R.J. Davis: Rays’ 20th Rounder Hits Triple-Digits

By Robbie Knopf

You don’t find pitchers who throw 100 MPH in the 20th round of the draft. R.J. Davis is an interesting case.

Davis has a big-time fastball and a big-time demeanor. (Credit: Cal State Sacramento)

Davis is a 6’3″, 230 5th-year senior right-hander at Cal State University Sacramento who pitched exclusively in relief in 2012. He managed to earn 8 saves in 26 relief appearances, but he posted just a 3.90 ERA and struck out just 25 compared to 21 walks. But that doesn’t tell the story. Davis throws in the high-90’s with his fastball and touched triple-digits. He doesn’t have good control at all, but his arm is electric. He also throws a fringy slider. The fastball is enough to take the risk on Davis here.

But then there’s another factor: Davis is an absolute bulldog. Listen to this: after not throwing more than 33 in an appearance the entire season, Davis took the ball in the 8th inning of the WAC Championship game versus Fresno State and refused to let the ball go, throwing 77 pitches and tossing 5 shutout innings as the game went to 13 innings before finally allowing a run and losing as the Sacramento season and his college career ended. You don’t see players willing to exert themselves like that for the team. Between Davis’ stuff and demeanor, he’s a very interesting prospect. Watch out for him as he should sign quickly, being a fifth-year senior, and while he needs a ton of work on his control and secondary pitches, he has the upside of a dominant late-inning reliever.