White Sox have option to rotate designated hitters this season. Could a former top prospect become the full-time DH on the South Side?
So far, the Chicago White Sox have used both Cody Asche and Matt Davidson in the designated hitter role. However they have produced contrasting results, as Asche has fanned five times while Davidson has totaled seven bases. Considering Davidson’s talent, is it possible he takes over the full time role in the near future?
Well, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. Davidson’s big hits (Triple, home run) were against Matt Boyd and Anibal Sanchez, neither of which are likely to be All-Stars in 2017. Compounding that, Asche faced Justin Verlander on Tuesday, who is still one of the best pitchers in the American League.
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Another factor to consider is that the wind was gusting to right Thursday, aiding Davidson’s second inning triple. His home run would have left the park in just about any weather, as it was hit 443 feet to left-center. Even though his triple might have gone out in the summer, some of that would have depended on the conditions.
Looking down the road a bit, both Davidson and Asche are going to have times where they struggle mightily. Even if either of them heats up for a bit, don’t expect the scouts to take long before finding holes in their swings, leading to a significant amount of strikeouts for both. Since Asche has already swung at some pitches out of the zone, this scenario will not take long to occur.
Since the aforementioned concerns will culminate in key situations throughout the season, both players are going to be frustrating to watch. Davidson may be a bit more fun, just due to the upside his power presents. Asche seems to swing an invisible bat for the most part, which can be seen by his 315 strikeouts in 1,188 career MLB at bats. Keep in mind Davidson has fanned 1,083 times since he entered pro ball in 2009, but does posses some run production potential.
To wrap things up, there is a good chance that while Davidson does eventually take over the designated hitter role permanently, he will have long stretches where he struggles. Due to his very issue, don’t be surprised if Asche or others fill the role at times during the season. Keep in mind that a platoon only works if both players can hit, not just one. Therefore, Rick Renteria may eventually decide to start Davidson against righties, which makes sense due to the fact that the hitter matters not the side he bats from.
This is the start of a long year Sox fans. I hope you enjoyed Thursday’s offensive explosion.