White Sox: Matt Davidson Continues Developing Pitching Arm
White Sox third baseman/designated hitter continues working on his pitching in the offseason in hope of another pitching opportunity in the Majors.
The offseason is a time for position players to work towards improving their batting prowess and defensive efficiency. White Sox third baseman Matt Davidson is no exception to this. However, Davidson has a little extra motivation to improve arm strength.
Davidson, who pitched three scoreless innings last season which included a strikeout of four-time All-Star and 2017 National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton, joined WGN Nightside with Mark Carman and Harry Teinowitz on Sunday and was asked about his pitching potential.
Davidson – who reached 92 mph on the radar gun in 2017 – stated that he wanted to throw 95 mph before he died. He added that, as a third baseman, nothing negative could come of it as it would only serve to strengthen his arm either way.
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Throughout baseball history, on rare occasions, position players have come in a game to pitch – usually when the game has been decided in a blowout, as was the case in Davidson’s three outings. The White Sox saw Adam Dunn pitch the 9th inning in a 15-0 drumming by the Texas Rangers back in 2015.
Once in a while – if fans are lucky enough to witness it – a position player will pick up a victory after being forced to pitch in an extra-inning game when one team has run out of pitchers and needs relief. Such was the case with Colorado Rockies catcher Brent Mayne in 2000, Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Wilson Valdez in 2011, and All-Star Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis in 2012.
However, as of late, baseball has seen players playing out of position more often.
In 2016, the year the Cubs won the World Series, Joe Maddon turned heads when he put three pitchers ( Spencer Patton, Pedro Strop, and Travis Wood) in the outfield – an effective strategy that helped the Cubs defeat the Cincinnati Reds.
More so than any other player, the Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani took the league by storm last season when he became the first player since the Deadball Era to be a pitcher in the starting rotation while simultaneously being in the starting lineup on non-pitching days.
Suddenly, Davidson’s efforts don’t seem as unusual – though still pretty unusual – as they once may have.
Davidson surprised many in the baseball world when he announced last July that he’d be willing to consider pitching.
"“To be honest, I would love to maybe explore that idea…Pitching was a dream. As a young kid, everybody wants to hit that walk off homer, right? I was the guy striking that guy out. That’s how I first loved the game” Matt Davidson"
While at first sounding more like a light-hearted joke, it was later reported that the White Sox would be giving Davidson permission to train as a reliever this offseason. If the pitching comes into fruition, Davidson will most likely be used in situations where the team is winning or losing by about five runs and he can take stress off other pitchers’ arms.
It remains to be seen what will happen, but Davidson could get some extra attention this spring.