Cardinals' Brendan Donovan Emerging as Under The Radar All-Star Candidate
After bursting on the scene in 2022, Brendan Donovan could be an All-Star this season
After bursting onto the scene in his rookie season, St. Louis Cardinals utility star and gold glover Brendan Donovan has reworked his swing in the offseason and is shining at the plate through the first two weeks of Spring Training action.
Through nine games in Jupiter, Florida, Donovan has recorded a .308 average on the year with four home runs and ten RBIs. The 26-year-old has an OPS of 1.126 and has played all over the diamond for St. Louis this spring.
The variety in positions is something Donovan is used to. In his initial campaign with the Cardinals, the rookie took home the inaugural utility Gold Glove award for the National League after appearing at shortstop, first base, left field, right field, third base, and second base last season. His total fielding percentage finished at .982 last year, and he finished the season without making an error in the outfield.
At the plate, Donovan had a great rookie season. He reached nearly 500 plate appearances for the Cardinals at the MLB level and finished the year with a .281 average with an OPS+ of 126. The number that is more shocking after his early display in spring is his five home runs in 2022.
In just 25 appearances at the plate this spring, Donovan already has three home runs. If he can finish the season with at least 10 home runs, Donovan has a clear path toward his first-career All-Star nomination.
In a baseball world where a handful of players opt out of the All-Star game due to injury, there is a realistic scenario where Donovan could sneak into the National League roster as a utility star, similar to what San Diego's Jake Cronenworth and Ian Happ were last season.
The variety of All-Star candidates already on the Cardinals' roster could hold Donovan out of the All-Star team. If you count Willson Contreras, St. Louis had six All-Stars last season, and that does not count NL MVP, Paul Goldschmidt.
It's not safe to assume the same group would be invited to this season's midseason classic, but Goldschmidt, Arenado, and Contreras already seem like locks, with Ryan Helsley next to them as one of the best closers in the game.
However, suppose Donovan can carry his hot start to spring training into the 2023 regular season. In that case, his defensive resume will allow him to get into the conversation as one of the best utility players in the league.