Cubs' Davis shows power bat in Triple-A debut

September 15th, 2021

quickly proved this year that he was ready for more than the High-A level. After three-and-a-half months in Double-A, he demonstrated that he could handle more than that level too.

In his first game at Triple-A, Davis showed some early aptitude for the Minors’ highest stage.

Baseball’s No. 14 overall prospect homered in his first two Triple-A at-bats, mashing a home run to left field in the second inning and following with a two-run blast to left in the third, helping build Iowa’s early lead at Omaha in his first game since being promoted to Triple-A East. Davis finished his night 2-for-5 as Iowa cruised to an 8-1 victory

“I was excited to be able to come here and learn from the guys here because everybody here has a lot of experience and has done some really good things," Davis said after the win. "It’s awesome to get your first hit out of the way because it’s always daunting no matter where you’re at, but yeah, it felt good.”

Davis led off the top of the second out of the six-hole in the I-Cubs’ order and connected on the fourth offering he saw from Omaha starter Ronald Bolaños to break an early 1-1 tie.

Iowa plated four runs in the second, enabling Davis to bat again one inning later. The top Cubs prospect came through again. On Bolaños’ second pitch of the at-bat, Davis blasted his second shot to left, extending Iowa’s lead to 7-1 at the time.

“I kind of dug myself a little hole," Davis said. "I was 0-2, and I fought off a curveball. Then he gave me a curveball to hit, and I didn’t miss that one. My second at-bat, I was a little antsy because the nerves hadn’t fully settled down. I took a bad swing, and then he gave me a heater to hit, and I didn’t miss that one either.”

Davis likely would've headed to High-A to start the 2020 Minor League season had it not been canceled. Instead, he got valuable experience against advanced arms at the Cubs' alternate training site and continued that work in big league Spring Training this year.

“Most guys, you learn to hit before you hit for power," Iowa manager Marty Pevey said. "With him, I think Spring Training, being in big league camp, facing big league pitching, was huge for him. He’s a really fine young man. His parents did a great job with him. To see where he’s at right now, I just want to see him continue to be aggressive at the plate, get good pitches to hit and stay locked in on defense, of course.”

The alternate training site especially provided Davis an opportunity to learn and adjust to how advanced pitchers attacked him.

“He learned he had to shorten up because barring that front arm out was not going to be successful," Pevey said. "They were just pounding him inside, and so he found that he had to shorten his swing a little bit. He’s got such good leverage and balance at the plate and has the ability to drive the ball the other way which is huge becoming a Major League hitter. You have to be able to use the whole field.”

Davis agreed.

“I think that was crucial," he said. "I think the [alternate site] was the best thing for my development thus far, and it really put me in a position to be successful this year. I was able to learn a lot. We had a lot of really good arms there, guys who are in the big leagues now that were at the alt site. I thought that was really awesome. I was able to kind of break things down from a strictly developmental aspect and not really have to worry about the numbers or the stats.”

Davis homered just twice in all of August with Double-A Tennessee, but his pair of blasts on Tuesday night were his third and fourth already in September. The showing marked Davis’ first multihomer game since July 21 with Tennessee. The slugger also belted a pair of dingers in the Futures Game at Coors Field in Denver, where he garnered Most Valuable Player honors.

The Cubs selected Davis with the 62nd overall pick out of an Arizona high school in 2018. The 21-year-old outfielder started the 2021 season in High-A but needed only eight games there to punch his ticket up a level. Davis batted .321/.406/.607 with South Bend before getting the bump to Tennessee. After joining the Smokies at the beginning of June, Davis batted .252/.367/.474 with 13 homers and 36 RBIs in 76 Double-A games. Now, he's just one step from the big leagues with one more level to conquer.

“I’m definitely looking at this as a learning experience," he said of his Triple-A assignment. "It’s nice to get my feet wet and really be able to take what I learn here into the offseason and know that this is the last step in the Minor Leagues. If I can accomplish this, I’ll be ready for the big leagues. When my name is called, I’ll be ready to succeed.”