Cubs top prospect Brennen Davis underwent back surgery yesterday, as Meghan Montemurro of the Chicago Tribune first reported. According to Montemurro, the procedure cauterized some blood vessels that had been causing Davis discomfort; he’s not dealing with any structural issues.
A more specific recovery timetable will become clear after he undergoes further testing next week, but Sahadev Sharma of the Athletic reports that he’s expected to miss multiple months. The organization isn’t ruling out the possibility the 22-year-old could return this season, but Sharma suggests there’s a chance he’ll be out for the year. He is expected to make a full recovery, and the Cubs don’t anticipate it being an issue beyond this season.
Baseball America recently ranked Davis the game’s #41 overall prospect, the top farmhand in the Chicago system. The former second-round pick is credited by evaluators with a rare blend of power and athleticism, and the Cubs are certainly hopeful he’ll develop into a long-term regular. BA suggests Davis has All-Star upside, although he’s not without some questions about his bat-to-ball skills. He’d been off to a slow start to the 2022 campaign with Triple-A Iowa, hitting .195/.286/.299 with a 34.1% strikeout rate through 91 plate appearances. Montemurro suggests he’s been dealing with back soreness dating back to Spring Training, so it’s certainly possible the injury played into his subpar performance.
Davis wasn’t going to earn a call-up before turning things around, but he seemed a candidate for a midseason promotion if he righted the ship offensively. The surgery seems to make a 2022 big league debut unlikely. Even if Davis can return to the playing field this year, it stands to reason the Cubs would want to see him have a lengthier run of success against Triple-A arms before adding him to the majors.
While he recovers, Davis will remain on the minor league injured list — where he’s been for a few weeks. If he’s not promoted during the season, Chicago will have to add him to the 40-man roster at the start of the offseason to keep other teams from selecting him in the Rule 5 draft.