Matt Davidson's time in the White Sox's organization had mostly been filled with disappointment, but the former top prospect turned things around somewhat in his third year at Triple-A Charlotte. He continued to flash solid power (10 home runs, 20 doubles, .176 ISO in 284 Triple-A at-bats), but more notable was the fact that he brought his strikeout percentage below 30 percent for the first time since leaving the Diamondbacks while raising his on-base percentage to .349. These numbers paired with an assortment of problems in Chicago led the White Sox to promote the 25-year-old for his first big league action since 2013. The good times ended abruptly, however, as he broke his foot just six innings into his cup of coffee with the White Sox, ending his season. Despite the unfortunate finish, Davidson seems to have made some adjustments at the plate, which could help him compete for a major league roster spot out of spring training.
Davidson will be part of the rotation at designated hitter if he breaks camp with the White Sox, Scot Gregor of the Daily Herald reports. Davidson, a third baseman by trade who can also play first base, might emerge as the regular DH. Manager Rick Renteria sees a committee of players rotating through the DH spot, which the manager intends to use as a way of giving his position players some rest -- Jose Abreu, Todd Frazier and Avisail Garcia will also be part of the DH mix. Davidson, who is out of minor league options, possesses good power potential but is strikeout prone. He has struck out a whopping 17 times in 35 spring at-bats.
Davidson had three hits, including a long home run, and knocked in three runs for the White Sox in a Cactus League game against Arizona on Thursday. Davidson's big offensive day came on the heels of an 0-for-11 skid that included six strikeouts. Whiffs have been the bane of his career, but it's looking like he'll get an extended look in the majors this season for the rebuilding White Sox. He'll serve as a designated hitter and backup corner infielder with potential to be the next man up should Chicago trade Todd Frazier. Beyond Davidson, there isn't much in the way of top-end third-base prospects in the system, so if his contact rate continues to improve, the 25-year-old could have a multi-year run at third base.
Davidson started at third base Saturday in place of the injured Todd Frazier (oblique). He went 1-for-2 with a run scored and a strikeout. While Frazier continues to deal with the injury, Davidson is the first man up for at-bats at third base. Once Frazier is ready to play, Davidson will get opportunities at designated hitter, a spot in the lineup that's still up for grabs.
Davidson said changes to his swing were the primary driver in his improved numbers at Triple-A Charlotte in 2016, Scot Gregor of the Daily Herald reports. "Just getting in a better position, trying to get there every pitch. There were a couple of cues that I focused on. Keep it simple, and it was a daily routine so it became ingrained. I wasn't searching for things every day," said Davidson. The 25-year-old Davidson had his best season since joining the White Sox organization, posting a hitting line of .268/.349/.444/.792 over 75 games while trimming his prodigious strikeout rate in 2016. He's going to get an opportunity this spring to stick on the roster, partially because he's out of minor league options, but also because of the promise he hinted at last season. Todd Frazier's oblique injury should give Davidson some playing time third base early in camp, and he could emerge as the team's primary DH if he maintains a healthy average.
Davidson will be one of a few players that White Sox manager Rick Renteria will rotate through the DH spot. Renteria also mentioned Avisail Garcia and Jose Abreu getting time as the designated hitter. Davidson, who is coming off a foot injury, could also get time at third base if the White Sox move Todd Frazier at some point during the season.