Davis, who went 1-for-3 with a two-run triple in a 7-3 Cactus League win over the Angels on Thursday, has played started more games in left field than as a designated hitter this spring, Chris Gabel of MLB.com reports.
The prodigious slugger logged 116 games in the field last season, so the usage isn't necessarily unprecedented. The plan is for Davis to see about the same ratio of outfield-to-DH use at a minimum in 2018, especially given the solid work manager Bob Melvin is seeing the 30-year-old put in with the glove. "He does a nice job tracking fly balls, and he's really working on his arm this year," Melvin said. "I think his arm is better this year."
Davis went 1-for-3 with a grand slam home run in Thursday's 9-4 Cactus League loss to the Rangers.
The prolific slugger was responsible for all of the Athletics' runs on the afternoon, sending a fifth-inning Paolo Espino offering into the seats with the bases jammed. Davis already has a pair of round trippers and six RBI overall in 10 spring at-bats, with those blasts serving as his only hits thus far. Playing on a one-year, $10.5 million deal in 2018, Davis will look to notch a third straight 40-homer, 100-RBI season while getting his average above the .247 figure it's been stuck on for each of the past three campaigns. Putting a dent in his mammoth strikeout rate would undoubtedly help that cause, considering that Davis has whiffed at between a 27.2 and 29.9 percent clip in that trio of seasons.
Davis agreed to a one-year, $10.5 million deal with the A's on Wednesday, avoiding arbitration, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Davis hit .247/.336/.528 with 43 home runs and 110 RBI during the 2017 season, which basically mimicked his numbers from the previous year, although he did have higher walk and strikeout rates. The designated hitter/outfielder set career highs in plate appearances (652), hits (140), home runs and RBI. He figures to slide right back into the middle of the order for Oakland in 2018.
Davis went 2-for-4 with a solo home run in Sunday's season-ending 5-2 win over the Rangers.
Davis reached a new career high in round trippers with his blast, a 434-foot shot to center in the eighth. The 29-year-old outfielder wrapped up a prolific 2017 campaign with a four-game hitting streak and slashed .326/.396/.630 with a .424 wOBA over the 53 plate appearances he logged across his final 13 games. Davis also achieved high-water marks in doubles (28), RBI (110) and walks (73), with the improved patience at the plate leading to his best OBP (.336) outside of his initial 56-game major-league cup of coffee with the Brewers in 2013.
Davis' commitment to plate discipline has resulted in a career-high 73 walks in 2017, Jane Lee of MLB.com reports. "I think it comes with experience," Davis said. "Instead of going out of the zone and getting it, hopefully I'm going ahead and taking the walk. I know what the walk feels like now."
The prodigious slugger trails only Giancarlo Stanton in round trippers over the last two seasons, with Davis having already matched his 42-homer total from last year heading into the final series of 2017. He's managed to retain his power while showing improved patience, with the boost in free passes largely stemming from him working 120 full counts this season, an improvement of 35 over 2016. Davis does still have the third-highest strikeout total in the American League (193), so cutting down on the whiffs will presumably be a primary offseason goal.
|10/1/2017 vs Texas|
|vs Hernandez (Career)||9||1||0||.111||.111||.111|
|Last 7 Games|
|Complete Game Log|
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|More Batting Stats|
|Minor League Batting Stats|
|2010||AFX-Wisconsin Timber Rat||128||457||86||128||26||4||22||72||77||120||17||10||.398||.499||.280|
|2011||AFA-Brevard County Manat||90||304||50||94||21||1||15||68||51||70||10||5||.415||.533||.309|
|2015||AFX-Wisconsin Timber Rat||6||20||1||2||0||0||0||2||3||2||0||1||.208||.100||.100|