With the injuries to Jed Lowrie and Todd Frazier coupled with the reports T.J. Rivera is still struggling in his attempt to return from Tommy John surgery, the door is wide open for J.D. Davis to impress the Mets. In fact, depending on how things play out, Davis may find himself staking a claim to being the Mets Opening Day third baseman.
With him starting the spring 1-for-7, he had some catching up to do. More than that, he needed to answer some questions about his offensive profile.
While Davis does post an above-average exit velocity, which is an indication of his power potential, he hits the ball on the ground far too frequently. In fact, in 181 Major League plate appearances, he has a 53.8 ground ball percent. In order to maximize his power potential, Davis is going to have to lift the ball more to drive out of the park. He’s going to have to do what he did today:
That homer was part of an impressive 3-for-5 day at the plate for Davis. Notably, the other two base hits came off line drives, and Davis would only put the ball in play on the ground just once. Essentially, Davis was hitting the ball hard, and he was getting it off the ground.
Another salient point is not all Spring Training homers are created equal. During the Spring, there are typically many minor league pitchers. Davis’ homer came off Adam Conley. In addition to being a Mets killer, Conley is a pitcher who tends to get a higher rate of ground balls.
Davis’ hitting a homer off Conley raises another factor in his chances of making the Opening Day roster. In his career, Davis has typically hit left-handed pitchers harder and better than he’s hit right-handed ones. Even if Lowrie and Frazier return in time to be ready for Opening Day, Davis could claim on the bench with a role similar to the one Wilmer Flores used to have with the team.
Overall, Davis showed the Mets how he could be an asset to the Major League team next year whether that is at third base or as a power threat off the bench.