Jays From the Couch continues our 2016 Blue Jays Top Prospects list with an outfielder who’s bat is having trouble catching up to his speed.
Once considered the Toronto Blue Jays speediest prospect, D.J. Davis is slowly progressing through the system. He possesses power, but is having trouble putting together a complete offensive game. His speed is carrying him, but if he is going to go further he will have to make some adjustments to his approach at the plate. The argument can be made that Davis walks to little and whiffs too much.
DOB: July 25, 1994
Bats: L Throws: R
Drafted 17th overall in the 2012, Davis was a speedy high schooler who very much needed a successful 2015 season to help his position within the organization. The now 21 year old repeated a full season in Lansing last season and saw some improvement. Though, he still has a way to go to even out the K-BB numbers. His calling card is his speed, which needs to see his bat catch up.
Back in April of 2015, Ashley Marshall at MiLB.com profiled Davis and pointed out that his speed was already elite. He was being compared to Billy Hamilton. Tony LaCava was quoted as saying that Davis can make it to first in 3.9 seconds! Consistently. If he can build on the power potential, the Blue Jays have quite the outfielder on their hands. At 21, he has time.
But, that is not to say he’s a sure thing. He has a way to go before he climbs the organizational ladder. It seems as though his raw talent has carried him this far and now he’ll have to make some adjustments to maintain consistency. John Manuel of Baseball America describes his “stock” like this: “Back up a bit after his horrid 2014. That was a bad year; he repeated a level in 2015 but did make some adjustments. Always liked the tools, we’ll see if he can show some more aptitude going up to high A next year.” Like us, Baseball America ranked Davis the Blue Jays #10 prospect.
That is the thing. He’s now spent two years in a row in Lansing. In his second season, he slashed .282/.340/.391 with 19 doubles 7 HR and 7 triples for an ISO of 0.109. He chipped in 20 stolen bases too. None of those numbers are overly inspiring. They are an improvement on the year before, but do not scream “rapid promotion”. As stated previously, the low walk totals are going to need to be fixed. In 496 AB, he walked 39 times or just 7% of the time. Meanwhile, he struck out 21.5% of the time. Those numbers are going to need to come closer together.
Davis did show an ability to use the whole field, which is something that you’d like to see from a lefty. With some adjustments, he could certainly increase the amount of line drives, which would suit a whole field approach. The below images from MLBFarm.com highlight his field usage and batted ball breakdown.
Outlook for 2016:
The speed that Davis brings to the table is so tantalizing. But, in order for that speed to translate into success, he’ll have to put everything together. After two full seasons in Lansing, the club could look to start him in Dunedin. He did not get an invite to Spring Training from the Blue Jays, if that is any indication of their perception of him. At this point, he has work to do to really grab some attention. If he is going to progress more than one level in 2016, he’ll have to set the Florida State League on fire. Given what we know already, this may not be likely. However, Davis is the kind of prospect you hope really does put it together because if he does, look out! He’s still at least 2 years away at this point.
*Featured Image Credit: Joel Dinda UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.