SURPRISE, Ariz. — Outfield prospect Brennen Davis is part of the Cubs’ future. And while it might be awhile before he plays at the corner of Clark and Addison, he already is getting rave reviews.
Davis is only three years removed from playing high school baseball about 30 minutes down the road in Gilbert, Arizona. But the Cubs aren’t treating their 2018 second-round pick like a kid.
Davis, 21, has been getting more opportunities to show what he can do. And after spending last season at the Cubs’ alternate site in South Bend, Indiana, taking part in his first big-league spring training has been an eye-opening experience.
‘‘I’m taking everything that I can from this experience,’’ Davis said. ‘‘The way the guys work, being prepared, the preparation it takes to go be successful, I see it from all the guys. I’m gonna take that into my season and hopefully have a successful season.’’
‘‘He’s becoming a man right in front of [our eyes],’’ manager David Ross said. ‘‘Every time I see him, I’m like, ‘This guy’s just one of the best athletes every time he steps out on the field.’ It’s been fun to watch that.’’
In his first full minor-league season in 2019, Davis had a .305/.381/.525 slash line in 50 games at Class A South Bend. With no minor-league season in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, working at the Cubs’ alternate site enabled him to train against higher competition, including right-hander Adbert Alzolay.
‘‘He’s a great friend of mine,’’ Alzolay said. ‘‘I have so much respect for him because he’s still super-young. . . . He’s still learning; he’s still developing. But to me, he’s gonna be really, really good.’’
When the Cubs were building what ultimately would become their championship core, players such as Kris Bryant, Javy Baez Willson Contreras and Anthony Rizzo became pieces of a loaded farm system.
The Cubs’ system has had to restock after those players graduated to the majors, and Davis has a chance to be the face of the next wave. He’s ranked as the Cubs’ top position-player prospect by MLB Pipeline, Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus.
‘‘I’m just here to help Chicago win a championship when it’s my time,’’ Davis said. ‘‘So, I mean, [the] media is awesome, but you don’t really take anything into account. It’s just what you can do to help the team win.’’
Davis’ time in big-league camp hasn’t gone unnoticed by the players in the Cubs’ clubhouse. And what he might lack in age, he has made up for in his desire to learn and soak up everything from the players around him.
‘‘I think he’s gonna be an incredible baseball player,’’ center fielder Ian Happ said. ‘‘I really am impressed by his wanting to be around and ask questions. He’s really attentive. I know that in this spring-training environment, it’s difficult to work younger guys in with the group that’s going to start at Wrigley from a numbers and [safety] protocol standpoint. But it’s been great to get around him a little bit more.
‘‘I remember, as a young guy, just being able to be around and ask questions and learn. Having a guy like Jason [Heyward] in the outfield that you can ask and learn from is huge. There’s a lot of things that change from being in the minor leagues to being the big leagues from a responsibility standpoint, from relying on the other guys to the analytics part of it.
‘‘[Davis] hasn’t played baseball in a full year. He’s practiced a lot, but he hasn’t played. So a lot of those guys are just eager to get out here and actually play baseball and show what they can do.’’