- Full name Wade Allen Davis
- Born 09/07/1985 in Lake Wales, FL
- Profile Ht.: 6'5" / Wt.: 225 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Lake Wales
- Debut 09/06/2009
Drafted in the 3rd round (75th overall) by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2004 (signed for $475,000).
View Draft ReportAnother Florida signee, Davis may be drafted shortly after Branham in the fourth- or fifth-round range. But he could also slip beyond the 20th round as his signability appears to be more of a factor than with Branham. His performance during the spring was inconsistent, and it may be a case of which scout saw him on which day that determines where he's picked. Davis showed good velocity on his best days, touching some 93s and 94s while pitching in the 88-91 mph range. He has excellent size (6-foot-5, 225 pounds), commands his average curveball and fastball equally well, and profiles as an innings-eater in the middle of a rotation.
Organization Prospect Rankings
With Scott Kazmir continually battling his command and injuries, the Rays dealt him to the Angels last August and inserted Davis into his rotation spot. He pitched a complete-game shutout with 10 strikeouts against the Orioles for his first big league win and looked very comfortable in the majors. Davis throws a heavy 93-94 mph fastball with above-average sink. His 11-to-5 curveball is also a plus pitch, arriving at 77-81 mph. He has a tall, strong frame that produces an easy delivery and an outstanding downhill plane on his pitches. The Rays also like his mental and physical toughness. Davis also throws a changeup and slider, neither of which is as consistent as his two plus offerings. If he can command one of those secondary pitches and throw a few more strikes, he could be dominant at the major league level. Barring something unexpected, Davis should be a fixture in the Tampa Bay rotation for the foreseeable future. He has the upside of a No. 2 starter, and the Rays also could be tempted to make him a closer down the road as they try to figure out how to get all of their talented young pitchers on the big league staff.
The Rays' 2007 minor league pitcher of the year, Davis returned to Double-A Montgomery last spring and was a bit inconsistent before finding his rhythm and earning a promotion in mid-July. He threw seven shutout innings in his first Triple-A start and turned in seven quality starts in nine outings with Durham. Davis is one of the premier power pitching prospects in the game. His four-seam fastball sits in the low- to mid-90s, and he can dial it up to 95-96 mph when needed. He throws his hard 11-to-5 curveball with plus control, and it's filthy when he produces two-plane break. Davis also has a straight changeup and showed an improved cut fastball in Triple-A. Davis simply needs to refine the consistency of his overall feel and his delivery, particularly with his release point. Polishing those two aspects will improve his control and command. He'll need to pitch inside more often in the majors. Davis' stuff and competitiveness have him knocking on the door to the big leagues, though he probably won't bump any of Tampa Bay's established starters out of the rotation in 2009. Another half-season in Triple-A should prove beneficial in his development as a frontline starter.
The Rays' minor league pitcher of the year, Davis led the system with a 2.50 ERA and ranked seventh in the minors with 169 strikeouts in 158 innings. He tossed the minors' first no-hitter of 2007 on May 4, the second such gem of his career. He was Montgomery's Game One starter in both rounds of the Southern League playoffs. Davis attracts raves for his stuff, command and competitiveness. He relies heavily on a four-seam fastball that sits at 92-94 mph and touches 96. He also throws a hard 11-to-5 curveball in the upper 70s with occasional two-plane break. His changeup can become an above-average pitch, as can his cutter. He works both sides of the plate, and he became more aggressive on the inner half as last season progressed. He uses his height to his advantage by getting good downward plane on his pitches. Davis needs to fine-tune the command of his fastball and his overall feel for pitching in order to mix his offerings more consistently. He still needs to hone a third pitch, which is just a matter of sharpening his promising changeup and cutter. He runs deep into counts when he tries to be too fine with his pitches. Davis has a bulldog mentality and the potential to become a frontline starter. He could open 2008 in Triple-A unless the Rays want to team him with McGee again in Double-A at the start of the season.
