The Oakland A’s selected Logan Davidson in the 1st round of the 2019 MLB Draft, with the No. 29 overall pick. The 21-year-old is a shortstop from Clemson University.
Here’s a scouting report on Davidson from MLB Pipeline:
Scouting grades: Hit: 45 | Power: 50 | Run: 55 | Arm: 55 | Field: 55 | Overall: 50
As a North Carolina high schooler, Logan emerged as an early-round prospect for a handful of teams late in the 2016 Draft process. He ultimately turned down the Phillies as 30th-rounder to attend Clemson, where his father Mark had played en route to a big league career. Much like former Clemson star Seth Beer, an Astros first-rounder in 2018, Davidson has confounded evaluators with the dichotomy between his success with metal bats (.939 OPS, 42 homers in two-plus years with the Tigers) and struggles with wood (.570 OPS, three homers in two summers in the Cape Cod League).
If scouts were convinced that Davidson will hit with wood, he’d likely be the first college shortstop drafted in June. A switch-hitter, he has some timing issues and a swing that tends to get long, leading to strikeouts. His strength and leverage already generate plus raw power, and he should have more as he fills out his lanky 6-foot-3 frame.
There are no holes in the rest of Davidson’s game. He produces solid to plus run times and uses his speed to steal a few bases and cover ground at shortstop. He’s tall for the position but should be able to remain there with his athleticism and strong arm.
Pipeline ranked Davidson at No. 22 on their pre-draft board, so he was expected to go around this part of the draft. He was not a reach, and if anything he might have fallen slightly, though as a college infielder you could still consider him more of a “safe” pick than a high-risk, high-reward kind of gamble like we saw in the last two drafts (for Austin Beck and Kyler Murray).
Here are Davidson’s college stats, playing in the ACC, which is one of the better conferences for baseball (around 60 games per season):
2017 (Fr): .286/.388/.473, 12 HR, 42 BB, 53 Ks, 10 SB
2018 (So): .292/.408/.544, 15 HR, 43 BB, 68 Ks, 10 SB
2019 (Jr): .294/.409/.592, 15 HR, 40 BB, 53 Ks, 17 SB
He’s the first player in school history to rack up 10 homers and 10 steals in three different seasons. However, he didn’t hit nearly as well with wood bats in the Cape Cod League (around 40 games per season), which is likely one reason he didn’t go higher in the 1st round:
CCL ‘17: .210/.317/.266, 1 HR, 20 BB, 37 Ks
CCL ‘18: .194/.292/.266, 2 HR, 15 BB, 43 Ks
MLB Network spoke highly of the pick, including a Jed Lowrie comp and optimism that he can overcome his initial struggles with wood bats:
A’s Scouting Director Eric Kubota said (via Ben Ross of NBCS) that they’ve liked Davidson since high school and didn’t think he’d still be available at their pick, that they came away with “favorable impression” about him from Cape Cod League despite bad numbers, and that they ”definitely see [him] staying at shortstop.” For his part, Davidson doesn’t think he’ll have a problem with wood bats, and said, “I like to play with a lot of energy. I have a little spark to me. I just have fun playing the game.”
And a couple takes from Melissa Lockard of The Athletic:
A's take Logan Davidson, the shortstop from Clemson. Lots of tools. Switch hitter. Another up the middle talent. And from the Carolinas where the A's draft so well.— Melissa Lockard (@melissalockard) June 4, 2019
The A's did really well with Eli White, who was at Clemson before Davidson. Guys that start with those tools can move all over the field. Versatility is king.— Melissa Lockard (@melissalockard) June 4, 2019
As if to prove her point, the A’s went to the Carolinas again in the 2nd round, for right-handed pitcher Tyler Baum out of UNC with the No. 66 overall pick.
Fun Fact: Davidson graduated from Clemson in six semesters with a 3.99 GPA, with a degree in management.