Detroit Tigers may have bumped Chase Davis up the draft board.
While the Detroit Tigers could get bold this summer in their draft process, I'm not sure that Chase Davis will be the pick considering what other names will be available at no.3. But he's certainly someone who made himself some money this spring with his performance for the Arizona Wildcats.
The outfielder moved himself up the draft boards and could very well be able to sneak into that mid-range part of the first round. So he may not be someone the Tigers are even able to get close to picking since he will not go at third overall; let's talk through what makes Chase Davis so intriguing.
He's one of the players on the collegiate side of things that has made some noise this Spring, letting the tools do the talking, helping him move up the draft board, and likely making some money with his signing bonus.
Davis is a junior from the University of Arizona baseball program. Summed up, he's a left-handed bat with juice and future power upside as a middle-of-the-order bat and corner outfield upside. But let's expand on that. Davis is a 6-foot-1, 216-pound outfielder who can play center, but to me, he profiles as a corner guy in the long term.
He's got strength in the frame and some athleticism in the batter's box. He's a left-handed hitter with a smooth stroke and some power upside in the long run. He parlayed this all into a good performance, playing in 57 games for the Wildcats, where he slashed .362/.489/.742 with 17 doubles, two triples, and 21 home runs while driving in 74 runs.
Davis also managed 43 walks and 40 strikeouts over his 278 plate appearances on the season. He's got good strength through contact with some lift that has good balance to it. He has a solid top-to-bottom profile with good defensive upside as well.
Perhaps the big thing that people will talk about is the comparison of Davis to Carlos Gonzalez. The swing profiles similar and certainly looks the part side-by-side, take a look for yourself...
Davis starts open with his hands high and coils up with his load. He uses a leg lift, getting the foot down before violently rotating through contact to drive the ball well. It can be an explosive turn through contact, using the plus-bat speed and feel for the barrel to produce some thunderous results. Here's a more open-side angle of Davis's swing from 2022.
One of the things that stands out about Davis is his ability to be short to it and long thru it. He's short to the zone with a quick barrel and then has length thru the zone with the long finish. Davis's hit & power tools have carried him this spring, and cutting back on the strikeouts has only made it an even more attractive profile.
The thing that sticks out is the whiff rate. While he has certainly cleaned up the strikeouts a bit and been able to be more passive at times, Davis has shown some serious whiff issues. Though he has cut back on the swing-and-miss at the collegiate level, it could resurface down the line. The swing-and-miss is likely to always be a part of the game; it will be a matter of controlling it and keeping the punchout numbers down.
The other thing is the defense. He's a centerfielder at the collegiate level and has a good first step with some polish on the outfield grass, but I think he projects as a corner guy long-term. While it's not the biggest knock, it's worth noting if you wanted Davis as a centerfielder. But if Detroit took him for some reason, a move to the corner would be fine, knowing Riley Greene will be patrolling center.
Fit with the Detroit Tigers
It's one of those situations where it would be hard to justify taking him at no.3 with some of the other names who will likely be on the board. But if the Detroit Tigers indeed went off-script and shocked everyone to take Davis, he would likely fit in as a future corner outfielder for the organization.
Rolling with the projection and assuming he's a future power-hitting left-fielder with juice, that's a middle-of-the-order power threat to help provide help to your no. 3 and 4 hitters. Again, this is being optimistic that Davis jumps into an organization and finds his footing, finds and pans out, which implies that he rises the ranks smoothly, which does not always happen.
But if the Tigers did end up with Davis. Best-case scenario, they will be adding a solid prospect for the future, bringing some real pop upside.