Davis did not begin pitching until his sophomore season in high school and turned down a scholarship to Florida in exchange for a $475,000 signing bonus. He led the short-season New York-Penn League in strikeouts in 2005 and ranked second in the Midwest League behind Jacob McGee in 2006. He slumped for two months at midseason before finishing strong in August, throwing a seven-inning no-hitter (and taking a 1-0 loss) in his final start. Davis throws his 92-95 mph fastball on an excellent downhill plane and has touched 98 mph. Both his 11-to-5 curveball and his slider are tight breaking balls with sharp movement, and he also has an effective changeup. He's a tough competitor and a good all-around athlete who fields his position as well as any pitcher in the system. Improved command of all his pitches within the strike zone and more confidence in his changeup would help Davis take the next step. While his fastball has above-average velocity, it tends to flatten out. All these issues are related to his inability to repeat his delivery on a straight line to the plate. While he can be inconsistent, Davis has the potential to have three plus pitches. The Rays project him in the middle of a major league rotation and will send him to high Class A in 2007.
Most teams thought Davis was headed to the University of Florida, but area scout Kevin Elfering did his homework and persuaded the Devil Rays to take him in 2004's third round. Davis signed quickly for $475,000 and showed first-round ability in 2005, when he led the short-season New York-Penn League in strikeouts. Davis is a big, power pitcher with a smooth delivery and easy arm action. He throws on a downward plane. He drives his fastball low in the zone at 92-98 mph. His hard curveball became more consistent last year, and his slider is a solid-average pitch. He has had no problem throwing strikes as a pro. He still could use an offspeed pitch, and Davis is working on a changeup that needs more consistent fade and depth. He can fall into lapses of concentration on the mound, though that should decrease with maturity. Davis looks more like the total pitching package every time he takes the mound. The Rays are confident he will develop into a frontline starter. His next stop is low Class A Southwest Michigan, and he could move quickly.
The Rays did their homework on Davis, deemed a difficult sign because he was committed to attending the University of Florida. They landed him for $475,000 after drafting him in the third round last June. He put together a solid pro debut before wearing down in August, when he had a 10.90 ERA in five starts. Inconsistency also hindered him throughout the spring, but he has promising stuff with a picturesque, easy delivery and a good body. Davis has the potential to be a power pitcher and workhorse at the major league level. His fastball features plus movement, sits at 90-91 right now and should develop into a consistent 93-94 mph pitch. His slider has hard, late bite and could become a plus pitch. Davis also has command and poise. He's very coachable and has a good idea of what he's doing for a young player. His immediate goals are achieving tighter spin on his curveball and developing a changeup. He also needs to keep the ball down in the zone to avoid giving up homers. Davis will address those shortcomings in low Class A this year.
Minor League Top Prospects
There was little surprise among Davis' former Durham teammates as they watched on a clubhouse televison as he limited the Tigers to one run over seven innings in his big league debut in September. He showed the same stuff that overpowered IL hitters, and it allowed him to seamlessly replace Scott Kazmir in the Rays rotation. The hulking power pitcher throws with an easy delivery and a steep downhill plane. He works off a heavy 93-94 mph fastball that sinks and fades in on lefthanders. Hitters can't sit on his heater, or else he'll put them away with a plus 77-81 mph breaking ball with three-quarters break. He also mixes in a changeup and slider, which lack consistency. "He's a No. 3 starter for me," a scout said. "If he could get one of those third pitches and command it a little better, he could be a No. 2 starter in the future."
Davis was solid but not quite as effective as he was in his 2007 stint with Montgomery, though his work ethic and commitment to perfecting his craft may have skewed his overall numbers. He focused on mixing in an 84-85 mph changeup and added a slightly faster cutter at midseason, though both pitches were inconsistent. Davis can overmatch hitters with his fastball and curveball. He has a four-seamer that sits at 93-94 mph and touches 96, and he also has a two-seamer. His hard 74-78 mph curve is a plus pitch with two-plane depth and tight 11-to-5 rotation that elicits swings and misses from both lefties and righties. His biggest needs are to refine his fastball command and find a reliable option between his changeup and cutter. Though at times he falls off to the first base side of the mound, his mechanics are solid and his arm action is clean.
