There seem to be two reactions to the Chase Davis pick. Excitement, because he’s a genuinely exciting, promising player. And the cries of “how is this is not a pitcher?” because of the MLB problems with the pitching staff, and the 2024 problem of fixing the staff.
Here’s the thing: the 21st pick is not solving either of those problems. He’s not solving the 2025 pitching either. So it’s a weird complaint, or just a misunderstanding of how the draft works. This isn’t the NFL Draft, where you can insert the player into your rotation immediately. The player won’t make an MLB impact until which time that your need might not be a need when he graduates to the majors.
On the merits of the best player available, Chase Davis appears to qualify. Now, whether he was actually the best player available is unknowable, but the upside and safeness strongly suggest he was the best player available. He’s fairly likely to make an MLB impact for a draft pick, especially at 21, and he has genuine upside. What’s not to love about that for a first round pick?
Don’t take my word for it though. That would be dumb. Let’s see what people who do this for a living think.
Davis is one of the most improved players among the college prospects in this class, cutting his strikeout rate from 22.8 percent as a sophomore to 14.4 percent this year as a junior for the Wildcast, while hitting for more power. A good chunk of the improvement came from closing up the whole he’d shown on the inner-third as an underclassman; he still does most of his damage on stuff middle-away, but he doesn’t whiff as much on stuff inside, and if there’s any weakness here, it’s on velocity up. His game power is at least a 60, and he’s a 55 runner who plays center now and should at least begin his pro career out there, with the downside of an above-average defender in right if he can’t stay up the middle. I think he’s at least a regular and has more upside than some of the safer college bats who’ll go before him.
Chase Davis is fucking win, anyway that you slice it— Kyle Reis, 58% Neanderthal (@kyler416) July 10, 2023
Chase Davis is the most fun human to enter the Cardinals’ system since Randy Arozarena, so congrats to the Rays in a couple of years!!— Kyle Reis, 58% Neanderthal (@kyler416) July 10, 2023
“Frankly, Davis is a special talent and a now refined skillset to back it. The tangible improvements Davis made year-to-year should be viewed in their own light as evidence he can adapt and make adjustments as necessary, a capability that can make or break careers. Davis won’t hang on the board very long and it would not shock me if he turned into a top-10 underslot selection.”
Our very own Blake Newberry wanted him and may I note he said this eight hours ago, so this was said without literally anyone picked yet.
The most encouraging things is his massive improvement year-to-year and the fact that he may be able to stick in CF. Both give him enormous upside, more than a college bat would typically bring at the 21st pick.