Cardinals Select Chase Davis In First Round of 2023 MLB Draft



Left-Handed Power Hitting Outfielder out of Arizona Led All Pac-12 Players in HR & OPS Last Season

ST. LOUIS, Mo., July 9, 2023 – The St. Louis Cardinals selected outfielder Chase Davis out of the University of Arizona with their first-round selection (21st overall) in the 2023 Major League Baseball Draft.

Davis, a native of Elk Grove, California, played three seasons at Arizona slashing .319/.444/.644/1.088 with 39 HR, 33 doubles, 132 RBI, 132 runs and a 118:96 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 147 career games. His 39 home runs are the third-most in the Wildcats school history.

Cardinals pick Chase Davis

“Chase is someone we’ve been following since his high school days that we are thrilled about adding to our organization,” said Cardinals Assistant General Manager and Director of Scouting Randy Flores. “He had a banner junior season this year at Arizona, displaying incredible power while also dramatically improving his plate discipline to become one of the most well-rounded outfielders in the country.

“He also showed an ability to move very well defensively and possess a strong throwing arm that we believe will be able to play at any outfield position. During our evaluations, we learned of his tremendous work ethic and deep love of the game, giving our scouting department confidence that he will develop to become the best player possible.”

After limited playing time as a true freshman in 2021 with a veteran-led team that advanced to the College World Series, Davis became a full-time player in 2022, starting 62 games, hitting .289 (68-for-235) with a .414 on-base percentage along with a team-leading 18 HR, 13 doubles, 54 RBI and 56 runs scored.

The 6’1”, 216-pound left-handed hitter entered the 2023 season as a consensus preseason All-American and led the Wildcats in several offensive categories including batting average (.362), on-base percentage (.489), slugging percentage (.742), runs (71), home runs (21) and walks (43) while starting all 57 games played. His 21 home runs were tied for first among all Pac-12 hitters and the third-most in a single season in school history.

Davis reached base safely in 55 of 57 games played, including his first 45 games to begin the season. He also showed tremendous growth as a hitter, raising his batting average by 73 points, lowering his strikeout rate from 22.8% to 14.4% and had more walks than strikeouts (40). He helped lead the Wildcats to the Pac-12 Tournament championship game, defeating 10th-ranked Oregon State and 3rd-ranked Stanford, and was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player with a tournament-high 12 RBI in four games.

For his outstanding efforts, Davis was named to the Pac-12 All-Conference Team and selected as a Second-Team All-American by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) and the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA). He was also a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award and Dick Howser Trophy.

Davis attended Franklin High School in Elk Grove, California, southeast of Sacramento, a rival to current Cardinals outfielder Dylan Carlson’s alma mater at nearby Elk Grove High School. Prior to his junior season, he participated in the 2018 MLB Breakthrough Series and also took part in MLB’s Player Development Pipeline in 2019 and multiple MLB Dream Series showcases.

Davis is the first Arizona player selected in the first round since catcher Daniel Susac went 19th overall to the Oakland Athletics in 2022 and the first Wildcats player (17th total) to be selected by the Cardinals since outfielder Ryan Holgate in the 2nd round (Competitive Balance – Round B) of the 2021 draft and second-ever Arizona player taken by the Redbirds in the first round, joining left-handed pitcher Joe Magrane (18th overall) in 1985.

The 21-year-old is the first college hitter to be selected by St. Louis with their first selection in the first round of the MLB draft since second baseman Kolten Wong (22nd overall) in 2011, and the first college outfielder to be chosen in by the club in the first round since James Ramsey (23rd overall) in 2012.

The Cardinals have drafted a California native in each of the last three seasons, including left-handed pitcher Cooper Hjerpe (Davis, CA) in 2022 and right-handed pitcher Michael McGreevy (San Clemente, CA) in 2021.

Davis is the fifth 21st overall selection for the Cardinals since 1965, joining outfielder Jordan Walker (2020), left-handed pitcher Allen Watson (1991) and right-handed pitchers Todd Worrell (1982) and Dan Larson (1972). Other notable recent first round picks for St. Louis include left-handed pitcher Zack Thompson (2019, 19th overall), third baseman Nolan Gorman (2018, 19th overall), outfielder Dylan Carlson (2016, 33rd overall), right-handed pitcher Dakota Hudson (2016, 34th overall), right-handed pitcher Jake Woodford (2015, 39th overall), and right-handed pitcher Jack Flaherty (2014, 34th overall).

The team’s highest overall selection was right-handed pitcher Braden Looper (3rd overall) in 1996. The Cardinals have had only 11 top-ten selections, the most recent being outfielder J.D. Drew (5th overall) in 1998.

The 2023 MLB Draft continues tomorrow with rounds 3-10, beginning at 1:00 PM CT, and concludes with rounds 11-20 on Tuesday, July 11, starting at 1:00 PM CT.

— STL —

This is a great pick for the Cardinals. As noted on the MLB Network Broadcast, this is a deep draft due to Covid-19; in 2020, only 5 rounds of the draft happened, causing a lot of High School players to head to college. Davis was one of those players, even though he was expected to go in the first 2 rounds.

College definitely helped him. He didn’t start as a freshman, and struggled a little in his sophomore season; he broke out this last season though. He started to limit strikeouts (a big issue coming into 2023) and increased his contact rate. That K rate dropped from 22.8% in 2022 to 14.4% in 2023

Davis has plus raw power, maybe the best of the draft class. He’s probably the 3rd best college hitter that was available in the draft. Scouts are more optimistic about his contact ability after the step forward this season. He’s got average to slightly above average speed. He gets compared to Carlos Gonzalez because they have almost identical swings; it’s a solid comp, but I’d like to see a longer career for Davis.

Long-term, he’ll stick in the corner outfield; his speed probably keeps him out of center, but I expect the team to try him out there at first. He’s got a good arm that plays in right.

I have seen complaints that the Cardinals didn’t go for pitching and didn’t need an outfielder; the MLB draft is a different beast then the NBA or NFL drafts, which have more of a following. The draft is there to fill out farm systems; any player taken has a long shot to get to the Majors, and it typically takes a few years. Those other drafts plug the players in right away.

Davis should be a pretty quick mover, but don’t expect him before 2025; a more realistic expectation is late 2026.

Draft Rankings:
Future Stars Series – 17th
MLB – 22nd
Prospects 1500 – 27th

Mock Drafts:
The Athletics – 27th, Philadelphia Phillies
Baseball America – 21st, St. Louis Cardinals
CBS Sports – 13th, Boston Red Sox
ESPN – 23rd, Cleveland Guardians
Fangraphs – 21st, St. Louis Cardinals

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