09 Jun

spinning wheels

Five years ago this month, as the MLB draft loomed, the most highly touted Mississippi-connected player was Chris Stratton, the reigning SEC pitcher of the year from Mississippi State. He went in the first round, 20th overall to San Francisco. But he wasn’t the first Mississippian picked. Toronto pulled a bit of a surprise by taking D.J. Davis out of Stone County High with the 17th pick and signing him for $1.7 million. Five years later, Davis is still in A-ball and seems to be spinning his wheels. Once a top 10 prospect in the Blue Jays’ system, the lefty-hitting outfielder is hitting .234 with five extra-base hits, 10 RBIs and 14 steals in 45 games for high-A Dunedin the Florida State League. He hit .197 during an injury-interrupted season at Dunedin last year and struggled in winter ball in Australia also. His career average is .238. He’s about to turn 23, and he may be running out of time on the developmental track. Davis’ struggles are indicative of why MLB teams are reluctant to use high draft picks on Mississippi prep players. The track record isn’t good. P.S. Former Mississippi State teammates Jacob Robson and Nathaniel Lowe will be reunited as teammates in the Midwest League All-Star Game on June 20 in Midland, Mich. Both 2016 draftees, they are on the East roster. Robson is in the midst of a big year at West Michigan, Detroit’s low Class A affiliate. The 5-foot-10, 175-pound outfielder is batting .332 with 25 RBIs and 38 runs in 56 games. An eighth-round pick last June, Robson hit .294 at two rookie levels in 2016. Lowe, a 6-4, 225 first baseman, is hitting .289 with three homers and 27 RBIs in 50 games for Bowling Green in the Tampa Bay system.

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