BRENDAN Michael DONOVAN
Nickname:   N/A Position:   2B-3B-OF
Home: N/A Team:   CARDINALS
Height: 6' 1" Bats:   L
Weight: 195 Throws:   R
DOB: 1/16/1997 Agent: N/A
Uniform #: 33  
Birth City: Wurzberg, Germany
Draft: 2018 - Cardinals #7 - Out of Univ. of South Alabama
YR LEA TEAM SAL(K) G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO OBP SLG AVG
2021 TAE MEMPHIS   33 111 23 32 5 0 6 25 4 2 15 23 .389 .495 .288
2021 TAE SPRINGFIELD   50 185 35 59 10 1 4 28 8 5 25 39 .411 .449 .319
2021 HAC PEORIA   25 95 15 28 6 0 2 13 7 1 10 15 .385 .421 .295
2022 IL MEMPHIS   16 57 12 17 3 0 1 6 0 0 8 8 .385 .404 .298
2022 NL CARDINALS   2 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000
2023 NL CARDINALS $729.00 95 327 48 93 10 1 11 34 5 1 33 53 .365 .422 .284
2024 NL CARDINALS   67 263 32 65 15 1 6 32 1 2 20 39 .319 .380 .247
Personal
  • June 14, 2018: The Cardinals drafted Brendan Donovan as a seventh-rounder, out of the Univ. of South Alabama. He signed with scout Clint Brown.

  • 2021 Season: Donovan has hit throughout his amateur and pro career, including a .304/.399/.455 line in the upper levels of the Minors this year and a .308/.422/.519 line in the AFL. The 2018 seventh-rounder from South Alabama has fringy defensive tools but makes repeated quality contact and offers some gap power and baserunning savvy.  (Jim Callis - Nov. 30, 2021)

  • In 2022, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Brendan as the 13th-best prospect in the Cardinals organization.

  • MLB debut (April 24, 2022): Brendan’s goal wasn’t to playfully tease family members with his big news, and he’s hopeful now that they understand what happened considering his overjoyed state of mind at the time.

    Upon learning that he was being promoted from Triple-A Memphis to the Cardinals, Donovan sent out a quick text message to his family and laid his phone down so he could hurriedly pack and get ready for the four-hour drive up I-55 to St. Louis. Donovan didn’t know it at the time, but his message created a host of questions for his confused family members who couldn’t wait to find out more information.

    “I sent a text message to my family group message, 'Hey, I’m getting called up!’ And I guess I left them in the dark a little bit,” a giggling Donovan said upon getting to the Cardinals clubhouse. “I sat my phone down because I was packing my stuff and I had gotten all of these messages, saying, ‘Wait, what? Explain. We need details.’ I guess I should have called and explained what was going on a little better, but hopefully they understood.” 

    If they didn’t understand Donovan’s delight at the time, they got a firsthand look at it on Monday night when the utility man made his Major League debut while being used as a pinch-runner in the bottom of the eighth of a 0-0 game against the Mets. When Donovan scored on Tyler O’Neill’s single, it looked at the time like it might go down as the winning run, and it sent a jolt of adrenaline coursing throughout the body of the 25-year-old Donovan.

    “I’m surprised it’s still in my chest because it was pumping pretty hard,” said Donovan when asked if his heart was racing upon being sent in to pinch-run in a tie game. “The ovation that I got was pretty cool, and to be able to break the tie right there, that was awesome. I’ll never forget that memory.” 

    Donovan, who took pictures on the field with his family prior to his first start, said he also won’t forget the hugs and congratulations he got from his Memphis teammates upon word spreading of his promotion. Because Donovan can play third, first, second, shortstop, left field and right field, the Cardinals want to use his versatility to give an occasional rest to veterans Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado. He impressed the Cardinals with his gritty style of play in Spring Training, and now he’s getting every opportunity to prove that he can make it at the Major League level.

