Mets: Let’s not forget the strengths J.D. Davis brings to the field
By Tim Boyle
This winter was a difficult one for J.D. Davis. The starting New York Mets third baseman was the subject of plenty of trade rumors and speculation. The lone member of the team to go to arbitration, there was always a little doubt about what city he would call home in 2021 and whether or not his employer actually liked him.
The business side of baseball pushed back at Davis following a disappointing 2020 campaign. While it wasn’t dreadful by any stretch, Davis wasn’t the same player last year as he was one season prior. Davis saw many of his offensive numbers plummet.
Not quite in the doghouse but also not sitting at the table for supper, Davis might be the only everyday player that could lose his starting gig. As doom and gloom as it may feel at times with him, I want to take a moment of your day to remind everyone about the positive things he brings to the field.
An offensive weapon the Mets can benefit from having
Despite the down year in about half as many plate appearances, Davis remains an offensive weapon for the Mets. If he can fall somewhere in between what he did in 2019 and 2020, the Mets have a very good hitter they can use in a variety of ways.
Although Davis did see his batting average fall from .307 to .247, his OBP was actually up two points last year. The rise from .369 to .371 isn’t significant. Fortunately, both numbers are incredibly promising to see from a guy we don’t necessarily think of as an on-base weapon.
Maybe Davis isn’t the power hitter he was in 2019. More likely, he won’t hit for the same average. Whatever type of hitter he ultimately becomes, his ability to reach base could keep him in the major leagues even in a more limited role at some point.
Despite defensive woes, J.D. Davis gives the Mets flexibility
I know Davis is a butcher with a glove on his hand but at least he can be serviceable at a few spots—or at least the four corner positions.
Davis is neither a third baseman nor left fielder. However, because he has the experience at both and can at least make the routine plays, the Mets can survive injuries a little better with his presence and possibly even shake up a lineup on short notice. Late in games, with the bench emptying, Davis gives the Mets a few more choices.
Don’t get me wrong; he’s no Jeff McNeil. Davis is far from a super-utility man. His willingness to learn positions and occasionally perform well at them should not be overlooked.
J.D. Davis has been embraced as one of the core members of the ball club
Things could have gone a lot differently for Davis. Coming over from the Houston Astros, his teammates could have shunned him. He could have fit in poorly. He could have been an outcast.
Not so. Davis fit in almost immediately with the Mets. He’s a core member of the franchise albeit the one most on the outside—at least according to the actions and words of the front office. However, his friendship with guys like Dominic Smith is clear. He’s not just another player on this ball club. Davis is a key employee and his presence in the locker room matters.
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Small things like this do matter. The most talked-about word in sports these days is culture. When it comes to Davis, he is a big part of what the Amazins are building.