J.D. Davis had an excellent season for the New York Mets in 2019. We should expect more of this from him in the future.
In 2019, we had already seen what Jeff McNeil could do against major league pitchers one half-season earlier. We also saw Pete Alonso smack plenty of bombs in the minor leagues. Watching them become All-Star in 2019 for the New York Mets came as little surprise.
The same cannot be said for J.D. Davis. He was brand new to the organization, acquired in an offseason trade with the Houston Astros. When he put together an awesome 2019 season, few saw it coming.
Davis’ season included 453 plate appearances in 140 games played. He hit 22 home runs and added 22 doubles which helped him reach 57 RBI on the year. Maybe most impressive of all, to help separate him from some other sluggers, is the fact that he did it while slashing .307/.369/.527.
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For young players, the ability to hit for high averages is something we cannot overlook. Add in a favorable 38 walks to 97 strikeouts and Davis is far from a burden at the plate as far as discipline goes.
Davis isn’t like some of the other inexperienced players to come up to the Mets in recent years. He’ll play 2020 as a 27-year-old. In the baseball world, he should be reaching his peak.
And it’s possible Davis actually is in his glory years of baseball. After what he did last year in all areas of his offense, I don’t believe year one with the Mets was a fluke.
For a little background on Davis, it’s worth looking at his minor league numbers. From his professional start in 2014, he immediately mixed in a good combination of power and hitting for a high average.
Perhaps the most relevant season to look at is the last one he spent in the minors back in 2018. In 377 plate appearances, Davis hit 17 home runs and drove in 81 runs. He wasn’t short on his slash line either. In this time spent with the Triple-A ball club, Davis slashed .342/.406/.583.
Something else clicked for Davis that year. He was striking out far less than he did before. His 69 strikeouts in 85 games was a huge improvement from earlier years. In 2015, he went down on strikes 157 times in 120 games. The next, he was at 143 in 126 games played.
It’s clear Davis has made some adjustments. While we shouldn’t expect him to channel his inner Daniel Murphy, Just Dingers has unlocked a way to become a better overall hitter.
I’m not sure we can expect Davis to hit .300 ever again. Still, a .280 hitter with pop is something the Mets could certainly use often.
Although I suspect we’ll hear plenty of trade rumors about Davis for at least another year or two, the Mets have a clear path for him starting in left field every day by 2021. Yoenis Cespedes is a free agent after 2020 and that logjam worry will no longer be present.
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Davis is by no means a complete player. At the plate, however, he looks like he has found his groove and will continue to give the Mets more awesomeness as long as they let him.