Scout's View: Wade Davis, Jacob McGee




It's tough to find a scout who's not enamored of some aspect of the high Class A Vero Beach pitching staff this season.

Just mentioning the names Wade Davis and Jacob McGee is enough to give Devil Rays' farm director Mitch Lukevics goosebumps. And with good reason.

So far, Davis and McGee have torn up the Florida State League, and each carries an ERA under two and a half. Davis, a 2004 third-round pick out of Lake Wales (Fla.) High, already has two no-hitters under his belt in just 3 1/2 years of pro ball.

His latest no-no came on May 4 at Jupiter, when Davis struck out six and walked one over seven innings. The 21-year-old whiffed 13 in his last start, also against the Hammerheads, to bring his total this season to 88 in 78 innings.

McGee has been equally as dominant--though not as polished in terms of repertoire--as his counterpart. Armed with a 95 mph fastball from the left side and plenty of deception, McGee thrives off pounding the zone with his heater.

In fact, it's become a healthy competition this season in the FSL, as the strikeout race between the two teammates continues unabided. McGee has 82 whiffs in just 70 innings, and carries 4-2, 2.42 numbers overall.

We caught up with a National League scout to give us his opinions on just two of the arms the Rays have stockpiled in the system:

"With Davis, the breaking ball is the out pitch for me, coupled with the bulldog mentality with the competitiveness," the scout said. "He wants to win--he wants to beat you bad. I think he steps up in situations and really become a good, solid top-of-the-rotation starter.

"He pitches like he's 27, 28 years old with four or five years in pro ball. But he's got stuff too. Fastball velocity, command to it, the breaking ball of course, the changeup's OK.

"He'll get it, he's fine.

"He's a lot more cerebral than I think a lot of people gave him credit for originally. I think he knows the game, and if he didn't know the game he's learned it. He's interesting.

"And you have to like McGee. You just have to. I like Davis because of his preparedness, and he puts it away better. I think you see McGee and you see 95, 94, 93 . . . you just didn't see any offspeed stuff. You can equate it to a high school senior pitching against little leaguers. He just threw fastballs by everybody. And it was like he had a quota of how many breaking balls he had to throw and he went, 'Nah,' and just spun it in there and went back to old No. 1. I don't know how you can't like him.

"The delivery's OK, everything's OK. He's lefthanded, so it doesn't really matter as long as he doesn't hurt himself. He's got some funk, he's got some dip. Guys swing and miss at his fastball. They don't get good looks at it, they don't get good whacks at it even if it's 91. He hides his ball pretty well. It's nothing that he does funky--he's just naturally deceptive so he gets swings and misses.

"There have been a couple guys like that--whatever the slot is, however it comes out of his hand, it over-rotates, it disappears halfway . . . I don't know. (Pete) Harnish did that very well. But obviously this guy's a totally different bird because he can reach that 94, 95 region. Guys swing over their heads, guys swing in the dirt on fastballs, they swing away. Righthanders are swinging up and away when they should have visibility on it easily and they're swinging right through it. Like it's not even close.

"You'd almost like to see him get hit a little bit just so he knows when he gets to the big leagues that 95's really not that big of a deal."