LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Braxton Davidson came to his first big league camp intent on making a good impression on those members of the Braves organization who recognize the fact that he is one of the only legit power-hitting prospects in their farm system. Along the way, the young
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Braxton Davidson came to his first big league camp intent on making a good impression on those members of the Braves organization who recognize the fact that he is one of the only legit power-hitting prospects in their farm system. Along the way, the young outfielder wants to soak in the unique opportunity he has been given just two years removed from high school.
"You've got Hank Aaron in here, and he's on the Mount Rushmore of baseball," Davidson said. "That's a pretty special memory. Then you've got Bobby Cox, Andruw Jones, Javy Lopez and Terry Pendleton walking in and out of the clubhouse. It's pretty cool to experience and witness, especially being a 19-year-old and just two years out of high school. That's pretty cool."
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Since being selected in the first round (32nd overall) of the 2014 MLB Draft, Davidson has stood as one of the most recognizable figures within Atlanta's now fruitful farm system. MLBPipeline.com ranks him as the 13th-best Braves prospect, but he is preceded on this list by just four other position players -- third baseman Rio Ruiz and shortstops Dansby Swanson and Ozzie Albies.
Though Davidson is likely at least two years away from being Major League-ready, the Braves have provided him the opportunity to spend a couple of weeks getting acquainted with the big league scene. The teenager mentally and physically prepared for this chance as he spent the offseason working out with longtime family friend Cameron Maybin, a fellow Asheville, N.C., native who played for the Braves last year.
"[Maybin] told me, you're not going to be in the big leagues this year, so why press?" Davidson said. "He said, 'Just go up there, have fun, play your game, learn, be a sponge and absorb everything.' Really, all I want is to form trust and [gain] respect from these guys, because one day I want to be teammates with these guys."
After going homerless over the first 50 professional games he played in 2014, Davidson began to display his power potential as he slashed .242/.381/.374 and totaled 10 homers in 124 games with Class A Rome last year. The young left fielder already has his sights on the right-field fence that he will see when he begins the season with Class A Advanced Carolina.
"As long as I continue to put up double-digit [home run totals], that is fine with me, because I can play defense. I've got a strong arm and range," Davidson said. "I'm going to be more aggressive at the plate to cut down on the walks and strikeouts. That's part of the game. I'm just going to work to improve that, hoping my [batting] average goes up and my homer total goes up. I'm just excited to get the season started, so that I can show these guys what I can do."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com.