Mets: J.D. Davis may have a bigger role in 2019 than expected
By Mark Sales
Several new members of the New York Mets will play key roles in 2019. Exactly what type of role could J.D. Davis fill?
During the offseason, the New York Mets traded three minor leaguers to the Houston Astros in exchange for J.D. Davis and minor leaguer Cody Bohanek.
At the time, three minor leaguers seemed like a lot to give up for a reserve infielder. However, it seems like he will serve a bigger role on this team than he did with his old team.
Davis is a player with a lot of potential. He batted .342 and had a .406 OBP in Triple-A in 2018 while adding 17 home runs and 81 RBI. He couldn’t find enough at bats at the Major League level to get going due to a stacked Astros team. He has been sent back and forth over the past two seasons.
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Davis is primarily a third baseman but has some experience at first base and in the outfield. On the Mets, J.D. will see most of his time at first base and outfield.
According to Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen, Davis will share time at first base with whoever wins the starting job and play outfield on occasion. BVW has preached that he doesn’t want guys playing 160 games a season, so acquiring guys like Davis, Keon Broxton, and Jed Lowrie allows the team to be more flexible and mix and match depending on the opponent that day.
Davis owns left-handed pitching, so expect him in the lineup when there’s a soft-tossing southpaw facing the Mets. It may be pretty easy to say that he’s just the replacement for Wilmer Flores, but I think the Mets liked his ability to play outfield and high ceiling being just 25 years old and six years of team control.
In years past we’ve seen many injuries, and due to those injuries, we’ve seen many guys get at-bats that probably shouldn’t have been playing every day. If players get hurt this year, the team is better prepared with guys like Davis that can step up into a bigger role. Davis proved in the minor leagues that he can excel if given regular at-bats.
There’s another perk to the addition of Davis. The Mets are open to using Davis on the mound on occasion. He was a closer in college at Cal State Fullerton. His fastball ranges from 90-94mph and he also throws a decent curve.
The Astros used Davis on the mound for 2.2 innings total in his career. He’s given up just two hits, though one was a solo home run by Ian Kinsler. He struck out four of the 11 batters he’s faced, including Khris Davis and Shin-Soo Choo, which is a 13.5 K/9.
You won’t see Mickey Callaway pull Davis from right field to the mound like a Little League game, but perhaps he sees some innings in blowout games to save the Mets bullpen. This will at least save the team from embarrassing moments like having Jose Reyes on the mound to throw the ball down the middle and give up six runs in a 25-4 loss.
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In a perfect world, the Mets everyday players will stay healthy all year long and never go through a slump. But we all know that just won’t happen. It’s a six month, 162 game season and it takes a whole team to succeed. Having a guy like Davis to fill in when guys need a day off will be huge, plus he will be a key bat in the lineup against lefties.