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Written by Mark Firkins Photo by Getty Images
Michael Donadio was selected by the Marlins in the 30th round in 2017. He played in the Gulf Coast League in 2017 and made his debut in the New York Penn League with the Batavia Muckdogs on June 15, 2018.
He has appeared in 31 of the 38 games played so far this season. He currently features a .288 AVG, 8 doubles, 4 HR, and 20 RBI. He has a quick hard swing. Makes solid contact that makes the ball jump off the bat and find its way to outfield quickly.
A natural Left Fielder, but he can also play Center and Right Field when called upon. Through 336 defensive innings played between the GCL and Batavia, Michael has a perfect 1.000 FPCT.
We sat down in Dwyer Stadium recently and talked about Long Island, life in the minors, and of course baseball.
MF: You’re a NY born and raised player from Long Island. You played your college ball at St. John’s in Queens. You’re now playing on the opposite side of the state in Western NY. Have you had to make any adjustments to life in a small town and a with a small community minor league team like Batavia?
MD: The game is no different. I have the same mentality playing here as I have no matter where else I’ve ever played. Play hard, work hard and give 100% every day. Long Island has their small towns too and where I’m from isn’t that much different.
MF: The NY PENN League has teams in Staten Island, Hudson Valley, Brooklyn, and Connecticut. Unfortunately Batavia has few games scheduled in those parks this season. It would have been nice from your family’s perspective to have caught you in action there. Have they made the trip down the Thruway to visit you here?
MD: Yeah, those locations would’ve been within an hour or so from home. It’s about a six, seven hour drive for them to visit me here, depending on the traffic on the Island, New York City/New Jersey, but they came up to see my debut a month ago and hopefully they’ll get back again before season’s end.
MF: You’re from Long Island, went to college in Queens, so, I have to ask, growing up were you a Yankees or Mets fan?
MD: I was more of a Mets fans. My dad is from Queens and that’s where the Mets are. My mom’s side of the family are all Yankees fans, so we’re split in half on our NY teams.
MF: Everyone gets along during the holidays when the subject of baseball comes up?
MD: Oh yeah, there’s the good natured teasing, but everyone loves their NY teams.
MF: What have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a new minor league player?
MD: The every day grind. You practice for a few hours each day, a game each night, then you have the bus rides home or to the next city.
MF: Have the Marlins brought in any ex MLB players or roving instructor coaches to teach and give you any extra guidance as a young player?
MD: Our coach Mike Jacobs has a lot of MLB experience and is one of the most positive influences on all of us. His message is pretty clear. Believe in yourself and play the game the way you did that got you here. Don’t change anything about your game now because you’re in a pro league.
MF: There are so many diverse pitching styles and with young pitchers on a smaller pitch count early in the season, there’s frequent pitching changes. What adjustments do you make or what do you go up there looking for facing a new pitcher every few innings?
MD: I don’t make too many adjustments. No matter who’s pitching I go up there looking for the fastball over the plate.
MF: You’ve been very consistent at the plate and I’ve seen you hit the gaps and with a little power this season. What brand of bat do you like?
MD: Tucci Lumber. Some of my past coaches in summer ball introduced me to that brand. I’ve had good luck and success with them, no need to look at any other type.
MF: You’ve played all three OF spots this season. Do you favor one and why?
MD: I played all 4 years in college in LF and most of my games here have also been there as well. I can play all three, but I’m most comfortable with the view, throw and angle of left.
MF: It’s tough on the minor league road. The bus rides, travel schedule, long days at the field. In your limited free time what do you enjoy doing?
MD: I love fishing. I haven’t had much time around here to do any, but when I’m home I go to the Long Island Sound and fish for Blue Fish, Bass, anything to relax and catch some fish.
MF: Some fun and quick questions for you, ready?
MF: Favorite sport other than baseball?
MD: Football, the NY Giants
MF: MLB park you’d LOVE to play in some day?
MD: Ooh, I should say something else but I’m going to say Fenway Park, it’s about as legendary as it gets.
MF: Day games or night games?
MD: It’s cooler at night, both temperature and under the lights
MF: Spring baseball or Fall baseball?
MF: Favorite ballpark treat?
MD: Cracker Jack
MF: Favorite song you’ve heard play in the stadium?
MD: It’s cool they play Sweet Caroline here in the 8th
MF: Do you have any baseball superstitions?
MF: A debate I’m stirring up between pitchers and hitters, why is it called the foul pole?
MD: That’s good, I don’t know, it’s in play, it should be the fair pole, but that doesn’t sound right. Why, what do pitchers say?
Michael Donadio is proving that no matter where you’re picked in the draft, first, last or somewhere in between, if you work hard, practice hard, listen to and learn from your coaches, the game will find a place for you. Michael’s aggressive approach at the plate and impressive defensive play should find him climbing the organizational ladder and stay in the starting lineup for many seasons to come.