A Minors Obsession

Rookie Davis Interview

On Friday, Rookie Davis was called up from Pensacola to join the Louisville Bats. He will make his AAA debut on Sunday. Courier Journal writer Kenzie Winstead and I spoke with him the day after his call up.

I asked Davis about how he felt things were going in Pensacola before the call up:

“They were going well… Battled some things this year. Kind of some nagging injuries that lingered a little bit longer than I wanted them to, but the last 3 or 4 starts felt good. I felt like the ball was coming out of my hand really good. I was able to throw all 4 pitches for strikes.”

Davis had, in fact, thrown the ball very well his last five starts in Pensacola. Allowing only 5 runs total in 30 innings with 28 strikeouts and 5 walks.

In terms of what he still has to work on:

“Getting ahead of guys… staying ahead… One thing I’ve really tried to focus on this year is every hitter, three pitches or less… Try to get quick outs, ground ball outs, soft contact.”

I asked about the soft contact and how he has at times out-performed his peripherals. He said he wasn’t a “huge analytics guy” but did say he focused a lot on trying to get soft contact and does occasionally pay attention to his spin rates.

I also asked which players in Pensacola he thought were good candidates to follow him to Louisville soon:

“Sal Romano’s been throwing lights out… Tyler Mahle is a kid that whenever he was first called up was very quiet and went about his business… he’s very polished for his age, very mature.” He also named Jackson Stephens and Nick Travieso.

13 thoughts on “Rookie Davis Interview

  1. Great work. The minors are of obvious interest to die-hard Reds fans. He is a big guy right? Is he a power pitcher?

      • Being tall really has more to do with release point than velocity. A guy with a Mike Leake repitoire would be harder to hit if his release point is higher. Some guys negate this advantage by dropping their arm angle but the point is velocity alone is rather meaningless to batters in comparison to release point, movement and occasionally deception. That was why Chapman was unhittable, he had ALL of the above.

  2. While I would consider myself a stats guy, I think pitchers stats are far more complex than most people give credit. Never got the reliance on K/BB ratio. Davis brings up some great examples of how this is an oversimplified approach. Unlike many young guys, he tries to limit pitches by getting soft contact. It’s amazing! Further, he looks at spin rates. He sounds like Greg Maddox, who was a top 10 all time pitcher and had a low K rate, a sky high contact rate, as well as no intention of limiting the running game at all. Kind of the opposite of a young Homer Bailey, who tried to strike everyone out with a fastball with no movement.

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