Prospect Report: Brennen Davis

Remade swing after being drafted and was expected to be long-term project. Gained valuable experience at alternate site. Looks to start in AA and become an upper-echelon prospect in baseball in 2021.

Brennen Davis via Clinton Cole (@cdcole55)

How acquired: MLB Draft 2nd round #62 overall, 2018

The progress Brennen Davis has made in transforming himself from raw multi-sport athlete to potential force to be reckoned with in a little over two years is astounding. Drafted in the second round, he was naturally compared with fellow high school outfielder, Alek Thomas, who was selected one spot later by the Diamondbacks. Thomas represented a relatively safe high school outfield selection with a promising hit tool, whereas Davis was raw and a “project”. By all accounts the Diamondbacks are happy with their selection, but the Cubs have to be overjoyed with theirs. Davis experienced a meteoric rise with a debut season (.907 OPS) in South Bend in 2019. The only obstacle Brennen faced in South Bend was hurting his hand while bunting multiple times. (#NeverBunt). In 2020, Cubs officials felt confident Brennen Davis could hold his own against much older and experienced competition at the Alternate Site in South Bend. According to reports, Davis embraced the challenges and succeeded at the Site. Brennen is on a timeline to start 2021 in AA.

Hit

It is almost impossible to accurately describe the extent of the changes Davis has made within the Cubs organization. Bryan Smith of Bleacher Nation provides some visual context of the progress Brennen had made as of 2019. The swing looks even better in 2021. Brennen is much smoother and his upper and lower halves are more in sync. Mike Kurland from Bases Loaded Fantasy Baseball Podcast (and contributor to Prospects Live) added further analysis, noting a quick compact swing geared to higher contact rates. Seeing the progress Davis has made in-game against AA pitchers will inform his hit tool projection. He has the potential to be a plus hitter.

Power

Most of Brennen Davis’s 2019 power in-game was to his pull side, but it’s hard not to dream of a player who could drive the ball out to all fields. Both Davis’s swing improvements and projection to add muscle portend a player capable of tapping into a significant strength without sacrificing contact. It’s above-average power now, and it should be plus soon.

Field/Arm

Davis looks really solid in the field. He played an even mix of CF and LF/RF in 2019. He has solid range in center and above-average in the corners. It’s entirely possible Davis outgrows CF in the future, but that’s not in the near term. If he does, Brennen should provide above-average defense in RF.

I was only able to view a handful of throws, but it’s a strong arm. From the throws I could track, it looks like it’s above-average. This was in 2019 and there have been good reports since that he has a plus arm. I can definitely believe it. Just another data point to watch for in 2021.

Speed

It’s plus speed. Brennen glides around the bases. It’s very clear from his long strides that Davis was at home on a basketball court.

Future Projection

Brennen Davis is the truth. I understand an argument for either Miguel Amaya and Brailyn Marquez to reside at the top of Cubs prospect rankings, but Davis is a slam dunk for me. Davis is a future all-star patrolling the outfield. He fits an approximate timeline with a wave of prospects, including Amaya, Strumpf, Marquez, Weber, Morel, and possibly Franklin and Jensen. Brennen is the most impactful Cubs position prospect since Eloy Jiménez. While Davis may never peak as high as Eloy did in overall prospect rankings, the potential is there for an impressive bat in the middle of the Cubs lineup for years to come. Brennen Davis is no longer the raw prospect from the 2018 draft. Fans should have the opportunity to see him impact the major league club very soon.

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