Evaluating Cardinals' first-round pick Chase Davis' first professional season

The Cardinals drafted the toolsy outfielder with their first-round pick in the 2023 draft. How did he fare against professional ballplayers in his first season?
State Farm College Baseball Showdown
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With the 21st overall pick in the 2023 Major League Baseball draft, the St. Louis Cardinals chose Chase Davis, a junior from the University of Arizona. Davis played primarily in the corner outfield spots in college, but he can hold his own in center field given his strong arm and decent speed.

Davis was known for his power potential heading into the draft, and he slashed .362/.489/.742 in his final season in Arizona. He hit 21 home runs in just 221 at-bats and 57 games last year. He has some issues with swing and miss (almost 25% strikeout rate in college), but he did walk at a similar rate.

After the draft, St. Louis sent Chase to Low-A Palm Beach in Florida. The Florida League is typically known to be a pitchers' league, so it is reasonable to expect some regression in Chase's numbers. He was also a player fresh out of college playing against other players who could have been in professional baseball for some time.

In 34 games (121 plate appearances), the lefty slashed .212/.366/.269 with only six extra-base hits, all doubles. Davis had a 32.6% strikeout rate and a 24% walk rate. His above-average speed allowed him to steal three bags in his first professional season. While his on-base percentage is strong, there is room to grow with slugging and extra-base hits.

On the defensive side, Davis played 28 games of his 34 in center. He was the designated hitter six times. His .972 fielding percentage is adequate, and he committed two errors in 216 innings. It is assumed that Chase's bat will be strong enough in a corner outfield spot, but the Cardinals wanted to challenge him and see if he could hold his own defensively in center field.

Hopefully, Davis can adjust quickly to professional baseball. He has always been known as a "three-true outcomes" player, but the hope is that he can make harder contact in the future. Davis actually hit better against pitchers older than him (.709 OPS), so there is definitely potential for improvement. St. Louis may get aggressive with him next year and promote him to High-A Peoria which is in a much more balanced league than the Florida League.