With a late start to the minor league season – and the success of the Cubs homegrown pitchers at the big league level – our attention hasn’t been as fully directed toward the minor league prospects as it probably should be. But perhaps Brennen Davis can shake us out of that trance with his first home run of the 2021 season.
Brennen Davis’ first home run of the 2021 season. A no-doubter to left field! pic.twitter.com/5nQ00Oa0Cz
— Greg Huss (@OutOfTheVines) May 23, 2021
Davis, 21, was the Cubs second round pick back in 2018, and is currently the Cubs top prospect. In 2019, his first full season as a professional, he slashed .305/.381/.525 as a teenager in A-ball, while playing center field. And he’s got a ton of projection left (above-average in every skill) with a plus-plus potential future power. If he ends up hitting his potential, he will be a huge part of the next Cubs core, perhaps right alongside Nico Hoerner and Adbert Alzolay (but let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves).
For now, he’s playing with the South Bend Cubs (High-A) on a rehab assignment after being hit on the head by a pitch, but he’ll soon head to Double-A, where he was assigned at the start of the year. After that, well, anything can happen. Although it’s not too common, Double-A is just a phone call away from the Majors and we’ve already seen Nico Hoerner burn through the minors and be forced up in a pinch. All things considered (but mostly the Cubs near-term trajectory) I’d bet against an aggressive developmental plan and just hope he reaches Triple-A sometime this season. That would be fantastic, considering his talent and the lost 2020 season.
After that, he could probably be an option for the Cubs sometime next year. Here’s what our prospect guy, Bryan, had to say about Davis when he named him BN’s Top Cubs Prospect.
1. Brennen Davis, OF, 21, Tennessee (Stats). Acquired: 2nd round, 2018.
Skill Set: Gifted natural athlete that picks up instruction far quicker than average player. Body keeps putting on more muscle (seriously, he’s a lot different than even when we saw him in a Summer Camp game at Wrigley in July) while still maintaining plus athleticism. Above-average present power, plus to the opposite field, plus-plus upside in future power. Could project to above-average in every other skill area.
Developmental focus: Selectivity. Davis’ compact swing and ability to hit to right field makes the whole plate dangerous for opposing pitchers. He must force them to throw strikes and not settle for pitcher’s pitches. (Note: this isn’t the same as strike zone judgment, where Davis shows solid ability for his age). Cubs wanted him to see Major League caliber breaking balls for a summer, and cite the improvement he showed against them from July to September. Nuanced abilities in outfield remain largely an unknown for me, despite optimism about how his raw skills project.
Big League Projection: I can’t think of Davis now without thinking of what Iowa Cubs manager Marty Pevey said during their time together at the Alternate Training Site: “I have never seen power like this kid’s going to have. I’m not talking about pull power. I’m talking about just raw, leverage power – like Dale Murphy driving the ball to right-center early in his career.” I swoon.