What is it like to be Astros J.D. Davis right now?
On the one hand, J.D. Davis is fighting for a spot on the 25 man roster with the reigning World Series champion Astros.
On the other hand, he is facing a very steep uphill battle. With names on the infield depth chart such as Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, Yuli Gurriel, and Marwin Gonzalez, there is not a lot of playing time to be had.
And then, of course, there is the competition to back up all the stars. A.J. Reed is making his case. Tony Kemp keeps coming back for more. Kyle Tucker is on the rise with two home runs already in Spring Training.
So where does that leave Davis?
Who is J.D. Davis?
On Monday, he hit an impressive home run in the split-squad game against the Mets. In five at-bats, Davis has a home run with three RBI and .600 average. Admittedly it is a small sample size. But it speaks volumes for the focus and intensity with which Davis has come into camp.
Drafted in the fifth round out of Cal State Fullerton, Davis has the background and the minor league stats to warrant serious consideration. Over the course of 422 minor league games, he has hit 88 home runs with 312 RBIs, posting a slash line of .282/.353./.509.
Davis was given an opportunity in 2017, making the most of his debut with 14 hits in 24 games, including four home runs. With those numbers and his hot start in Spring Training, the question for the Astros is simply what to do with him.
How Does He Fit?
The short-term answer is that maybe he does not. The Astros did not lose much from last year’s team plus the depth of their farm system is well-known.
The long-term answer seems to rely on his versatility. A third baseman by nature, Davis might need to expand his repertoire to include outfield positions. It seems that he is open to this and will get some opportunities this spring. There is also the growing concern over Gurriel’s hand. Maybe this is the chance Davis needs?
Or maybe this is the year that Davis becomes the centerpiece of another blockbuster trade from General Manager Jeff Luhnow. With the window wide open for another run at the World Series, he could play his way into becoming a coveted asset for a rebuilding team.
For the time being, the Davis is clearly trying to establish himself with the Astros. But it is hard to imagine him finding an entrenched spot in this lineup anytime soon. With the probability of injuries, you need to have players like Davis available.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference and MiLB.com***