Cubs Prospect Focus: Brennen Davis

Cubs Prospect Focus: Brennen Davis

by - Senior Writer -

There is a ton of pressure on the Cubs to win this season, especially when you look at the moves they made this off-season. However, no one has more pressure arguably than the organization's No. 2 prospect in OF Brennen Davis.

The 2018 second-round pick and now top-100 prospect has all the talent in the world, but his entire minor league career has been plagued with injuries. That has been his ultimate downfall thus far, as he has played exceptionally well when healthy. The 6-4, 210-pound Davis has all the tools to be a very good major leaguer, but if he can't stay healthy, he could be just another one of those prospects that don't pan out.

So far, Davis has played more than 90 games just once in his career, but this is an ongoing issue going back to high school. Davis missed a large chunk of his senior year in high school due to a hamstring injury, but the rash of injuries has followed him to professional ball.

A two-way star in high school, Davis committed to playing baseball during his senior season, which made him a highly coveted player during the 2018 MLB draft. When he fell to the second round and was available when the Cubs picked, Chicago was thrilled to have him and signed him to a 1.1 million dollar deal. However, with just 167 games of minor league experience through four seasons, there are still a lot of unknowns about Davis because we have yet to see him healthy long enough.

Immediately upon being drafted, the Cubs sent him to the ACL, where he made an immediate impact for the ACL Cubs. Granted, he only played 18 games that summer, but Davis still showed plenty of potential, hitting .298 with no homers and three RBIs. He did display excellent plate discipline with 10 walks and 12 strikeouts.

Davis landed in High-A South Bend the following season, where he put on a show. Not only did he hit a career-high .305 that season, but his eight homers ranked near the top of the team while also driving in 30 RBIs. His 18BB/38K ratio was also excellent, but again this was only in 50 games, as a series of wrist injuries limited his time on the field.

Although he had just 68 games of experience through two seasons, the Cubs were still extremely high on Davis entering the 2020 season until COVID shut everything down. That gave him an entire year to shore some things up, and he came into 2021 a different-looking player.

Not only did he reach AAA that season, but this was the only time he played better than 90 games, as he finished with 99 games that season. While his average dropped to .260, his power potential started to show as he connected for 19 homers and 53 RBIs.

Those are the numbers the Cubs were waiting for as he came into 2022 with even more upside than ever before. Instead, Davis went on to have his worst season as a pro. Not only did he play in just 53 games, but he hit just a .180 with five homers and 17 RBIs. He ultimately would miss the end of the season with a back injury that required surgery and then re-aggravated it during the Arizona Fall League.

Now moving on to 2023, Davis appears as healthy as ever and is ready to prove he is a big-league piece on this roster. Even though the injuries have started to pile up, Davis still has some of the best all-around tools in the system and has shown that when he has played. His bat speed, mixed with his size, helps him generate plenty of raw power, and he has lived off of fly balls more than anything.

Davis was once a guy that was considered a 20-20 or even 30-30 guy due to his speed, but as he has moved through the system, he has lost a step and is now close to an average runner. One of the big things you notice about Davis is how much his swing has changed in recent seasons.

Once he tightened up his swing, the power increased, and he started to use all fields equally. His 28% strikeout rate has increased slightly, but is still right around league average, while his ability to work counts has helped him reach above-average walk rates.

He does work counts and focuses on making hard contact rather than selling out for power, so he still could become a solid hitter if he can close some holes with more experience. He still should be a quality regular even if his bat doesn't catch back up to his other tools because he's a solid defender with arm strength to match at all three outfield spots.

Davis has as much pressure as anyone this season to prove he can stay healthy and show he deserves to be a 26-man roster player. He will be given a chance all spring to play games and earn a spot as one of the final roster players on this team.

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