White Sox prospect Davidson bypassed once again


At what point does it become apparent that a top prospect sitting in the minor leagues has become a bust?

When the Chicago White Sox traded for Matt Davidson, he was supposed to start the 2014 season as the team’s everyday third baseman.

Highly regarded for his power, Davidson was a 2009 compensatory pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks that had shown there was no longer anything left for him to accomplish at the minor league level.

In 2013, he hit .280/.350/.481 with 17 home runs, 74 RBIs and 32 doubles in 115 games at Triple-A and finished the season with Diamondbacks major league ballclub.

More from White Sox News

Unfortunately, there was nowhere for him to play as both first base (Paul Goldschmidt) and third base (Martin Prado) were occupied. So with a need for bullpen help, he was traded to the White Sox for their closer Addison Reed.

Davidson struggled immediately in Spring Training prompting the White Sox to start his season at Triple-A Charotte. While he did connect for 20 home runs, he would go on to hit a career low .199/.283/.362 with a career high 164 strikeouts in 130 games.

He was so bad, the White Sox didn’t make him a September call-up at the end of the season.

His catastrophe of season may have changed the landscape of Davidson career.

In 2015, Davidson hasn’t been much better. Despite a glaring need at third base on the major league level, he still remains in the minors with no clear promotion in site.

This season, he is hitting .220/.318/.379 with 14 homers, 49 RBIs and 128 strikeouts in 94 games. He has already seen three of his teammates that are infielders reach the majors. The latest of that group was Tyler Saladino.

Jul 18, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox third baseman Tyler Saladino (18) throws out Kansas City Royals second baseman Omar Infante (not pictured) during the sixth inning at U.S Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Saladino has outplayed Davidson the last two seasons at Charlotte, but played just five games at third base. The fact is that Davidson has been so bad, his inexperience at the position is not enough of a concern.

With third base looking like Saladino’s job to lose from here on out, what future role is there for slugging third baseman?

With the White Sox likely to be sellers at the trade deadline, we could see an opening at shortstop. If Alexei Ramirez is moved, the likely candidates to take his place are Saladino, Carlos Sanchez or Tim Anderson.

Saladino is naturally a shortstop and if shifted over, could create an opportunity at third.

Sanchez is another player who came up as a shortstop but played all over the infield in the minors. Defensively, second base is his best position. When Micah Johnson was demoted because of his defense, Sanchez got the call and has been spectacular with the glove all season.

Johnson is destroying Triple-A pitching right now (.333/.384/.496) and is sure to come back up before the end of the season. When he does so, he is going to be playing second base. That would mean shifting Sanchez to the left side. With 52 games under his belt at third in seven minor league seasons, either position is an option.

Anderson is the White Sox number one prospect according to ESPN’s Keith Law ( just about every other publication). While there are some rumblings as to whether his future is at shortstop or the outfield, the fact is that he has played nothing but short in three minor league seasons.

It is hard to see him making the jump from his current situation at Double-A Birmingham to the majors. He still has some work to do with the glove and needs to show a bit more patience at the plate (just 15 walks in 377 plate appearances vs 76 strikeouts). What he can do however is hit and run.

The young shortstop is hitting .306/.355/.399 and has 32 stolen bases in 40 attempts.

Right now, these are three players who all deserve to play in the majors more than Davidson. His only shot at this point will come in the spring of 2016. He must play well out the gate. That way he earns the starting spot at third base or at least convinces the White Sox brass he can platoon and hit left-handed pitching.

If he is not good enough to make it in 2016, then Davidson officially earns the label of being a bust with the White Sox.

Next: Check out this week's power rankings

More from Southside Showdown