Rookie Davis Looks To Revive His Once-Promising Career

Free Agent Pitcher Calls Pirates "A Great Fit"

Eric Hagman
February 21, 2019 - 6:36 pm

Eric Hagman 93.7 The Fan

Bradenton, FL (93.7 The Fan) - First things first.  Rookie is a rookie.  25-year-old righthander Rookie Davis was a member of the Cincinnati Reds rotation for a time in 2017, but since he pitched in only 7 games--6 starts--he officially remains a rookie, as he attempts to land on the Pirates roster.

Before his first workout at Pirate City Thursday,  Davis explained his decision to sign with the Bucs..

"There were teams in the mix, and it just felt like a great fit," Davis said.  "I've played against this organization my whole career, so I know how they operate.  They breed winning here, and that's what I wanted to be a part of."

Davis has one career win to his name.  It came over the Pirates in his fourth career start.  A couple of weeks earlier, he had started at PNC Park.

"I loved pitching in Pittsburgh when I was there," Davis said.  "I'm a huge (Batman fan), you know the Batman movie with Bane in it. I even named my dog Bane, so it's kind of fitting now."

Davis didn't pitch in the majors last season after undergoing hip surgery in October, 2017.  He was granted free agency last November.

"The market was obviously pretty slow, " Davis said.  "Going into it, my main focal point the first couple months was just to establish health. That was a big key.  I knew there would be a lot of questions going into free agency. I'll push the envelope and do whatever I can to help this team.  I"m a competitor.  I like challenges.  Obviously, starting is something I've done my entire career and it's something I want to continue to do.  I"ll be given that opportunity."

Displaying a sharp wit throughout the interview,  Davis explained how he combines an old-school approach on the mound with modern-age data. 

"There are some things that I thought I would never change, and I have," Davis said.  "Some things actually supported the data.  I think if you get too wrapped up into it (it could backfire) because at the end of the day I have to get you out.  Unless Bill Gates comes up with something to help me out, I'm not going to go to that in a game."

Davis is six-five and 255 pounds, but he doesn't possess an overpowering fastball.

"I'm not a guy that's going to get on the mound and show you 100 (mph)," Davis said.  "I'm going to have to work for what I get.  That's who I am and that's who I've always been.  I'm not a guy who's going to jump off the page at you as far as stuff-wise.  It's like I told Clint (Hurdle), one thing that I feel like separates me from everyone is you may beat me, but I'm not going to beat myself.

Davis, whose given name is William, also confirmed that his dad Billy, who dreamed of playing professional baseball, gave him his nickname at an early age.

"He wanted me to have a recognizable name, and he gave me a recognizable name," Davis said. "I'm going to have a long talk with my dad one day." 

The two made this week's trip from North Carolina to Bradenton in the pitcher's truck.  Davis said his dad has accompanied him to every spring training since he was 18.  He also said his mother Lisa is the only person that calls him William.

The Pirates will bring Davis along slowly, as he's more than a week behind the other pitchers. On Thursday, he worked mainly on the back fields at Pirate City.