by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Over the weekend the Astros summoned J.D. Davis from Triple-A, inserting him at 3B (with Alex Bregman continuing to fill in at shortstop for the injured Carlos Correa). Preseason we pegged him as the team’s #8 prospect, earning a C+ grade, but has a strong minor league campaign elevated that status? First, the numbers:
- Double-A (351 AB) – .279, 21 HR, 60 RBI, 49 R, 5 SB
- Triple-A (61 AB) – .295, 5 HR, 18 RBI, 10 R, 0 SB
There is no disputing the power potential, after hitting 23 HR (as well as 34 doubles and 1 triple) a year ago. There’s no red flag when it comes to his HR/FB (24.7% at Double-A, 25.0% at Triple-A), and there also isn’t any luck behind the numbers (.317 BABIP at each level he’s played). So what is the problem?
The concern is his ability to make consistent contact, something that could ultimately sabotage him.
At Double-A this season he posted a 23.2% strikeout rate, which on the surface looks like a solid number. However behind it is a 14.1% SwStr%, and that could mean significantly more strikeouts against advanced pitching (as it is he had a 26.5% strikeout rate at Double-A in ’16). While it was a small sample size, it’s interesting to note that the SwStr% rose even higher upon reaching Triple-A (15.9%) and that further clouds the issue.
His approach, as described by MLB.com, certainly backs up that concern:
“Davis delivers power to all fields, though he does so more with strength than bat speed and has an aggressive, pull-happy mentality that also yields a lot of strikeouts. He could hit 20-25 homers per year in the big leagues, though he most likely won’t offer much in the way of batting average or on-base percentage.”
You have to make contact in order to tap into your power, and experienced pitching could definitely take advantage. He may be able to hit a few balls over the fence, but there will likely be a cost (think an average in the .240ish range).
Davis may get an extended look, with Correa still a few weeks away, but unless he shows an improved approach the results likely won’t be there. The swings and misses will plague him, and with power more prevalent around the game the concerns far outweigh the potential rewards.
Sources – MILB.com, MLB.com, Fangraphs
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