Surprise Call Up: Matt Davidson
As of this morning, the DBacks are in a tough spot. Sitting 5.5 games out of a wild card spot, waiving the white flag on 2013 really isn’t an option. But with hopes fading fast, Arizona has called up Matt Davidson to provide a boost off the bench.
At 22, letting Davidson hawk an at bat here and there while adjusting to Major League life won’t negatively affect his development. And if the team falls further back, it would make sense for the club to give Davidson more playing time to see if he fits the Kirk Gibson mold of gritty to the core.
After all, Davidson is not a draft pick by this regime. And as Bobby Borchering, Marc Krauss and others have learned, that means something. New scouting and player development people enter with their own philosophies leading to the exit of players in the organization who don’t fit those ideals.
For much of the season, I believe Davidson would be a premium trade chip used to acquire help at the deadline. This didn’t come to pass, leaving the question of where Davidson fits in the DBacks plans. From reviewing their depth chart, Jason Kubel‘s poor play, combined with Adam Eaton‘s injury-plagued season may lead to Martin Prado moving back to left field. If this occurs, the team would need a third baseman.
This would be a best case for fantasy owners as my looks at Davidson have revealed two things.
1. Davidson’s bat falls short of prime time for first base.
2. Davidson is considerably more valuable in OBP formats.
A couple of things might lead one to believe I’m overly pessimistic though.
1. I didn’t consider Paul Goldschmidt an impact bat in Double-A either and Davidson has had more success at a younger age. I’ve mentioned my bias against less athletic power hitters in the past.
2. My mind tells me Davidson is a future .265/.350/.460 guy. As of this morning, Brandon Belt has triple slashed a .271/.350/.463 line and has the 29th best wRC+ in the game (130).
So while I can’t recommend going all in on Davidson, all signs point to him becoming a productive big leaguer.
In other news, you probably know the Rangers acquired Alex Rios from the White Sox for Leury Garcia-plus. Chicago is in a tough spot. In essence, the team’s core is Chris Sale, underachieving Dayan Viciedo and Gordon Beckham, unproven Avisail Garcia and mid-level prospects who’ll be better role players than starters (Josh Phegley, Conor Gillaspie, Leury Garcia).
In the minor leagues, Marcus Semien has been a pleasant surprise, but their young, athletic outfielders have fallen flat. Overall, their system is still one of the worst in baseball.
Fortunately (Yes, I really mean fortunately), the team will be bad for a few years giving them opportunities to pawn off veterans for kids and secure top picks (Top-3 this season). I’ve always been a big believer in cheap bullpens and benches, freeing up money to sign premium talents to long term extensions. Chicago is now in a position to do this, if only they had the premium talent to invest in.
Rick Hahn is off to a flying start as General Manager, but his 2014-2016 first round picks will be key to rebuilding this franchise the right way. 3/3 and they’ll have a contender for years to come. 2/3 and they’ll manager. 1/3 and this team is in danger of a long playoff drought.
In a month, they have become one of the most interesting organizations in baseball to me and one to follow closely.
2 Feb 2014 / Mike Newman /
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