Colorado Rockies: Pitching prospect Noah Davis focused on development amid lockout
By Tyler Paddor
Following what some would consider a lackluster trade deadline for the Colorado Rockies, the ballclub came away with right-handed pitcher Noah Davis.
Fresh of a March 2018 Tommy John Surgery, Davis was drafted in the 11th round out of UC Santa Barbara by the Cincinnati Reds. The righty made huge leaps this season following the Minor League off year. He finished with a 3.60 ERA in 100 innings this year at High-A, flashing a more rounded and advanced pitch arsenal.
Viewed as a potential Rule 5 target, Davis was added to the Rockies’ 40-man roster following the 2021 season. The former UCSB Gaucho is one of nine starters on the 40-man roster and it could be argued, after an impressive showing, he could be 7th on the Rockies’ rotation depth chart.
However, being added to the 40-man roster this go around served as a double-edged sword. As Davis discussed in an interview with Blake Street Banter (3:30 mark), it makes for a difficult transition into a new organization given that he has a wave of new teammates and coaches to get acclimated with.
Fortunately, Davis is making the most of this peculiar situation.
Davis and other pro-ball players have been holding their own minicamp. The group includes Connor Joe, Dodgers pitcher Tony Gonsolin, and Phillies pitcher Hans Crouse along with a slew of other minor league players.
Offseason live at-bats are essential for both hitters and pitchers to stay mentally fit for when baseball resumes.
For Davis, he has an uncommon element he’s adding to the mix (and tweeting about). The 6’2″ righty has been diving into his own pitch data to identify what he needs to continue working on as he ascends into a big league talent.
Perhaps most notably, Davis commented on his splitter, an offering he’s sparingly used due to the pitch’s natural difficulty.
He’s spent significant time researching how to improve the pitch and putting his knowledge into practice. When a splitter is executed properly it works somewhat like a heavy changeup.
It’s unclear how a splitter would fare at Coors Field given that it relies so heavily on vertical movement. Still, Davis’ dedication as a student of the game and the possibility of him adding a legitimate 5th pitch to his arsenal is promising.
Jumping back in his arsenal a bit, Davis elaborated on the development of his curveball. Contrary to the nature of a splitter, Davis noted that he’s evolved his curveball to operate with more horizontal movement and less vertical movement, eyeing “more of a sweeper profile (closer to 0 vertical break).” A sweeping curveball differentiates from a slider due to the spin axis.
As Davis mentions in his tweets, a sweeping curveball is capable of breaking more overall than a normal curveball. In today’s game, pitchers seek more total break as it correlates to pitch production.
All in all, the recently acquired Davis brings an exciting analytical mindset to the Rockies organization. The ability to identify potential improvements and implement them hints at a lot of untapped potential in the arm of Noah Davis.
It will be worth watching how much his commitment to improvement pays off in 2022 and beyond.