Davis Hitting The Ground Running

CHARLESTON, SC - Right-hander Rookie Davis enters his first full year in the long-season leagues with some tweaks needed to be made to his game, something most young hurlers need to do, but he reported to camp this year in fantastic shape so he could hit the ground running and have the kind of full season he wants.

The twenty-year-old from North Carolina came to Charleston from playing in Staten Island last year. His move up to the South Atlantic League has brought new challenges to his game, but his tenacious work ethic and aggressiveness on the mound are helping him meet those challenges head on.

"[In the offseason] I just wanted to put a focus on the things that I talked with our strength and conditioning coaches about," Davis said. "I went down to Tampa a couple times in the offseason to meet with them. I just wanted to focus on core and overall strength, really just try to get in better shape.

"I feel like I was in pretty good shape last year, but I wanted to be even more ready this year. I made sure I put the time in in the gym, doing arm exercises and making sure to get my throwing program underway after the first of the year. So, luckily all that paid off. I feel great so hopefully I have a healthy 2014 season."

All of that certainly did pay off in the form of a successful Spring Training camp and solid first few outings with the Riverdogs.

"I felt good. There wasn't a day that I was sore out there [in Spring Training camp]," he said. "My arm felt great. I had a little uptick in velocity this Spring Training, which was nice.

"That just translated over to this [season]. My legs feel great out there in the fourth and fifth inning, you know, I'm not getting tired. Spring Training was just to gear up and get ready for the season. It's a long season, my first full season, so I wanted to make sure I hit the ground running," Davis added.

Pitching coach Carlos Chantres had the opportunity to work with Davis last year in Staten Island. This season, he is as confident as ever in Davis' abilities.

"I don't think he went backwards in camp from last year," Chantres said. "I think he's moving forward, he's learning a new pitch, a cutter. We worked on some delivery stuff, but more or less it's just trying to maintain him right now.

"I also had him in Staten Island [and] my impressions are the same. He keeps getting better all of the time. He works hard and he's going to get better every start. We're not working on too much, we're just trying to stay the same and try to get him to the next level basically.

"His first outing was real good, five innings and no runs. His [second] outing he made a couple mistakes over the plate, and he gave up a couple of runs, but overall I'm really happy with the way he's been pitching," Chantres said.

Chantres noted some positive differences in Davis' pitching from last year to this season in Charleston.

"He's more aggressive, he goes after these hitters. He's basically out there thinking that no one can hit him, which is a good mentality. For me, he's a bulldog out there."

Manager Luis Dorante has also been pleased with Davis' first few games with the Riverdogs.

"His first outing, [he] was just a little bit up in the zone. Second outing was better, quicker to the plate, more attacking the hitters, and he was able to keep the damage under control.

"He's demeaning on the mound, I kind of like that. That's what the pitcher's got to have—he's got to be a little bit demeaning out there.

"These couple of games, his fastball has been good. His secondary stuff has got to get better, but he's got a good fastball and he can overpower some guys," Dorante said.

Even with such a good start to the season, there is still work to be done. Chantres is focusing on fine-tuning Davis' game.

"[We're working to] sharpen his curveball and control the running game, stuff like that will get him to the next level.

"[He needs to] hold the ball more, try to be quicker to the plate, and read the runners and try to see what they're doing so they don't steal bases on him," Chantres said.

"Continuing to control the running game is important for him, because he's kind of slow going to the plate," Dorante addded. "[He's working] on curveball for strike first pitch, and also the changeup. I think that it is important to work on that, and not just rely on one pitch, which is the fastball.

"He's a good prospect that I think he can help us in the big leagues [someday]. It's sill a long season, it's a long process. We just have to be positive with him and try to work on that stuff that we talk about on a daily basis. Hopefully we can do that and he can move up on the ladder."

With the support and wisdom of his coaches, Davis has been improving steadily. However, he has some of his own goals.

"[I've working on] throwing strikes, working ahead, keeping the ball down," Davis said. "Mechanically, we feel pretty comfortable with where I'm at right now.

"Physically I feel strong, and mentally I'm where I need to be. So, it [has been] more just getting the reps in, working down in the zone, working a couple different counts and throwing some different pitches in those.

"We've tried to establish the fastball early. The cutter is a new pitch for me this year. That's really been a good pitch when I need it.

"[I'm also working on] locating the fastball a little bit and keeping them honest with slow speed stuff, but mostly I want to be aggressive—that's just the mentality I have whenever I pitch. You know, I want to come at guys. Luckily I've been successful at that this year.

"We preach all the time, work ahead and stay ahead. Last year that was kind of a crutch of mine: I would work ahead, 0-2 or 1-2, and then go to three ball counts. That's something that we've put a focus on this year: you get a guy 0-2, try and put him away early.

"For me, personally, that's the biggest thing—keep my pitch count down, work deep into games, and just stay aggressive. Personally, whatever happens I'll be ready for. I've got to just keep throwing the ball well and good things will happen," Davis concluded."

