#196: Brendan Donovan
I really wish I didn't play fantasy baseball in a league full of Cardinals fans, so I'd be able to exploit the value of these under-ranked players to the fullest. Sadly, my competition will understand Cardinal player values better than the average baseball fan, so I won't be able to draft Brendan Donovan in the last round. While Donovan doesn't have the positional flexibility in fantasy that he does in real life, only having eligibility for second base and outfield, it's ridiculous how low he's been ranked by ESPN.
He's projected to lose 30 OPS points, dropping from .781 in 2023 to .751 in 2024 despite making adjustments and improving drastically over the course of the season. For some reason, he's also only projected to take 259 at-bats this year, about 70 fewer than he had last year when he was shut down early in the second half due to an elbow injury.
I guess ESPN projects Donovan to be a bench bat for the Cardinals in 2024, which is completely incorrect. He'll make many starts at second base while Nolan Gorman fills in at DH, and his versatility allows him to see playing time in the outfield and corner infield positions when the veterans need a break from fielding. Not only will Donovan be an everyday player for the Cardinals, he will also probably bat leadoff.
Josh Jacobs broke down Donovan's midseason adjustments and swing decisions that propelled him to a new level offensively in an article recently, so I won't go too in-depth with his improvements here. But, Donovan will be ready to make an impact at the top of the Cardinals' order, so he shouldn't be slept on in the slightest.
Ranking Donovan below the likes of Maikel Garcia, Parker Meadows, Seth Brown, and Anthony Rendon shows that national media outlets still have no idea how good Donovan is at his best. Most of these players don't even merit a comparison to Donovan. I guess I'll end my article with that because just like Rendon, no habla inglés today.