After a slow start, Dunedin Blue Jays left fielder D.J. Davis has posted some the system’s best offensive number in the 2nd half
Class of 2012
The 2012 Draft has turned out to be a fruitful one for the Toronto Blue Jays. Budding staff ace Marcus Stroman was taken in the 1st round. This year a pair of outfielder from the 3rd and 7th round, Anthony Alford and Ian Parmley, made their major league debuts.
In Buffalo, Jason Leblebijian (25th round) was making headlines with his strong play. In New Hampshire, LHP Ryan Borucki (15th round) is turning heads and showing why the Blue Jays decided to protect him by adding to the 40-man roster this offseason.
While Marcus Stroman was taken in the 1st round, he wasn’t the Blue Jays 1st selection of the draft. That honor goes to outfielder D.J. Davis.
D.J. Davis was always viewed as a high risk, high reward pick. His skills were very raw but the potential was apparent.
Slow Progress is Still Progress
While many others from the 2012 Draft Class have surpassed the 23-yr-old outfielder, Davis continues his progression through the Blue Jays minor league system. The left fielder seems to require two seasons at a level to find success.
Class-A Lansing Lugnuts had Davis in 2014 and 2015. In 2014 D.J. batted just .213 with 13 doubles, 7 triples, 8HR and 19-for-39 in stolen base attempts. In Davis’ second go round with the Nuts he batted .282 with 19 doubles, 7 triples, 7HR, and 21-for-31 in stolen base attempts.
Davis went from a .271 wOBA to a .341 wOBA in a year. The same happened between 2016 and 2017 with the Dunedin Blue Jays of the Florida State League. After struggling in 2016 with the D-Jays, Davis took his wOBA from .274 to .318.
Now, this jump may not seem like a lot. In reality, a .318 wOBA isn’t even that great, kinda league average to be honest. However, D.J. Davis’ performance since July tells a completely different story.
On July 10th, D.J. Davis held a batting average of .212. Over the course of the next 3 weeks, he would bat .311 with 16 runs scored, a pair of doubles, a HR, 8 SB, and an on-base of .434.
The former 1st rounder has carried this success with him into August, batting .339 with 3 doubles, a triple, a HR, and 6 stolen bases.
In 53 first half games, Davis batted just .228 with 3 doubles, 2 triples, and 14 stolen bases. In 51 second half games, Davis is batting .285 with 5 doubles, 2 triples, 2 HR, and 17 stolen bases.
More important than the improved batting average or the increase in power, Davis’ OBP went from .300 to .370 which has allowed him to score more runs in the 2nd half (34 vs 22).
While it’s hard to get overly excited about a 6 year minor league prospect with no experience above Advanced-A, there is no denying that D.J. Davis has figured out the FSL.
Davis had a tendency to swing too hard in Lansing. Davis has toned that down, leveling out his swing more which has decreased his FB% and increased his GB% while also improving his LD%. He has gone from a 1.50 GB/FB to a 3.41 GB/FB which has allowed him to utilize his speed to get on base and forced the defense to make plays.
Davis continues to improve as a base runner and stolen base threat. He’s already posted career high number with 31 stolen bases.
I wouldn’t say D.J. Davis has turned the corner on his development. He will need to lower his plus 20 K% while maintaining a 10-ish BB%, if he hopes to have any success as a Double-A outfielder in 2018.
His speed game will allow him to get away with a sub-.100ISO but it would be nice to see a return to the mid to high teens in the doubles department.
It is possible that Davis leaves the organization at the end of 2017 as a minor league free-agent. Toronto would have to add him to the roster and it is unlikely that Toronto will be placing him on the 40-man roster anytime soon.
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