ST. LOUIS — Coming into 2022 it was clear how much the Cardinals liked rookie Brendan Donovan. But even the team likely couldn’t have envisioned a start like he’s had in the majors.
As of Monday, Donovan has the third-highest OPS of any qualified rookie in baseball at .817. He has the highest on-base percentage, third-highest average and third-most doubles of that group as well.
And he’s been doing it playing quite literally all over the field. Through 40 games Donovan has played right field, left field, second base, third base, shortstop, first base and designated hitter. So almost a full “Oquendo”.
Donovan has also shown a keen eye and patience at the plate, tallying 20 walks to just 18 strikeouts on the season. In fact, Donovan’s walk total is good for fourth-most on the team, and all three players ahead of him have twice as many at-bats.
“I think that (patience at the plate) was from a young age. I always like to see pitches, and don’t get me wrong, I’m willing to swing early in the count if it’s my pitch. And if it’s not I just move to the next one. But I just try to make everything a battle and make him work just as hard as I’m working,” Donovan said on Monday.
Juan Yepez burst onto the scene and fought his way into the lineup on a fairly consistent basis. And Nolan Gorman, while still prone to strikeouts, has awed with his prodigious power.
Donovan said he enjoys seeing his friends he came up through the system with succeeding alongside him, but that it doesn’t really matter if they’re rookies or not when it comes down to it.
“I think it’s cool. I’m happy for all those guys’ success and I’m excited to see (starting pitcher) Zack (Thompson) today. He’s worked really hard for this so it’s a great day for him and his family. We just want to help us win. We just want to show up, prepare, go about things the right way and if we can help us win then that’s a plus. I don’t think it matters that we’re young. I think it’s just if we can show up and do things the right way it can help us win,” Donovan said.
Even though he’s only played in 40 major league games so far, Donovan has the look of someone who has been here for quite a while. That doesn’t mean he isn’t still taking in some of the “awe” moments that come with being a professional baseball player.
“I think there’s some ‘wow’ moments, but I think there can be a ‘wow’ moment every day. Whether you’ve been in this game for a long time or if you’re a rookie, I think if you’re in one with the moment there are some things that you can be like, ‘Wow that was pretty cool’. And that’s one thing I appreciate is you can find little things each day to be happy and positive about. So obviously still some ‘wow’ moments but just take it one day at a time,” Donovan said.