Rookie Davis was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 14th round of the 2011 draft. Davis has yet to pitch in a single minor league game, but he won’t have to wait long before he gets his first minor league experience, as he’s set to join the GCL (Gulf Coast League) Yankees on June 18th. (Davis will wear number 53.)
Davis was drafted out of high school, where he put up some pretty impresive numbers: 25-4 with a 1.67 ERA and 422 strikeouts in 209.1 innings. (9-0 with a 1.02 ERA, and 136 strikeouts in 61.1 innings, his Senior year alone.)
While it’s obvious why the Yankees thought so highly of him, it’s also just as obvious why his high school thought highly enough of him to retire his number 24–the first number to be retired in Dixon High School’s history.
If Davis can pitch to his full potential, and subsequently continue to put up the same kind of numbers, it’s only a matter of time before he’s pitching on the mound at Yankee Stadium; which is obviously his ultimate goal.
William “Rookie” Davis–pitcher in the New York Yankees organization–took the time recently to answer some of my questions:
1.) When did you first become interested in baseball? Did you always want to be a pitcher?
I have been interested in baseball for as long as I can remember. I was always a two way player growing up, and through my baseball career, it could have gone either way.
2.) Who was your favorite baseball player growing up? Why?
I had two players that I really looked to in the MLB. One was Cal Ripken Jr. because of the way that he went out every day and did his job. My second player was Roger Clemens and that is because of the way he was a bulldog on the mound. He would attack hitters and never backed down from a hitter no matter the situation.
3.) You were drafted by the New York Yankees in the 14th round of the 2011 draft. What was that process like? Where were you when you first found out? Initial thoughts?
The process went well for me. I was, and still am, very close with my area scout, Scott Lovecamp, and he made the process that much better. Having him over to my family home and sitting around talking about baseball and what the Yankees are all about was great. I was at home with my family when I first heard the news and my initial thoughts were excitement. Wondering what it would be like down here if I signed and getting ready to make the climb to the big leagues.
4.) Was it all the more special that you were drafted by a team with as rich of a history as the New York Yankees? Or would you have been equally excited to of been drafted by another team?
Yes, definitely. The Yankees made it a very good experience. Being drafted by any team is something special for a baseball player, but the Yankees made it that much more memorable.
5.) What’s the plan for this year, in terms of playing baseball?
This year the plan is to get better each and every outing. Be consistent with my delivery and just learn to pitch. Learn as much as I can from the guys down here and from the pitching coaches, coordinators, and trainers. Learning a routine and getting in the work that I will need for the years to come.
6.) What does your daily schedule consist of at the moment? Any daily baseball routines, or does it vary from day to day?
The days are usually routine. Go to the field. Go through the stretching and throwing programs. PFP’s and then shag for batting practice. Some days it may vary, but it’s usually pretty routine.
7.) Bowman produced your 1st Bowman card this year. Have you picked one up yet?
Yes. My family and I have bought a few cards to keep at home.
8.) While we’re on the subject of cards, did you collect them at all as a kid?
I had a very big collection of cards when I was younger. My dad collected cards and passed a few down to me here and there and that got me interested, and I began collecting them shortly after.
9.) Do you have any player that you model your game after? Or do you go out there and just do you?
Right now I’m going out there and working on learning myself and my body. Learning my style of pitching and just taking it from there. I would like to think I model my pitching from Roger Clemens due to his aggressive style of pitching, but we will see what happens down the line as I begin to really develop as a pitcher.
10.) Your High School baseball team made the decision to retire your number 24. What does it mean to you that they thought that highly of you?
It means a lot that the coaching staff and administration retired my number. It has never happened at my high school and for them to think highly enough of me to do that is special. I’d like to thank the fans, coaches, and family that came out because they made the night something I won’t forget.
11.) Of the pitches in your arsenal, which one do you feel is your most effective? Which do you feel needs the most work?
I feel that my fastball is my best pitch right now. I have been able to have success throwing that during spring training and extended spring training. I need to continue being more consistent with my curveball and change up. Being able to throw them behind in the count and get myself a few ground ball outs here and there.
12.) Lastly, what advice would you give to kids who are just starting out that dream of playing professional baseball one day?
I would tell them that there are going to be people that will tell you it’s not going to happen. That you will never be able to do this, or do that. You have to go out and prove it to yourself that can do those things. Growing up in a small town, I had the opportunity of hearing both sides. People will be in your corner and back you up no matter what, and others will try to ruin your dreams. Go out and play hard and have fun doing what you love every day, because one day it may be over, and you don’t want to look back and say “what if…”.
Big thanks to Rookie Davis for taking the time to answer my questions.
You can follow him on twitter: @rookdavis24