Logan Davidson has heard the whispers.
Despite being a career .290 hitter with double-digit home run totals each of his three seasons at Clemson, Davidson has his doubters. There are some in Major League Baseball that question whether the Tigers' shortstop can produce the same numbers using a wood bat.
They point to Davidson’s struggles in back-to-back summers in the Cape Cod League, which uses only wooden bats as evidence. In 79 games over two separate stints in the Cape, Davidson barley hit .200 and homered just four times.
But Clemson head coach Monte Lee said any team that passes on Davidson during this week’s MLB draft does so at its own peril. Davidson is considered a lock to be taken in the opening round of the draft, which begins Monday at 7 p.m.
The opening two rounds will take place Monday with rounds 3-10 on Tuesday and rounds 11-40 on Wednesday.
Baseball America has Davidson listed as the No. 18 prospect. Most mock drafts have Davidson being selected between the 15th and 30th overall picks, and heading anywhere from Atlanta to Milwaukee to Seattle.
“I’ve told every scout, find me a box that you cannot check with Logan,” Lee said. “Look at his total body of work. This is a guy that has played every inning since he’s been here, never been taken out of a game. He’s hit .300 or close to it every single year he’s been here, he’s hit double-digit home runs, double-digit stolen bases, a .400 on-base percentage three years in a row.
He's an A-plus defender and graduated with a 3.9 GPA in three years. And is the son of a former big leaguer. The make-up, the pedigree, the consistency, the work ethic, he just checks all the boxes.”
Lee said some MLB teams place more emphasis on what happens in the Cape Cod League than other clubs.
“It depends on the organization and how much they value a season at Cape Cod,” Lee said. “Each organization looks at those things differently. Some teams really value the Cape more than college numbers. Most teams look at both. So, he didn’t have a great summer in the Cape, big deal. There’s not many guys that are true shortstops in this draft, and I know Logan is a shortstop. That’s where he will play in the big leagues, plus he can hit and hit for power. He’s the best defensive shortstop in this draft.”
Davidson understands the stigma that comes with a reputation of not being able to make the transition from an aluminum bat to a wood bat. It has derailed the careers of many a top college hitter.
But Davidson said he has confidence in his abilities and isn’t concerned about what he did in summer ball.
“At the end of the day, if you can hit, you can hit and I know I can hit with any bat you put into my hands,” said Davidson, who hit a career-high .293 with 15 HRs and 55 runs batted in for the Tigers this season. “The Cape gives you a lot of adversity in general with the strike zone, the wooden bats and all the pitchers up there. The pitchers are the best in the country."
Davidson, who was drafted in the 30th round by the Philadelphia Phillies coming out of high school, is convinced that the adversity he faced last summer will help him down the road.
“Dealing with that kind of lifestyle, facing that adversity and then getting up the next day and having to face that adversity all over again is only going to make me better,” Davidson said. “Once I figured that out, I started to hit better. I had some good at-bats later in the summer, hit some balls hard.
"I got a little unlucky. It was frustrating, but in a way I’m glad I went through that because a lot of guys don’t go through what I have. Baseball is a game of failure and I’ve been there."
Having his father Mark Davidson around has helped him through the maturation process over the past three years. Mark Davidson played six season in the big leagues, winning a world series with Minnesota in 1987. The former Clemson standout, who was taken by the Twins in the 11th round in 1982, worked as a volunteer assistant coach for the Tigers in 2018, while finishing up his history degree at Clemson.
“Having my father around has been a huge help for me," Logan Davidson said. “Anytime I had a question or wanted to know something, I just went to him because he’d been through the same thing. Most dads don’t know what it’s like or what the process is like, but he’s been there. Having him there in my side pocket has been really beneficial for me.”
A sentiment shared by Lee.
“It was awesome having Mark here last year,” Lee said. “If you didn’t know Logan and Mark were father and son, you’d have never known it watching them in practice. Mark worked with the outfielders and never said anything to Logan.
"They did their thing one on one. We didn’t do a lot of coaching with Logan’s swing. His dad taught him how to hit. I think his dad is his comfort zone. When he struggles at the plate, he’s going to go back to his dad, back to his base.”
Logan Davidson received his degree in management in early May and admitted watching his dad walk across the stage to receive his college degree last year was a proud moment. Mark Davidson has gone back to work, so he hasn’t had as much time to spend with the team this year.
“It was really cool to see him come back and get his degree after 37 years,” Logan Davidson said. “It’s kind of funny to think that I graduated a year after my dad did. That whole experience was just awesome. He was my greatest asset here. That professional approach that he had. I think the guys really enjoyed having him here. I missed not having him around this year.”
What does Logan Davidson expect Monday night?
“I like to tell myself that I’m not an emotional guy,” he said. “But I think it’s going to be more emotional moment for me when I hear my name called. It’s going to be one of those life-changing moments. I’ll flash back to all the hard work I’ve put in and all the people that have helped me get here. That’ll be emotional.”