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St. Louis Cardinals Player To Watch: Brendan Donovan

Brendan Donovan is a player that might have a significant role with the St. Louis Cardinals this season. So who is he and where does he fit?

The Known Entities

When Spring Training starts, everyone talks about what prospects could make the Major League roster for the first time in their careers. For the St. Louis Cardinals, those talks centered around 1B Juan Yepez, 2B Nolan Gorman, and SP Matthew Liberatore. These are the known entities of Cardinal prospects fans have been hearing about and hope to hear about for years to come. One name you have not heard about but should is Brendan Donovan.

Yepez, mainly a first baseman who has dabbled at third base and the corner outfield spots, has been in the DH discussion for this season. Gorman is the top Cardinals prospect looking to find a spot to become a regular in the Cardinal lineup. As for Liberatore, it is only a matter of time before he cracks the starting pitching rotation in St. Louis.

A New Name Appears

But, as Spring Training has progressed, another name has appeared out of nowhere as a player to watch and possibly make the Opening Day Roster for the Cardinals. This has been made even more likely with the expected roster expansion to 28 players to begin the season. That name is Brendan Donovan. So who exactly is the player behind the name that is all of a sudden the talk of Cardinals fans?

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Who Is Brendan Donovan?

Brendan Donovan is a 25 year old left handed hitting infielder drafted in the 7th round of the 2018 draft by the Cardinals. Last year, Donovan was able to jump from Class High-A Peoria to AAA Memphis in one season. He then followed that up with an impressive performance at the Arizona Fall League where he posted an impressive .941 OPS.

But more than his hitting, what has impressed the Cardinals coaches this spring is Donovan’s defensive versatility. In the seven official spring training games played by the Cardinals, Donovan has played 3B, 2B, SS, LF, and RF. The ability to play that many positions is extremely valuable for a young player looking to crack a major league roster as a bench player. Add in the fact that he is a left handed hitter, which is something the Cardinals needed to add this offseason, and having him make the Opening Day Roster makes sense.

What Will Donovan’s Role Be?

While Donovan is not expected to have the kind of impact that top prospect Nolan Gorman is slated to have in the future, Donovan fills a valuable role. Think of him like the next Tommy Edman. Edman broke into the Cardinals lineup as a super utility player in 2019. He was able to get regular playing time by playing multiple positions while giving the regular starters the day off. Edman seized the opportunity and played well enough to earn him the regular starting second base job in 2021. He turned the role into a Gold Glove defensive performance as one of five Cardinals players to take home the award.

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It is too early to expect Donovan to take over a starting role and earn a Gold Glove. However, his defensive utility will provide chances to show he can have a positive impact for the Cardinals this year. He has a higher chance to stick at the major league roster than Gorman. The Cardinals want Gorman to get consistent at bats to ensure he does not lose development. This means he will start the season in AAA Memphis if he cannot get those at bats at the majors. This is likely to be the case since Nolan Arenado and Edman are blocking Gorman’s main defensive positions. Since Donovan can play almost anywhere in the field, at bats will be easier to find for him.

It will be interesting to see how Donovan handles his first experience in the big leagues. Cardinals fans hope he brings the same energy and excitement that Edman did in his first action in 2019. And who knows? Maybe he turns this opportunity from defensive versatility into a full time role in the majors.

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Written By

My name is Andrew and I have been a diehard St. Louis Cardinals and Carolina Panthers fan my whole life! I also recently have started watching Hockey and am a fan of the St. Louis Blues and Carolina Hurricanes. I also love playing Franchises on simulation sports games such as MLB the Show, Madden, and Out of the Park Baseball. I love sharing my thoughts and opinions on sports and love the opportunity to write here with BFSN!

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