    "He played quite a bit, got a lot of at-bats and played a lot of different positions in spring, and his mentality was that he always wanted to prove that belonged at the big league level,” Marmol said of Donovan, who was hitting .298 and had hits in 14 of his 16 games at Memphis at the time of his call-up. “It’s always good to watch him play and he’ll be fun to have around.” 

    Moments after arriving at the Cardinals clubhouse earlier this week, Donovan was asked if he had a "wow" moment yet. He turned to his left and pointed at the nameplate above the locker next to his. It read: ALBERT PUJOLS. “I’d have to say this would be it,” he said with a smile.  (John Denton)

  • 2022 Season: The versatile rookie appeared in 126 games and played six positions — all four infield spots, plus left and right field. And he hit .281 with a .394 on-base percentage.

  • 2022 MLB Pipelines All Rookie First Team - 2B: Brendan Donovan, Cardinals

    126 G,
    .281/.394/.379, 5 HR, 1 3B, 21 2B, 45 RBI, 64 R, 2 SB

    Donovan’s ability to rarely chase outside the zone and rarely whiff made him a stalwart in the Cardinals lineup, one who played six different positions but saw the plurality of his starts at the keystone. (Dykstra - MLB.com - Oct 16, 2022)

  • Nov 14, 2022: As expected, Cardinals Gold Glover Brendan Donovan finished a distant third in the race for the NL Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award. Donovan finished third by getting 22 third-place votes in the Baseball Writers’ Association of America balloting, good for 22 points.   However, the fact that Donovan was even a finalist was a victory considering the climb made by the under-the-radar prospect to become a history-making standout for the Cardinals.

    Donovan, the 213th player selected in the 2018 MLB Draft, out of the University of South Alabama, played well for the Cardinals in Spring Training in March but didn't make the Opening Day roster.

    The 25-year-old got his MLB callup on April 25, and he played well enough to stick with the Cardinals. Not only did Donovan make some modern MLB history in his first week by making his first four starts at each of the four infield positions, but he also used his defensive versatility to become the first rookie in the rich history of the Cardinals to win a Gold Glove.

    Humble and usually unwilling to savor much of the singular spotlight shined upon him this season, Donovan said he already has his focus on next season and becoming an even better player for the Cardinals.

    “This first season definitely highlighted some of the things that I want to clean up this offseason,” Donovan said. “I kind of looked at it as a lot of firsts for me and lasts for some of my teammates [retiring stars Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina], and that’s crazy for me to think about.

    “I saw some things this year that will never happen again in the game of baseball. To do this as a rookie, it was an honor and a blessing. I’m truly excited for what the future has to hold.” (J Denton - MLB.com - Nov 14, 2022)

  • Brendan's easy-going personality fits in. He is a good locker room guy.

  • 2023 Season: As a rookie he established himself as an excellent table setter by working the pitch count and getting on base. This season he did a bit more damage by improving his launch angle (6.0 to 10.6) and exit velocity (87.7 to 89.3 mph) at the plate. He was a clutch hitter, batting .310 with a 1.005 OPS with runners in scoring position.

    Before shutting down for arm repairs, Donovan gave the team a consistent left-side hitter who can play anywhere in the infield and outfield
    . (Jeff Gordon - Oct. 4, 2023)

  • Feb 29, 2024: In the months ahead, Cardinals utility ace Brendan Donovan wants to speak up more and become a leadership beacon for those younger than him. He also wants to try to instill the discipline that his Army Colonel father drilled into him and embody the same sort of toughness and grit that his mother has shown for years.

    No, not just in the Cardinals clubhouse. Donovan also wants to do all that in the coming weeks as he and wife, Aly, prepare for the birth of their daughter.

    The Donovans, who got engaged on a Cardinals road trip in May 2022 in Times Square and were married months later in South Florida, have already started planning for the incoming bundle of joy who should be here before the regular season. Brendan, who fired off some choice words at the crib he assembled earlier this week, has already given thought to what kind of girl dad he wants to be. 

