With the draft rules that limit spending without incurring significant penalties, there are often players who fall down draft boards for the sole reason that teams are worried they can’t get them signed. However, these players still have tremendous upside, and they can be a steal if the team somehow gets them signed. That’s the kind of player the Rays drafted in the 32nd round with outfielder Josh Davis from Union HS in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Offensively, Davis has showed good ability. A right-handed hitter, he already has shown a loose swing and quick hands, which result in good raw bat speed. He pulls the ball well, but unlike many high schoolers he doesn’t try to do too much with his swing. He has a bit of present strength right now, and at 6’2”, 170 pounds he has room to add plenty of muscle moving forward, which will turn his raw bat speed into some in-game power. A three sport athlete in high school, Davis’ outstanding speed is only going to help contribute to his overall offense. Currently he needs to work on having a more well-rounded plate approach. But, as he focuses solely on baseball, he is only going to become better and better. When all is said and done, Davis’ bat has above-average potential, but as with most high schoolers he is raw and needs to refine his approach, add strength, and hone in his mechanics.
Defensively, Davis’ tremendous speed means he will stick as a centerfielder. On top of that, he already shows good defensive instincts, as he has quick reactions and takes good routes to the ball. Right now his arm is nothing special, but it will be fine moving forward, especially as he adds muscle to his frame. Similar to his bat, his defense is only going to get better and better as he focuses on just baseball. Like his bat, he could above-average in center field when all is said and done.
Davis has the ability to be an above-average, well-rounded player in the future. But, that means nothing to the Rays if they can’t get him signed. Davis is committed to Pepperdine University, and he can go there to boost his draft stock in hopes of receiving a bigger payday in the future. The Rays have the ability to float him a big number if they so choose, as they are likely receiving a discount on their 7th-10th round picks. But, that money could also go towards other tough signs like 11th rounder Spencer Moran, 16th rounder Greg Maisto, 21st rounder Jaime Ayende-Morales, and 40th rounder Conor Haber. It will be interesting to see which of the bunch the Rays end up prioritizing.