White Sox: Will Matt Davidson Continue His Stellar Play In The Future?

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 16: Matt Davidson
DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 16: Matt Davidson /

White Sox third baseman had a solid 2017 season at the plate, but can he sustain his success hitting home runs moving forward on the South Side?

For those of you who have been following the Chicago White Sox since 2014, the name Matt Davidson should ring a bell. However, there is a catch to that statement. Until 2016, Davidson did not make an appearance with the big club and when he made the team it was for just one game. This season broke the mold for the once-hyped third base prospect, but the question needs to be asked. Will it continue?

Before we move forward, you have to know Davidson’s main asset is power. Without that, he would have no opportunity whatsoever to have a big league career. Defensively he is below average (-0.3 DWAR at 3B in 2017) not to mention he does not hit for a high average. More will be discussed regarding that later in the article.

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As for his home run prowess (26 HR’s in ’17), while he can drive the ball out of the park he is very hit or miss. This is evident by 165 strikeouts in 414 at bats this past season. To put that into perspective, Davidson fanned one out of every 2.51 official trips he made to the plate. To illustrate this better, he struck out 39.9 percent of the time he stepped up to bat. Not good by any means.

On top of that, Davidson rarely earned a free pass. He walked nineteen times in 2017, which equates to an 8.68 to 1 K/BB rate. While power hitters often strike out a lot, there are many instances where the player has a good batters eye as well. Since this is not the case with Davidson, it may be hard for him to continue at this pace and stick in the big leagues without going yard a bit more.

Even more concerning is his batting average. While he took more at bats versus righties in 2017 (302 to 112), Davidson’s average was significantly worse (.209 compared to .250). This is all for a right-handed batter who made better contact against lefties (33 percent strikeout percentage to 42.4 percent), while hitting home runs at a lower clip (4.5 percent HR percentage to 7 percent).

So, is it realistic to expect Davidson to continue his solid play at this level. This is a bit of a tricky question, because he has to improve some of these numbers or he won’t be able to start in the major leagues. No team can afford a player striking out over a third of the time and be able to win, not to mention fail to get on base as well. Can he do this? Yes, but the question remains for how long?

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Overall, the Sox have a solid power option at third base in Davidson. He may be fatally flawed as a player, however there is no reason to believe Davidson will not be able to succeed for a short amount of time at the big league level. If other areas improve drastically, the Sox should have a very good player on their hands. Will it happen? Maybe, but time will tell whether Davidson adjusts to MLB pitching. In the case that it does, we should enjoy many balls leaving the premises at Guaranteed Rate Field Sox fans.