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White Sox: Breakdown of Matt Davidson’s Breakout First Half

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CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 14: Matt Davidson
CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 14: Matt Davidson /
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White Sox third baseman, designated hitter Matt Davidson had a surprising first half. Will his production carry over into the second half for South Siders?

Heading into the 2017 season, White Sox infielder Matt Davidson had become all but a bust. Most had high hopes for the third baseman who was acquired by trade when he came over before the 2014 season. The White Sox traded then closer Addison Reed to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Davidson, however he played just one game in a White Sox uniform prior to this season. Have things changed at all under new manager Rick Renteria? Without a doubt, and to illustrate just how much here is an analysis of Davidson’s first half.

When Davidson was drafted back in 2009, it was well known that it was his power that would carry him to the major leagues. While that has played out for the most part in the minors, he struggled making contact in the minors which can be seen by his 191 strikeouts at Charlotte in 2015. Given he went deep twenty or more times in four seasons, Davidson’s aforementioned strikeout issues prevented him from playing with the big club.

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Now that he is in the majors, he is driving the ball out of the yard but at a higher clip than before. Davidson already has 18 home runs, which leads the White Sox at the break and is five away from equaling his high total (23) since he stepped into pro baseball (2012 and 2015 in the minors). Unfortunately his strikeouts haven’t decreased, as he has fanned 106 times in 241 at bats (44 percent) which is even worse than his 2015 percentage at 36.2. Neither are acceptable at the professional level.

To look even closer at his power numbers, let’s examine Davidson’s RBI total so far. Even though it sits at a solid 42, that number might be a bit exacerbated by the amount of home runs he hits. Outside of the eighteen games that he homered in, Davidson has only accumulated nine RBI’s in six other contests. So in other words, Davidson picked up a mere 21.4 percent of his RBI’s if he failed to go deep in that game (assuming he had an RBI).

If anyone thought heading into the season that Davidson would hit .300 they were probably fooling themselves and will continue to do so heading forward. He is currently hitting a mediocre .245 and is not reaching base via the walk very often (only 13 times all season- .284 OBP). To put that into perspective Davidson has fanned 106 times, meaning he has an 8.2 to one K/BB rate at the moment. Davidson isn’t getting to first base with his bat much outside of the long ball as well, which can be seen by his 41 base hits outside of home runs.

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All in all, Davidson has a chance to be a good power bat in the majors, assuming he can cut down on the strikeouts. That is a must, and if he does not, there is no way he will ever make a career for himself in the big leagues. Finding a position might be difficult as well, as he is fielding no higher than .974 anywhere this season. Davidson’s best role might be as a designated hitter, which would suit his power ideally yet a lack of contact could kill rallies as well as his career.

Ready for the deadline action, Sox fans? It is about to begin!

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