White Sox: Has the clock run out on Matt Davidson?

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Jun 30, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox third baseman Matt Davidson (22) hits an RBI single scoring Chicago White Sox designated hitter Avisail Garcia (26) in the fourth inning of their game against the Minnesota Twins at U.S. Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 30, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox third baseman Matt Davidson (22) hits an RBI single scoring Chicago White Sox designated hitter Avisail Garcia (26) in the fourth inning of their game against the Minnesota Twins at U.S. Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports /
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White Sox former top prospect was injured in first game with team this season. Has time run out for third baseman to make an impact with this franchise?

In December of 2013, the White Sox traded closer Addison Reed to the Diamondbacks for third baseman Matt Davidson. Following the deal, many Sox fans were elated considering the fact Davidson was ranked as one of the top 100 prospects in all of baseball at the time. However things haven’t turned out the way the Sox had hoped, meaning the question must be asked. Is it time to close the book on Davidson as a Sox building block?

Davidson entered pro ball in 2009 with the Diamondbacks, and managed only two home runs in 270 at bats with Single A Short Season Yakima Bears. The following year, he managed to hit 18 home runs and drive in 90 runs (486 at bats) with two different Singe A teams. However a concerning pattern formed. Even though Davidson produced in the power department, his BB/K rate was terrible. With 55 BB’s and 134 K’s, his lack of contact started to raise red flags.

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The next season Davidson remained at the Single A level, had 535 at bats and once again produced big numbers when it came to producing runs. He left the yard 20 times, and knocked in 106 runs, but the strikeout total remained extremely high. Davidson fanned 147 times against Single A ball pitching. While he was driving in runs there was a disturbing lack of contact even at the lower levels of the minor leagues.

Following a few seasons against the lower minors, Davidson made the jump to Double A in 2012. There was some good news in the strikeout department, as his K’s dropped from 147 to 126. But keep in mind that Davidson made less plate appearances, as he only took 486 official at bats. However, he did go deep 23 times and knock in 76 runs.

Fast forward to 2013, the season Davidson made it to the big leagues with the Diamondbacks. However he still spent most of the season in Triple A, where he managed to hit .280 with 17 home runs and 74 RBI’s. Even though he struggled to make contact, he batting average was never terrible (between .261 and .289 minus 2009 where he didn’t play in as many games).

Even though he only had 443 at bats in 2013, Davidson still struggled to make consistent contact in Triple A. With 134 strikeouts that season, not to mention only 46 walks he showed very little improvement over his time at the minor league level. Also, while in the major leagues, Davidson hit three home runs and knocked in 12 runs in his first season with the Diamondbacks. He fanned 24 times in 76 at bats.

That would be the final season for Davidson in the Diamondbacks organization. Since being acquired by the Sox, the results have been anything but stellar. He initially struggled to hit above .200 at the Triple A level in a full season (.199 in 2014 and .203 in 2015) while striking out at a ridiculous rate. With 164 strikeouts in ’14 and 191 in ’15, his strikeout to at-bat rate was terrible considering he never had more than 528 at bats in a season. Davidson did have a solid season for Triple A Charlotte Knights in 2016. He hit .268 with 10 home runs and 46 RBIs.

On top of that, Davidson has played in exactly one game at the big league level for the Sox this season. And in that game, he only lasted two at bats due to the fact he was injured rounding first base. So, should the Sox cut ties with Davidson? Or give him one last chance?

With all of the data provided above, what is the answer to Davidson’s issues? Well even though he has power, Davidson has a long swing that major league pitchers can easily expose. When he runs into a pitch he can hit it a long way, but the lack of contact might just haunt him his whole career. Not to mention ruin it as well.

Next: Should White Sox Pursue Greg Holland?

To conclude this, it is unlikely that Davidson ever reaches his top 100 prospect potential unless he makes some major swing adjustments. If he does, then he has a legit shot due to his natural strength. However if he fails to do so, don’t expect him to ever become the player we were hoping for Sox fans.

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