Ranking the ceilings of the St. Louis Cardinals' middle infielders
#4 - Brendan Donovan
Honestly, I spent way too much time processing who would be at the bottom of this list. All four of these guys have high ceilings, and Brendan Donovan may be the surest bet out of all of them to continue to be an impactful player for years to come.
When I think of each of their "ceilings" though, Donovan is the guy that I think may already be at his, and that is not a bad thing at all. Donovan, right now, is someone who can bat at the top of a championship lineup and play all over the diamond. If he puts together another season as he did in 2022, and adds even a little bit of pop that he's flashed so far this spring, he'll grow even more in his value to teams around the league.
I can see why the Cardinals were more willing to part with names like Gorman and Dylan Carlson this offseason than someone like Donovan. Having this kind of player under team control for the next five years is insane value, and the certainty he already brings to this club cannot be measured.
Finishing third in National League Rookie of the Year voting and winning the utility Gold Glove last season, Donovan can provide the Cardinals with a .400 OBP guy with 10-12 HR power and 30+ doubles a year, all while being able to slot at pretty much any position around the diamond. Donovan might now be elite defensively at any of them, but that flexibility is desired by every team in today's game.
If this were a list of the most valuable Cardinals middle infielders, something I may have to rank at a later point, I bet Donovan would be at the top of the list. But when it comes to ceilings, I think the other three names on this list have a slight edge on him.