Top prospect Brennen Davis soaking up all he can in Cubs camp
MESA, Ariz. — The moment is not lost on Brennen Davis.
The Cubs’ top prospect was afforded a priceless opportunity this spring when the organization invited him in to big-league camp. They also ensured he did not lose an entire year of development due of the pandemic by including Davis in a group of prospects who received the chance to work out at the alternate site in South Bend last summer.
He’s earned those opportunities, but he won’t take them for granted.
“It’s awesome,” he said. “It’s a testament to all the hard work that I put in and to have those kind of opportunities, you can’t take them lightly. Not everybody gets those chances and it’s a huge honor.”
Davis has an air of calmness about him and smiles have come easy for the 21-year-old this spring. He is the organization’s consensus top prospect and was ranked No. 72 overall by Baseball America coming into this season.
The 2018 2nd-round pick was technically optioned to Cubs’ minor-league camp last week, but he’s still able to get in Cactus League games as a reserve.
In his few weeks in big-league camp, Davis ensured he made the most of it, picking the brains of Cubs veterans and trying to pay attention to every little thing.
“It’s been unbelievable, just being around the guys and being in a winning atmosphere and around guys who do work the right way and get the job done,” he said. “Because that’s ultimately the kind of player you want to be is somebody who can come in and contribute right away.”
He took particular note of how the Cubs stars approached their time in the batting cage.
“It’s really interesting watching big leaguers’ cage work,” Davis said. “The way they go about their business is so refined, so perfect. They have a plan, they know what they’re doing and young me a few years ago would just go in there and just swing. Moving forward, there’s always stuff you can get better at.”
That thirst for knowledge made a good impression on the current stable of Cubs players.
During the Cubs’ second game of the spring, Ian Happ was serving as the team’s DH while Davis came off the bench to play center field. The two spent some time together in the dugout, where Davis was able to pick Happ’s brain.
“Super athletic, obviously,” Happ said. “That jumps out. I think he’s gonna be an incredible baseball player. I really am impressed by his wanting to be around and ask questions. Really attentive.”
While the Cubs were ramping up for the truncated season last summer and going through camp at Wrigley Field, they needed a few extra position players one night for a scrimmage.
Davis was among those who were shuttled from South Bend to the North Side of Chicago. It wasn’t the first time he played on Wrigley Field (he had a pre-draft workout at the corner of Clark and Addison) but it was a unique experience for the future big-leaguer to play an exhibition game in one of the most legendary stadiums on the planet.
“I mean, it’s Wrigley Field — who wouldn’t want to play there?” he said. “It’s unbelievable. To be able to get out there, play games and take center field. It’s hard to put into words.”
Davis has not yet played a professional game above the Low-A level, so he’s not quite ready to play regularly at Wrigley Field. But his time is coming and the organization hopes months around big-leaguers will be a boon to his development.
David Ross goes way back with Davis. In his time as a special assistant in the front office, Ross was actually in the war room when the Cubs drafted Davis nearly three years ago.
The manager’s advice to the young outfielder stuck this spring.
“He always makes sure I know to soak it all in,” Davis said. “It’s about the journey.”