Davis made his Triple-A debut on July 20, threw seven shutout innings in his first start for Durham and breezed through the league until Scranton/Wilkes-Barre bombed him for eight runs in two innings in the final game of the playoffs. A classic power pitcher with clean mechanics, Davis sits at 92-93 mph with plus life on his fastball, and he keeps the pitch down in the zone. He can reach back for 94-95 when he needs it, though his command suffers. Davis works quickly, and his power curveball is his out pitch, topping out in the low 80s and featuring true 12-to-6 break. He dominated righthanders in Triple-A, but lefties fared better as Davis worked to improve the consistency of his changeup and cutter. Both have the potential to be average pitches.
Even though he's No. 4 on this list, it's not hard to project Davis as a future front-end starter. McGee ranks ahead of him because he's a lefty and has a tick more velocity, but Davis is more polished and has quality stuff as well. Davis sits at 92-93 mph and can hump his fastball up to 96 mph when needed. He throws his tight 11-to-5 curveball at any point in the count and his changeup has developed into an average pitch that he trusts. He also throws a cutter that he can drop over for strikes, giving hitters something else to worry about, and shackled righthanders to the tune of .124/.201/.214 numbers. But Davis' most impressive attribute might be his consistency. He maintained his quality stuff from start to start. He didn't allow more than three earned runs in any of his 13 starts and permitted one run or less in nine of his last 10 outings, including a seven-inning no-hitter against Jupiter. "You could see Wade was on a mission," Szekely said. "He was lights out from the word go."
Davis dominated high Class A during the first half of the season and maintained that success when he was called up to Montgomery in July. He allowed two earned runs or fewer in eight out of his first nine Double-A starts before fading at the end. A pure power pitcher, Davis lacks only feel for his craft and a polished third pitch. His fastball ranges from 93-97 mph, though he dropped to 86-92 later in the year. He gets a good plane on his fastball, which he can locate to both sides of the plate. He's at his best when he's spotting it down in the zone, but he has a tendency to work deep in counts. Davis' breaking ball is a hard curve with occasional two-plane break at 79 mph. He also throws a cutter and changeup, though neither is a quality third offering at this stage. "You never want to say a guy is a true No. 1 starter, but he might be better than a No. 2," a second AL scout said. "He has durability and a good delivery, he has poise and he has really good stuff."
Davis mixed spectacular with mediocre performances. He was the MWL's hottest pitcher in April and May, got knocked around in June and July, then finished with his best month in August. He pitched a seven-inning no-hitter in his final start, taking a 1-0 loss on an unearned run. At his best, Davis showed a 92-95 mph fastball that peaked at 98, a plus 11-to-5 curveball and an effective changeup. He throws all of his pitches from the same arm slot and gets good life down in the strike zone. Davis ran into trouble when he pitched backward. Told to work on his secondary offerings, he did so to an extreme and saw his fastball dip to 88-91 mph. He doesn't repeat his delivery well and falls off toward first base, but he still has the potential for three plus pitches.
Jeff Niemann drew most of the hype from the Devil Rays' 2004 draft class after they took him fourth overall, but third-rounder Davis has shown more on the mound so far. While Niemann pitched just 31 innings this year while battling shoulder inflammation, Davis displayed a first-round-caliber arm. His fastball sat in the low 90s and touched 97 mph at times. He has the makings of a power curveball and also throws a slider. He's still working on a changeup. Davis tired late in his 2004 pro debut, but he has an ideal pitcher's frame at 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds and maintained his strength throughout this summer. He also did a better job of using his height to pitch down in the strike zone.
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Curveball in the Tampa Bay Rays in 2009
- Rated Best Curveball in the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008
- Rated Best Fastball in the Tampa Bay Rays in 2006