Rattlers' Johnny Davis Takes Unconventional Path to Pro Baseball

By Ryan Rodig | ryan.rodig@wearegreenbay.com

Published 05/14 2014 09:57PM

Updated 05/14 2014 10:37PM

(WFRV-TV) - What Johnny Davis lacks in experience, he makes up for in confidence.

"I always knew I was going to be a professional athlete," said Davis.  "I just never knew what sport I was going to play."

Before being selected in the 22nd round of the 2013 Draft Davis' baseball background consisted of only a couple of months of little league at age 13, and one year at West Los Angeles Community College.

"It's a blessing," said Davis.  "It just shows what type of competitor I am. I compete.  I went out there never playing and just held my own and competed with guys that played all their life."

The 23-year-old switch-hitter caught MLB scouts attention with one jaw-dropping attribute, his blazing speed.  When Davis' older brother Tyree tried out for the Twins and impressed with his quickness, brother introduced Johnny to scouts.  Johnny then went on to run 6.1 and 6.0 seconds in the 60 yard dash which led to him being scouted as well.

"Johnny Davis is the closest minor league baseball player that I've seen, that could steal first base," said Timber Rattlers Manager Matt Erickson.  "Right now he's learning so much about the game, but he's learning fast."

Just how speedy is the 5'1"0 177 lb Timber Rattler center fielder?

"There's some laser timings of the 30's (yard dash) and I believe he did have the fastest time of anybody in the organization including (Brewers CF) Carlos Gomez and some of the guys everyone knows on TV," added Erickson.

Erickson says he's had to warn umpires about his lead-off hitter before the team begins a series.

"He's not like a normal player running down the base paths" said Erickson.  "On a routine ground ball there's a good chance he's going to be safe.  So he's surprised some of the umpires already earlier this season."

Many people are surprised Davis made it to this point.  In some ways he is as well.  Davis grew up in Compton, California surrounded by crime, drugs and and an uneasy path to achieving your dreams.

"It was unreal, what you see on TV that's how it used to really be," said Davis.  "It used to really be bad.  It used to be hard to go to school.  Going through the things you go through everyday, the stuff that you see that kids shouldn't see, it's unreal. 

So how did Davis make it out?

"You just got to be strong," he says.  "It either makes you or breaks, and it made me."

So while Davis knows he's far from a finished project, he also knows how lucky he is to go to work and practice bunting, base stealing, or angles in the outfield every day.

And that confidence he brings every day?  It's for a good reason.  He's already overcome a lot, and he says he's not stopping on his way to the big leagues.

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