Top Cubs prospect getting a taste of big-league camp
|Thursday, February 25, 2021, 9:51 AM- -|
Being a top prospect in baseball can be a great thing. Everyone notices you; you are considered a cornerstone for your organization's future, and often you are considered off-limits from trade talks. However, being a top prospect also comes with some challenges as the pressure to succeed is at an all-time high.
That isn't the case for OF prospect Brennan Davis as he continues to turn heads in the Cubs system.
Davis is ranked as the Cubs No. 1 or N0.2 overall prospect depending on what publication you look in. He is also a top 100 prospect in baseball, so the hype is real with him. Taking in the 2018 MLB draft out of high school, teams raved about his overall athletic ability but never knew what his ceiling would be as a pro. Given what the organization and all of baseball, for that matter, has seen from him in his two professional seasons, the sky is the limit. He is only getting better.
After hitting .298 in 18 games in rookie ball, Davis entered the 2019 season with the South Bend Cubs and was looked at being an everyday left fielder. That never happened as a pair of wrist injuries limited him to just 50 games, but it was what he did in those 50 games that turned heads. Not only did Davis hit .305, but he finished second on the team with eight homers and drove in 30. Had he played a full season, you're looking at someone who probably hits 25 plus homers and approaches 100 RBIs.
What also stands out when watching Davis play is his patience at the plate and overall bat speed. So far in his career, he has walked 30 times in 68 games and has struck out just 52 times. His bat speed is also elite to the point that he has drawn some Gary Sheffield comparisons with his swing.
2020 was supposed to be a big year for Davis as the Cubs would finally see what he could all do when healthy. That never happened as the 2020 minor league season was ultimately canceled, leading to a year of lost development.
However, all was not lost for Davis, as he was one of the few Single-A players invited to Minor League Camp at South Bend. Once there, he began to turn heads, especially with Iowa Cubs Manager Marty Peavey, who oversaw the alternate site. Peavey has said countless times that he has never heard a ball sound so loud coming off a bat. He was referring to the sound the ball makes after Davis makes contact. It is a powerful sound that stands out, and you can see the potential in this kid.
His summer camp performance gave him an invite to the instructional league in Arizona during the fall months of the season. As expected, Davis put on a show in Mesa, using the entire field to demonstrate his raw power and showing how athletic and skilled he really is. Given what the team saw from him in the camps last year, 2021 was a year many expect to breakout, and the Cubs may feel that breakout could come in spring training instead of the minors.
Davis may not be listed as a non-roster invitee now, but he is indeed in major league camp at that moment. That is significant as he gets a chance to experience major league life with major league players at such a young age. Davis may not play a ton, if at all, this spring, but the fact that he is in camp now says a lot about how the Cubs feel about him.
Brailyn Marquez is still going to steal the headlines, and rightfully so when you look at his fastball and the fact that he debuted in the final game of 2020. Marquez may reach the Majors at some point this season, but if I were to bet money on the best Prospect in the system, Davis is my guy.
Marquez may be the best right now, but Davis has the most potential of anyone in the system. The mix of strength, bat speed, power, athletic ability, and patience at the plate makes me believe he's a 5-tool player with 30-30 potential every year. I do think he is a few years away from the league at this point, but don't be surprised to see him start in AA or even reach AAA at some point this season.
The experience he is taking in at Major League camp right now is something that he will never forget and is something you can't teach. We don't know how long the Cubs plan to leave him there, but fans should be excited to see him in Mesa right now. Who knows, maybe he will get some at-bats along the way to show fans what they missed last year. If he has a great spring and a strong MILB season, maybe 2022 is when he establishes himself as the next great Cubs hitter.