Cardinals call up prospect Brendan Donovan.
Everyone outside of St. Louis: “Who?”
Now in Ben Cherington’s third season as General Manager, I feel we’re still left wondering what the plan is for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Tampa Bay Rays are a team that involves a lot of moving parts. Often wheeling and dealing everything from star players to role players.
The Brewers went for the quick turnaround that paid early dividends, but seems to be simmering while they’ve managed to develop one of the more devastating pitching staffs.
The Reds tried a for a similar trade-and-pay build as the Brewers, but it died quickly.
The Cardinals on the other hand, utilize voodoo. Brendan Donovan was a 2018 seventh round draft pick out of South Alabama. If bells are ringing, that’s because Travis Swaggerty was the Pirates 2018 first round pick out of, you guessed it, South Alabama. Tyler Samaniego would’ve been a freshman on the same 2018 squad, but he didn’t join USA till the 2020 season, having spent the previous two seasons in JUCO.
Brendan Donovan isn’t a flashy prospect, and likely playing above his ceiling currently, but he’s been effective while playing six different positions, seven if you count DH. If you go through the Cardinals post-Pujols fWAR leaders by season, you’ll find their leaderboards were often ever changing. There were the usual suspects we came to despise in Yadi Molina, Adam Wainwright, and Matt Carpenter. But there are lot of players that would put up a couple strong seasons, maybe an exceptional one, and move on.
After reading the Diego Castillo Roundtable piece, and specifically John mentioning that Castillo has essentially lived up to his scouting report, I started asking myself, “Is this what they’re TRYING to do? Find their trusted bench and role players?”
Often rhetoric surrounds finding or developing a star or core, then building around that star or core. It’d be fair to say this mimics Huntington’s “play for 500 and a Wild Card” blueprint, but previously the presumed floor was built with Gerrit Cole, Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte, and Josh Harrison. When they struggled, well, the whole bottom fell out.
Cherington and Co. have been cycling through waiver claims. Often finding any warm body they can, and placing that warm body at the position pulled out from a hat. Then last year’s trade deadline seemed to seek upper level disciplined, bat-to-ball, type prospects that can be moved around. Has this been the plan the past couple drafts? Making the “safe” and “unsexy” college bat pick?
PIRATES @ RAYS
Time: 1:10 PM EST
Pirates Starter: JT Brubaker (1-7, 4.11)
Rays Starter: Corey Kluber (3-4, 3.46)
Brubaker Notes: JT is coming off the heels of notching his first W of the season against the Cubs. To date, JT has been putting together his best season as a Bucco. Brubaker’s biggest x-factor this season is likely to be how he fares later in the season, as he appeared to tail off towards the end of 2021. His arsenal has mostly consisted of a Slider (33.6% Per Baseball Savant) and, tell me if you’ve heard this before, a Sinker that he’s using at a career high rate (37.9%).
1. Taylor Walls (S) SS
2. Josh Lowe (L) RF
3. Randy Arozarena (R) LF
4. Ji-Man Choi (L) 1B
5. Vidal Brujan (S) 2B
6. Luke Raley (L) DH
7. Isaac Paredes (R) 3B
8. Francisco Mejia (S) C
9. Brett Phillips (L) CF