23-year-old (turns 24 next week) Chandler, Arizona native Brennen Davis still has time, but he needs to step on it. There was a time when the outfielder was the No. 1 prospect for the Cubs and in the Top 10 league-wide.
He still has those skills, but an unusual back condition has sidelined him for the better part of two years, and he’s not all the way back yet. His 2023 Iowa campaign resulted in him slashing .180/.296/.279 with four home runs in 219 at-bats.
“It was awful. I was in so much pain,” he said, in the Tony Andracki interview linked above.
He’ll have to do better than that, post-pain. The Cubs will be looking for something more like his 2021 season, when he slashed .260/.375/.494 with 19 long balls and a Futures Game MVP nod.
And he’s likely to have to fight for playing time. Davis can capably man all three outfield positions, and he might have to — Alexander Canario, Cole Roederer, Darius Hill, Yonathan Perlaza, and Nelson Maldonado are holdovers and they’ll likely be joined by our previous subject Owen Caissie and unidentified free agents.
It’s an uphill climb. But the Cubs need quality outfielders, and while the likes of Canario and phenom Kevin Alcántara might be ahead of him right now, if he’s healthy, he’s in the mix.
Davis has major-league genes. His mother, Jakki Davis-Dollak, was a former standout long jumper at the University of Washington, and his father was Chicago Bulls standout guard Reggie Theus. Theus, however, has never been a part of Davis’ life, but he bequeathed his frame (Davis is 6’4”) and coordination to his son.
Davis played both baseball and basketball in high school, but played only baseball in his senior year, after which he was drafted in the second round (64th overall) by the Chicago Cubs organization in the 2018 Draft and began his journey. He bypassed a scholarship to Miami in favor of signing with the Cubs for a $1.1 million bonus.
Don’t give up on him. He’s still good at baseball. The linked article explains some of why he’s been under-performing. He’s on a one-year deal for $770,000 as a pre-arb player, and will be looking to increase that and perhaps move up to The Show.
Just needs to make consistent contact.