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Pinstripes Plus Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nThe twenty-year-old from North Carolina came to Charleston from playing in Staten Island last year. His move up to the South Atlantic League has brought new challenges to his game, but his tenacious work ethic and aggressiveness on the mound are helping him meet those challenges head on.
\r\n
\r\n\"[In the offseason] I just wanted to put a focus on the things that I talked with our strength and conditioning coaches about,\" Davis said. \"I went down to Tampa a couple times in the offseason to meet with them. I just wanted to focus on core and overall strength, really just try to get in better shape.
\r\n
\r\n\"I feel like I was in pretty good shape last year, but I wanted to be even more ready this year. I made sure I put the time in in the gym, doing arm exercises and making sure to get my throwing program underway after the first of the year. So, luckily all that paid off. I feel great so hopefully I have a healthy 2014 season.\"
\r\n
\r\nAll of that certainly did pay off in the form of a successful Spring Training camp and solid first few outings with the Riverdogs.
\r\n
\r\n\"I felt good. There wasn't a day that I was sore out there [in Spring Training camp],\" he said. \"My arm felt great. I had a little uptick in velocity this Spring Training, which was nice.
\r\n
\r\n\"That just translated over to this [season]. My legs feel great out there in the fourth and fifth inning, you know, I'm not getting tired. Spring Training was just to gear up and get ready for the season. It's a long season, my first full season, so I wanted to make sure I hit the ground running,\" Davis added.
\r\n
\r\nPitching coach Carlos Chantres had the opportunity to work with Davis last year in Staten Island. This season, he is as confident as ever in Davis' abilities.
\r\n
\r\n\"I don't think he went backwards in camp from last year,\" Chantres said. \"I think he's moving forward, he's learning a new pitch, a cutter. We worked on some delivery stuff, but more or less it's just trying to maintain him right now.
\r\n
\r\n\"I also had him in Staten Island [and] my impressions are the same. He keeps getting better all of the time. He works hard and he's going to get better every start. We're not working on too much, we're just trying to stay the same and try to get him to the next level basically.
\r\n
\r\n\"His first outing was real good, five innings and no runs. His [second] outing he made a couple mistakes over the plate, and he gave up a couple of runs, but overall I'm really happy with the way he's been pitching,\" Chantres said.
\r\n
\r\nChantres noted some positive differences in Davis' pitching from last year to this season in Charleston.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's more aggressive, he goes after these hitters. He's basically out there thinking that no one can hit him, which is a good mentality. For me, he's a bulldog out there.\"
\r\n
\r\nManager Luis Dorante has also been pleased with Davis' first few games with the Riverdogs.
\r\n
\r\n\"His first outing, [he] was just a little bit up in the zone. Second outing was better, quicker to the plate, more attacking the hitters, and he was able to keep the damage under control.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's demeaning on the mound, I kind of like that. That's what the pitcher's got to have—he's got to be a little bit demeaning out there.
\r\n
\r\n\"These couple of games, his fastball has been good. His secondary stuff has got to get better, but he's got a good fastball and he can overpower some guys,\" Dorante said.
\r\n
\r\nEven with such a good start to the season, there is still work to be done. Chantres is focusing on fine-tuning Davis' game.
\r\n
\r\n\"[We're working to] sharpen his curveball and control the running game, stuff like that will get him to the next level.
\r\n
\r\n\"[He needs to] hold the ball more, try to be quicker to the plate, and read the runners and try to see what they're doing so they don't steal bases on him,\" Chantres said.
\r\n
\r\n\"Continuing to control the running game is important for him, because he's kind of slow going to the plate,\" Dorante addded. \"[He's working] on curveball for strike first pitch, and also the changeup. I think that it is important to work on that, and not just rely on one pitch, which is the fastball.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's a good prospect that I think he can help us in the big leagues [someday]. It's sill a long season, it's a long process. We just have to be positive with him and try to work on that stuff that we talk about on a daily basis. Hopefully we can do that and he can move up on the ladder.\"
\r\n
\r\nWith the support and wisdom of his coaches, Davis has been improving steadily. However, he has some of his own goals.
\r\n
\r\n\"[I've working on] throwing strikes, working ahead, keeping the ball down,\" Davis said. \"Mechanically, we feel pretty comfortable with where I'm at right now.
\r\n
\r\n\"Physically I feel strong, and mentally I'm where I need to be. So, it [has been] more just getting the reps in, working down in the zone, working a couple different counts and throwing some different pitches in those.
\r\n
\r\n\"We've tried to establish the fastball early. The cutter is a new pitch for me this year. That's really been a good pitch when I need it.
\r\n
\r\n\"[I'm also working on] locating the fastball a little bit and keeping them honest with slow speed stuff, but mostly I want to be aggressive—that's just the mentality I have whenever I pitch. You know, I want to come at guys. Luckily I've been successful at that this year.
\r\n
\r\n\"We preach all the time, work ahead and stay ahead. Last year that was kind of a crutch of mine: I would work ahead, 0-2 or 1-2, and then go to three ball counts. That's something that we've put a focus on this year: you get a guy 0-2, try and put him away early.
\r\n
\r\n\"For me, personally, that's the biggest thing—keep my pitch count down, work deep into games, and just stay aggressive. Personally, whatever happens I'll be ready for. I've got to just keep throwing the ball well and good things will happen,\" Davis concluded.\"
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n
\r\n

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