Chad Donato was the backbone of the WVU baseball pitching staff in the 2016 campaign.
The Mountaineers found success this past year with a solid mix of crafty pitching and powerful, timely hitting. Donato helped lift West Virginia on the mound with a final earned run average of 3.27, which was best on the team.
Donato, a native of Cypress, Texas, had a 3-4 record in 15 starts with one complete game. He struck out 111 batters over a span of 96.1 innings pitched.
He limited opponents to a .235 batting average and only allowed three home runs while issuing just 20 walks.
Donato was so efficient that he was named the national pitcher of the week in early May as the Mountaineers dispatched Baylor in one of his outings. He allowed just two hits in that game against the Bears, in which the Mountaineers won, 10-0.
As nice as it would be to have Donato come back for his senior year in 2017, that may not be possible. Donato is a hot commodity within Major League Baseball circles.
Donato completed the regular season as the only WVU baseball player to earn All-Big 12 First Team honors. He also was honored by the conference following West Virginia’s exit out of the Big 12 Tournament in the title game against TCU.
Donato had just one appearance in the Big 12 Tournament and it was cut short due to an injury. He exited after only 1.1 innings pitched as he awkwardly fielded a pop up off the pitcher’s mound. It would be a shame if this is the last time he will pitch for the Mountaineers.
Since 2013, the Mountaineers have had 13 players selected in the MLB First-Year Player Draft. Last season, two players went to the Washington Nationals and Miami Marlins, respectively. They were pitcher Blake Smith in the 24th round and shortstop Taylor Munden in the 27th round.
Both of those selections were on the second day of draft action.