The Rays have a tremendous number of high-quality prospects in their system. We at RCG are bringing you an in-depth look at those we consider to be the Top 50.
While gathering as much information as possible from various sources, we’re going to put it all together for your enjoyment and raise the bar on what you expect from a prospect knowledgable site. Stay tuned, check-in often, and please let us know how we’re doing.
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Being such a lengthy process, some encouragement will go a very long way. We hope you’ll enjoy reading this series as much as we enjoy putting it together. If anything, all of us will know that much more about the quality of the Rays system.
The rankings will be based on all aspects of each prospect, but will focus first on how likely the player is to make an impact in MLB, and ceiling next.
Once completed, the Top 50 will be updated mid-season with an explanation to why they’re moving up or down, and the entire process will be repeated each season.
The very first player to be examined in detail is….
#40: Devin Kelii Davis, 1B, 18 years old
- Bats: Right Ht/Wt: 6’3″ 215 lbs
- Drafted: by TB in the 25th rd of the 2015 draft out of Valencia HS, California
- Signed for: $100,000 on Jun 23rd, 2015
- 2015 Affiliate(s): GCL Rays
- Anticipated MLB Arrival: 2019+
Stats for 2015
- Twitter Handle: @DevVontrell
- Was ranked 72nd draft eligible player in California by BA’s John Manuel pre-2015 MLB draft
- Committed to Loyola Marymount before the draft took place
- Made the First Team All-American for Perfect Game
- Hit a pinch-hit HR vs Canada for Chandler World
- Did not make it on to Baseball America’s Top 500 Draft Prospects list
- Was ranked 40th Draft eligible player by MinorLeagueBall’s Matt Garrioch in Jan ’15
- Kevin Askeland of MaxPreps had him going as high as the 2nd rd
- Hit .413 / .517 / .728 with 16 extra-base hits in 116 PA (9 doubles, 1 triple, 6 HR) in HS for ’14-’15
- The Baseball Draft Report said about Davis: If pure uncut bat speed is what you’re looking for, then Devin Davis (Valencia HS, California) is your guy. He’s also a really slick defender at first – without too much thought I’d say he’s the best glove out of the top guys listed – with more than enough power to profile as a regular if it all works out.”
- Noted for his “big, easy power from his 6-foot-2, 220-pound frame” by Nathan Rode of PBR
- Davis reacted to being drafted by stating: “It’s great hearing your name be called,” “Not a lot of kids get drafted.”
- Our very own Robbie Knopf wrote about him after he was drafted and before he signed here
"“One of the things I’m most impressed with about Devin Davis is he’s arguably the best defensive first baseman in the 2015 class, for sure.” – Greg Kinneman, Chandler World Head Coach"
Posted the following on Twitter after hitting his first HR on Aug 3rd, 2015:
Best Tools & Abilities
- Defensive play at 1B
- Power Potential
- Displayed ability to BB 12% of his PA in 2015, leading to a .370 OBP
Any time you draft a high school player, you’re increasing the inherent risk that already exists with the draft. The Rays knew this when they drafted Davis and many thought their chances of signing him after selecting him so late in the draft were slim-to-nil. With so many others demanding a good portion of their draft pool money, it seemed unlikely that Davis would sign. Yet, as things turned out, $100,000 did the trick and the Rays stole one in the 25th round, getting great talent for their money.
One of the first things I look for in a prospect is whether he can play a position on a regular basis in MLB. Well, for Davis there isn’t a single person out there that would doubt his ability to play 1B at an above-average level in MLB. That’s the most comforting thing about Davis, we know where he fits, and we can even wonder if LF could be a possible bonus. Either way, he can contribute on the field.
Being so great at fielding the position is also an advantage for his development at the plate since Davis can now concentrate on improving his hit tools. With the power he holds in his bat, making contact at a high rate would push him from a defensively strong 1B who may find a job, to a potential all-star calibre player. That’s a big if and a major reason for him falling to the 25th round. There’s a lot of work to be done at the plate for him to earn that shot in The Show, but here are two things that keep us hopeful.
- He absolutely crushes LHP, making him a potentially perfect platoon player at a minimum
- Hit .281 / .403 / .375 in August over 77 PA, a major improvement
Combined, these are good reasons to keep a close eye on Davis as we head towards 2016. If he can put in the work required to improved his ability to hit – and hit for power – consistently, he’ll be a threat for a spot on the Rays by the time 2019 roles around.
It’s really hard to tell what to expect from Devin Davis over the long-term. While it’s easy to say we expect him to continue to play extremely well defensively, the bat is such a big question mark that it could go either way. And that’s why he’s so low in the rankings. So many great power prospects get passed over in time because they simply can’t hit well enough to stick in MLB.
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The one thing we can say for certain is how fast Davis goes through he system will be directly tied to how well he hits. If he can prove he hits at one level, he’ll get moved on to the next. Since his defensive play is so strong, his bat will carry the weight of his expectations.
One area I really hope to see on display more than anything in 2016 is the power. That needs to return in order for him to maintain his prominent prospect status. His five extra base hits in 132 PA from 2015 just don’t cut it when you’re expected to be a power hitting 1B. If that happens, we can expect him to leap through the Rays minors system at a good pace.
We hope you enjoyed the article and examination of Devin Davis. He’s one of many great looking 1B in the Rays system, giving him plenty of competition as he makes his way through the system. If he keeps his focus and works hard, he should get a shot to prove himself at each level.
Hopefully it brought you some information you weren’t aware of and provides for a better appreciation of what he’s all about. As we conclude the article, here’s a video of him for your enjoyment.