Tucker Davidson has impressed down on the farm for some time now. A 19th round pick out of Midland College in Texas, the lefty has proven to be an incredible value, and there is little reason to believe he cannot contribute at the major league level sooner rather than later. In a system full of highly touted arms, Davidson has arguably outperformed them all.
The southpaw made light work of Rookie and A level ball as a reliever, and the Braves ultimately decided to move him to a starting role. He showed encouraging velocity with his fastball, sitting in the low to mid-90s. And after an up and down 2018, Davidson introduced himself as one of the Braves’ most intriguing prospects in 2019, posting a 2.03 ERA in AA and striking out hitters at a higher rate than he has in his entire career. That led to him being called up to Gwinnett in August, where Davidson continued his eye-popping year, recording a 2.84 ERA in four starts for the Stripers. Now, he is set to make an appearance in Spring Training after being placed on the 40-Man roster by the Braves.
At the very least, Davidson projects to be an effective reliever with Atlanta, and perhaps more. He has terrific swing and miss stuff, and induces a ton of ground balls as well. Chances are that in 2020, we will find out what his future role may be. With Sean Newcomb being the favorite for the fifth starter spot, the Braves will want another lefty reliever in the mix other than Will Smith. Considering Davidson’s great fastball-curveball mix, he may be one of the first guys to get a crack when there is an opening, especially if he can translate what he has been doing this offseason to the mound.
Davidson has been training with Driveline Baseball this winter, a company that focuses on data-driven development of ballplayers. Major leaguers who work with the company include Tyler Glasnow and Trevor Bauer. Well, Davidson is shattering records at their facility, and showing that his days of pumping 92-95 mph are over:
You read that right. The Braves now have a tall lefty on their hands who can pump 100+ mph. For those wondering, the yellow and red balls are heavy weighted balls. It is unlikely he will be able to throw for this speed throughout a start but in a relief role? Most definitely.
Davidson has already made the rise from unknown to a top 10 prospect in the Braves’ system. We currently have him ranked 5th on our most recent SportsTalkATL Prospect List. However, this uptick in velocity to match his incredible minor league production puts Davidson in a position where he has a legitimate chance to be a top 100 prospect in the game and could end up surpassing the likes of Bryse Wilson and Kyle Wright in the rankings.
The exciting thing about Davidson is there is a realistic path to him filling a role at the MLB level as soon as this season, but room for even more down the road. Lefty pitchers who can throw for that type of velocity with control are the rarest commodity in baseball. Davidson continues to drop jaws, and hopefully, his dedicated training this offseason will translate to success in what will be his biggest test yet in 2020.