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.

Jason has been a fan of the Reds since he was born. He really had no choice in the matter. He has been writing at Redleg Nation for a few years, and also writes and edits at The Hardball Times. His debut novel, When the Sparrow Sings, is available now and concerns baseball, among other things. You can find more information at jasonlinden.com.

Join the conversation! 13 Comments

  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?

    • Very big guy. 6’5″ 240 lbs. Fastball is 91-95.

      • 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.

    • Maddux was top-10 in the league in Ks 7 times, is 10th all-time in strikeouts, and frequently had the lowest walk rate in the league.

    • Also, Maddux was top-10 in K/BB ratio 17 times.

      • Hopefully…he’s developing command with his secondary pitches. Maddux had the greatest 2 seam fastball of all time. Would be nice to see Cody reed find his slider again.

    • So far off on Maddox but nice post

    • I agree. K/bb rates are over rated. What isn’t over rated is being able to keep your pitch count down and make quick outs.

  3. He got shelled hard in his AAA debut 9 runs in 3 innings. Ouch.

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About Jason Linden

Jason has been a fan of the Reds since he was born. He really had no choice in the matter. He has been writing at Redleg Nation for a few years, and also writes and edits at The Hardball Times. His debut novel, When the Sparrow Sings, is available now and concerns baseball, among other things. You can find more information at jasonlinden.com.

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