Feb 28, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Chicago White Sox infielder Matt Davidson poses for a portrait during photo day at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
One player who was recently sent down to the Triple-A Charlotte Knights camp was third baseman Matt Davidson, who at one time was one of the up-and-coming prospects of the organization.
Though Davidson is no longer in the big league camp, he still can maybe one day become an impact player for the White Sox if he can turn his struggles into success.
Mar 4, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Chicago White Sox third baseman Matt Davidson against the Los Angeles Dodgers during a spring training baseball game at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Yes, it will be a tough road for the 23-year-old, but he’s still very young, and maybe more time at the minor league level (and less pressure) is what the prospect needs.
Davidson, who bats and throws right-handed, played in eight spring training games before being relocated to the Triple-A camp. In those games, his numbers were not impressive.
The third baseman batted .143 with just two hits in 14 at-bats (15 plate appearances. One of his hits went for a double, but other than that, he had one walk, no RBIs and he struck out four times.
Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune wrote this following on Davidson as she looked at his spring as well:
"“Davidson had a rough time in his first season in Charlotte, and while he went only 2-for-14 this spring while hampered by shoulder soreness, Hahn is not ready to write him off …”"
His slash line this spring was the aforementioned .143 batting average with a .200 on-base percentage and .214 slugging percentage. Numbers like that will not keep you out of the majors, but spring numbers like those will get a player sent to Double-A or even traded elsewhere.
Remember, Davidson is no ordinary player. He was a first-round selection, 35th overall, in the 2009 MLB First Year Player Draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks. He was acquired by the White Sox on Dec. 16, 2013 in a trade for then-closer Addison Reed.
Davidson has played two seasons in the minors at the Triple-A level (245 games) where he has a career .238 average with a .315 OBP and .419 SLG.
In his first season with the Knights, Davidson had numbers of .199/.283/.362 in 130 games. In his 478 at-bats, he scored 59 runs and tallied 55 RBIs on 95 hits (18 doubles, 20 home runs).
Batting .199 at the highest minors level with the other aforementioned numbers will not make him a candidate for the White Sox third baseman choice if they ever decide to part ways with Conor Gilaspie at the position.
But with just one season in the organization, don’t give up on Davidson just yet. Maybe he’s a late bloomer, but I’m guessing if he doesn’t play up to his potential this season in the minors, maybe the White Sox will look a different way as well.
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So, it is most likely safe to say this is a make-or-break year for Davidson with the White Sox, right?
I’m cheering for the guy, because he was a first-round talent for a reason, and if the White Sox saw enough in him to trade their only closer at the time for him, he has the ability to put a major league career together. With that said, it will be up to Davidson if he is able to combine his talent and make his mark in the White Sox organization in 2015.