Brennen Davis's Potential Impact on the 2022 Big League Team and Other Cubs Bullets

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Brennen Davis’s Potential Impact on the 2022 Big League Team and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Is it pathetic to get an overwhelming sense of joy from seeing Aaron Rodgers and the Packers lose in the divisional round? On a Robbie Gould kick, no less? Yes. The level of joy is pathetic. No question. But, hey, joy is joy. And no one can take it from me!!!

•   “Hey, Brennen. Yeeeeeaaah, I’m gonna need you to go ahead aaannd be awesome. Thanks”:

•   Also, Brennen Davis is JACCCKKKKKED. That’s what it looks like when a guy who has a projectable frame as a high schooler actually puts in the work on the fitness and nutritional side to fulfill that projection. I’m not saying Davis was a total stick out of high school, but he was awfully svelte (I chose that featured image up there from his second season at South Bend for a reason – that was AFTER he’d already started bulk up!). And now he looks like he could spin Jed Hoyer over his head like a plate on one hand, while hitting one-handed bombs with the other.

•   Also also, I probably don’t mention Davis’s potential impact on the 2022 Cubs enough. By that, I *do not mean* I expect he will for sure be up by May, and he will for sure be an impact/All-Star-level player immediately. And for that reason – the concern that I’ll be interpreted that way – I suppose that’s why I’ve been cautious to mention Davis at all in relation to the performance of the big league Cubs (instead focusing on Davis’ development and long-term impact). That’s a bit silly, though, because he’s a tip-top prospect who reached Triple-A last year. He’s young (22) and has relatively limited pro experience so far because of injuries and the pandemic, but he certainly has the potential to be an impact player for a half of a season or more this year. Even if I’m not expecting it or requiring it of him, I shouldn’t ignore it either. So, then, to that end, there’s a chance Davis comes up in May or June, and is playing a 4-WAR-ish pace (it does happen sometimes!). That, in turn, means there’s a chance he, alone, helps the Cubs win an extra game or two in the first half of the season, potentially altering the midseason plan (especially if there has been playoff expansion, and especially if you believe you can continue to project out that performance into the second half).

•   Lotta “chance” and “potentially” and ifs and buts in there. It bears mentioning, though, when we talk about the Cubs only trying to give themselves shot in the first half in 2022. Davis could be a factor in that, and obviously I’d love to see it. If he took over full-time in center field, you might suddenly feel a lot better about an outfield group that otherwise has some imperfections throughout.

•   Back to being appropriately cautious: Steamer projects Davis to be a .243/.315/.429 hitter in his big league debut if it comes this season (99 wRC+), and ZiPS has him at just .224/.307/.407 (88 OPS+). So Davis coming up and being a plus hitter immediately would be a pleasant surprise from the projections standpoint. Thus, we circle back to keep the expectations (for big league impact) in check, and instead focus mostly on what we want to see from Davis this year from a developmental perspective: good work at Iowa in the first few months, and then a cup of coffee that sees him either succeed outright, or – just as valuably – experience how the league will approach him, so that he can work on the necessary adjustments in advance of a full-time role in 2023.

•   NL Central chatter:

•   AtCubs doesn’t get a lot of opportunities for fun content at the moment, but when they do, they don’t miss:

•   On a much less joyful other-Chicago-team note, Grayson Allen needs to be suspended for months after what he did to Alex Caruso, who’s now out for a long time.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.