CARY, N.C. -
The day didn't end with a win for Braxton Davidson
and his Roberson (Asheville, N.C.)
But what a performance the outfielder put on last weekend in the National High School Invitational.
Or should we say infielder? Davidson started the NHSI tournament game against Mountain Pointe at first, but was switched to center before the fourth inning.
He put on a show at the plate with two hits, two walks and scored two runs as well.
It isn't just what he does, but how he does it. One ball was hit high and looked gone for sure, but came up just short to give him a double. The power he displayed was as impressive as the quality of the at-bats. He didn't waste pitches and made the most of the opponent's mistakes. His patience was notable.
That approach is what's served him well all season and it's been the key.
"I've stayed relaxed and I'm just not letting the little things get to me. These have been hard-fought games," he said after a 10-9 loss to Mountain Pointe, an exciting roller-coaster of a match that saw the teams trading big innings through 10 frames.
The senior hails from Arden, N.C., and is committed to the University of North Carolina. The big left-handed first baseman is one of the two top prospects in this year's MLB Draft from North Carolina (North Buncombe pitcher Alex Destino is the other) and is projected to be a first round selection.
"I'm thinking about it a little, but right now it's all about Roberson."
Maybe that sounds like too perfect an answer, but the focus toward the finish line of the draft is pressure-filled. National attention pre-draft has increased over the years, particularly with MLB Network now televising the early rounds. To be anything else but mentally centered during that time could lead to struggles. Now is certainly not the time. If those struggles come, however, Davidson doesn't show any concern.
"My dad taught me to believe in myself. There will be ups and downs and I understand that," said Davidson, a MaxPreps Preseason All-American
and one of the Top 10 MLB Draft prospects this season
Davidson has exhibited his talents at the plate and on the mound, making the showcase rounds over the years and being named to the 2013 Underclass First Team in 2013, and 2014 Perfect Game First Team All American. He says there is no difficulty in transitioning from pitcher to position player.
"I've felt comfortable wherever I've played. I like to show versatility, so I don't mind where I play."
He'll soon know exactly where his future will be and the lessons he's learned this year have been simple: Keep it simple. That, he says, is what has carried him.
"I've had good at-bats and I'm seeing a lot of pitches. That's important because I love to hit. Having a routine and staying with it has been huge."
He paused and looked away for a moment, then said, "I'm trusting myself."