    “Being a dad is one of the most important things you can ever do, and I’m a little biased because I have some of the best parents in the world,” said Donovan, 27, who was born in Germany and lived in Tennessee, Virginia and Alabama while his father, James, served in the Army
    .

    “There were things that I learned about how tough and amazing my mom is that I want to pass on
    . Then, the lessons I got from my dad — like the discipline and being respectful from the military side — I got a great wealth of knowledge to pull from with my parents. Of course, I’m going to be loving and fun, but I think there are times when you’ve got to teach your kid respect and discipline. Those things are important, and they helped me.”

  • Donovan’s discipline helped him overcome one of the greatest obstacles he’s ever encountered in his baseball career. A partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow ended his 2023 season prematurely and forced him into an arduous rehab program that butted up against the start of Spring Training. Rather than undergoing Tommy John surgery, in which a ligament is removed from the forearm or hamstring and implanted into the elbow, Donovan endured a "brace procedure," where material resembling a shoestring was used to repair the existing torn UCL.

    After a month in a bulky brace, Donovan launched himself fully into a rehab process where he worked seven days a week to strengthen his elbow
    . One of his landmark moments came in early January when he threw a baseball for the first time post-surgery.

    “Initially there’s that [mental hurdle] because you don’t know what you’ve got, but I told my physical therapist, ‘Hey, I’m going to let this one go,’ and he said, ‘Good, you’re ready,’” recalled Donovan, who went 0-for-3 in the Cardinals 3-1 loss to the Nats. “When I threw it, it actually went where we wanted. There were a lot of little benchmarks along the way.” 

    The next benchmark the Cardinals want Donovan to reach is using his life experiences and disciplined demeanor to be more of a leader
    . After becoming the first rookie in Cardinals history to win a Gold Glove Award. He set career highs in batting average (.284), home runs (11), slugging (.422) and OPS (.787) in 2023. And Donovan is being looked to as a leadership candidate in 2024.

    “It started early in the offseason with him looking in the mirror and saying, ‘What can I do better?’” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “Donovan’s maturity has a lot to do with how he was raised with a military background. There’s a lot of accountability and discipline to how he operates. I think that’s why there’s a correlation to him being older.” (J Denton - MLB.com - Feb 29, 2024)

Batting
  • Donovan is a line-to-line hitter who gets on base, has a patient approach and doesn’t have much swing and miss. He projects to be a plus hitter, with a high contact rate. Brendan has slightly below-average power, a 45 grade.

  • Donovan provides good value as a lefthanded bat.

    "At the end of 2019, I was working on some stuff," Brendan recalled, referencing a conversation with minor leagu3e field coordinator Chris Swauger about overcoming a "vertical bat." Because his swing path didn't cover enough of the strike zone. Donovan wasn't achieving the contact rate he needed to and risked running into a developmental wall.

    Then he started the instructional cam with Cards hitting coach Jeff Albert, hitting coordinator Russ  Steinhorn, and crew.

    The result? "Pretty drastic swing change," Donovan acknowledged. "Changing the bat angle, learning how to load the hip (leading into his swing), and just going from there."

Fielding
  • He brings more than one glove to the dugout every day.

    GOLD GLOVER

  • 2022 Gold Glove winner - Utility player: Brendan Donovan, Cardinals

    Get out your trivia book. Donovan is the first NL player to win a utility Gold Glove Award, doing so in his rookie season. The 25-year-old served as St. Louis’ Swiss Army knife, appearing at every position on the diamond except center field, pitcher, and catcher. He was particularly good at third base whenever he filled in for Nolan Arenado, racking up 8 DRS in only 189 innings at the position.

Career Injury Report
  • June 26-July 5, 2019: In the minors, Donovan was on the 7-day injured list.

  • Aug 1-Nov 3, 2023: Donovan was on the IL with left elbow strain.

    Aug 2, 2023: Donovan had season-ending surgery to repair ligament damage in his right elbow.  Dr. Keith Meister performed an internal brace procedure, which is an alternative to Tommy John surgery. Donovan should be fully healthy for Spring Training in February 2024, Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said.