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Breaking down Cardinals first round pick Chase Davis

Can Davis be the next Cardinals offensive draft success?

COLLEGE BASEBALL: MAY 26 Pac-12 Baseball Tournament Photo by Zac BonDurant/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Over the last five years the St. Louis Cardinals have had a lot of success drafting hitters with the likes of Jordan Walker, Masyn Winn, Nolan Gorman, Alec Burleson and Brendan Donovan amongst others. Even more impressive than their list of hits is the fact that the list of bust hitters drafted over that same time frame is almost non-existent. That level of success when it comes to taking offensive players should instantly give St. Louis fans hoped when it comes to this year’s 2023 first round selection in Arizona University outfielder Chase Davis with the Cardinals took 21st overall pick. Down below we are going to break down the former Wildcats history, swing and future projection.

His past performance

Davis is fresh off a junior season at Arizona where he had a 1.231 OPS, hit 21 homers and walked 43 times compared to 40 strikeouts. On the surface that is a pretty impressive season, but also one that is common to college players who are drafted. That’s not to discredit Davis though as he is a player who does carry a high offensive ceiling.

What is concerning though with Davis is his performance over the past two years in summer ball leagues. In 2021 in the Northwoods League he played 33 games and had a triple slash line of .207/.359/.405 with four home runs. In 2022 in the famed Cape Cod league he was considerably worse across 22 games with an OPS of .661 and zero home runs. Performances in summer leagues like these two are often weighed far heavier when evaluating a player compared to their college statistics because of the level of competition and the fact they used wooden bats in those leagues unlike in college where they use aluminum bats.

His swing

Davis has a swing that is going to produce a lot of power because of his big leg kick, load on his back side and how quick his hands are through the zone. However, with a swing that has as many moving parts as bud he is going to be susceptible to prolonged slumps because of just how many things can go wrong mechanically. My biggest concern with this swing though is just how open it is though. When a batter is this open they usually have to start things a bit earlier which reduces the amount of time they have to recognize the pitch. This inturn can lead to higher whiff and chase rates. However, the one good thing with his swing though is there is not a whole lot of movement in his hands during the swing. They stay in one plane of motion going straight back and then forward which will help him keep up with higher velocity numbers and counter some of the front side movement in his swing.

His other tools

Despite being a slugger at the dish, as things currently stand, Davis is a solid athlete who has the potential to stick in centerfield even as he further physically matures. His bat of course profiles more for right field, but if the Cardinals are able to keep him in center they will at the drop of a hat. He does have the arm strength necessary to move to right field if he isn’t able to stick in center field. From a speed standpoint he is about average and can drop to slightly below average if he continues to add muscle.

Overall thoughts?

Davis’ offensive profile does give him a bit of a lower ceiling than a lot of first round prospects due to strikeout concerns, reliance on power as of now and his struggles in wooden bat leagues. However he is a high upside pick which I think teams should take in the first round every single year. If Davis reaches his ceiling he can be a middle of the order left handed bat who hits 25 or more home runs and drives in 100 plus runs. However, if he doesn’t temper the swing and miss concerns he doesn’t have the secondary tools necessary to propel him to the bigs.