Minor League Prospect Note: Khris Davis, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
Milwaukee Brewers outfield prospect Khris Davis is having an excellent, if abbreviated, 2012 season in the high minors. He missed much of the spring with a leg injury, but he's back on the field now for the Triple-A Nashville Sounds in the Pacific Coast League, crushing the ball to the tune of a .340/.453/.509 mark in 14 games. Before his promotion, he'd played 44 games for Double-A Huntsville and six games in rookie ball on rehab. He's been hot everywhere, and is hitting .370/.473/.625 overall this season, with 13 homers, 30 walks, and 52 strikeouts in 200 at-bats.
Davis had a great year for Cal State Fullerton in 2009, hitting .328/.419/.642 with 16 homers, 17 steals, 34 walks, and 40 strikeouts in 232 at-bats. Despite the big numbers, scouts were lukewarm about him and he lasted until the seventh round. He produced in 2010, hitting .280/.398/.499 with 22 homers, 17 steals, and 77 walks in 457 at-bats for Low-A Wisconsin. However, he also fanned 120 times, the whiffs dovetailing with scout concerns that his swing was too long.
Moved up to High-A Brevard County for 2011, he hit .309/.415/.533 with 15 homers, 10 steals, 51 walks, and 70 strikeouts in 304 at-bats. A promotion to Double-A Huntsville resulted in a weak .210/.272/.331 line in 124 at-bats, but he's made adjustments this year and has had no trouble with minor league pitching this season.
That 35-game stretch at Huntsville last year is the only time he's struggled in pro ball. He is a career .295/.397/.512 hitter with 174 walks and 276 strikeouts in 1123 at-bats.
Davis is a 6-0, 195 pound right-handed hitter and thrower, born December 21, 1987. Although he's stolen some bases in the minors, scouts rate his speed as below average. His arm is fringy at best, limiting him to left field, although he's not excessively error-prone and generally catches what he gets to. He has genuine power, a solid eye at the plate, and will draw some walks, but scouts say his swing is long and don't expect him to hit for much of an average in the majors. At age 24, he's not young for a prospect either. Essentially, scouts respect his production but don't like his tools.
Nevertheless, facts are facts, and Davis has done enough to get himself noticed. It will be very interesting to see if the Brewers protect him on the 40-man roster this winter.