On Tuesday, June 16th the Cleveland Indians signed undrafted free agent catcher Joe Donovan.
Joe Donovan- Catcher
Baseball America- 307
Notes: The Illinois native was drafted in the 33rd round of the 2017 draft by the Chicago Cubs. Donovan is a defensive-oriented catcher with an above-average arm. Donovan was a draft-eligible junior from the University of Michigan. Perfect Game ranked the former-Wolverines backstop in the back half of the top 300 prospects for the 2020 MLB Draft. In a normal draft year, Donovan would have likely been drafted somewhere in the 8-10 round range.
The right-handed-hitter was off to a slow start to his junior season posting a career-low .196 BA in 15 games while striking out over 24% of the time. Donovan continued to display his raw power with extra-base hits in more than 36% of hits on the year right in line with his career mark just above 40%. While playing in the Cape Cod League in 2018 Donovan posted more walks 14 than strikeouts 12. He hit 9 home runs in 2019 but the highlight of his collegiate career is his appearance with the Wolverines in the College Baseball World Series in 2019.
On the field, Donovan is a talented backstop with the ability to make an impact defensively. In 2020, Donovan threw out 46% (6 of 13) of base stealers and picked off two other baserunners. He appears strong and athletic behind home plate displaying an above-average arm and above-average defensive capabilities. Offensively, his bat lags behind the defense, and he will have to earn his keep with his occasional above-average raw power. Swing and miss will be part of the right-handed hitter’s game but it can be minimized by maintaining a quality number of walks. Overall, the glove is pro-ready, but Donovan’s bat will likely make or break him as a professional.