Tucker Davidson entered 2019 barely sniffing the top-20 prospects in the Braves system. The lefty was a 19th round pick in 2016 and coming off a year in which he had an ERA north of four for the Florida Fire Frogs. Fast forward five months and Davidson is now a highly coveted prospect that could find himself on the mound for the Braves in Septemeber.
The 23-year-old performed beyond the highest of expectations in his first season with AA Mississippi, recording a 2.03 ERA in 21 starts before recently receiving the call to Gwinnett. Perhaps even more notably, he became a strikeout machine, averaging well over a strikeout per inning for the first time in his minor league career. That – coupled with his tendency to induce a bevy of groundballs (over 50% groundball rate this season) – makes for a promising future at any level.
His repertoire consists of a low to mid-90s fastball, a newly developed changeup that he has fallen in love with, a curveball, and a slider. If there is one thing that has been slightly discouraging over a fantastic year; it has been his command. He’s walked 47 batters in 115.2 innings this year. That does not often cut it as a starter in the majors.
Davidson made his AAA debut on Saturday, and nothing changed in his approach. He calmly tossed five scoreless innings, allowing only two hits while striking out four in 91 pitches. Friday, Davidson will start his second game for the Stripers, and there’s a substantial possibility he could see some time in the majors when the rosters expand if all goes well. The Braves have to add him to the 40-man to avoid the risk of losing him to the Rule 5 Draft. Considering they just parted ways with pitchers Kolby Allard, Joey Wentz, and Tristan Beck at the trade deadline; they will want to do what they can to hold on to this rising southpaw.