Jays From the Couch brings you the player Highlights & Lowlights of the 2018 season. This time: Jonathan Davis
I am sure Jonathan Davis will always look back on the 2018 season and remember very fondly. As it was a season filled with many highlights, including his major league debut and collecting his first MLB hit off David Price in Boston…not in the same game.
Not many people predicted theCentral Arkansas alumni would ever make it to the major league after playing in just 131 games between 2013 and 2015. Finally healthy and given the opportunity, Davis got his career going in 2016 with the Dunedin Blue Jays. Jonathan Davis played 120 games, batting .252 with 33SB and 14 HR for the D-Jays.
Davis started the 2018 season back with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats where he batted .249 with 20 SB and 10 HR in 2017. The 26-yr-old outfielder put up some impressive numbers with the Fisher Cats, earning a promotion to Triple-A Buffalo on July 12th. In all likelihood, Jonathan Davis would’ve been content playing the final Bisons game on September 2nd and heading back home for a little rest before heading out for some winter ball. Instead, Davis was added to the 40-man roster and called up to Toronto.
During his 20 games with Toronto, the talented OF was primarily utilized as a defensive replacement but he did see some regular at-bats in the last week of the season.
Davis is a streaky hitter but when he is hot, he can change the direction of the game. The 5-foot-8 outfielder had three 4-for-4 games, two with NH and one with Buffalo. On June 26th, Jonathan Davis hit a double, a homer, a single, and finally, a triple to became the first Fisher Cat to hit for the cycle. Davis also had five 3-hit games and 40 multi-hit games.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) July 12, 2018
The former 15th round selection showed decent power in Double-A and Triple-A with a .141 ISO. Most his power at Double-A came from doubles while most of his ISO in Triple-A can be attributed to his HR. Davis hit 22 doubles in NH in just 78 games versus 20 in 128 the year prior and just 7 doubles in 46 games with the Bisons. While he did hit 5 HR in AA and AAA, he reached it much more quickly as a Bison.
— Tim and Sid (@timandsid) June 27, 2018
Davis did a good job on the basepaths. It took him 128 to steal 20 bases in 2017 with the Fisher Cats. He swiped 19 bags in 72 games with New Hampshire before his promotion. Davis stole another 7 with the Bisons. It isn’t the number of bags he stole which was impressive but that he was only caught 4 times in 30 attempts versus 14 times in 34 attempts in 2017.
Jonathan Davis continues to demonstrate solid on-base skills with a .388 mark in AA and .308 mark in AAA. He owns a MiLB OBP of .356 in 503 games across 6 years and 7 levels. Davis lowered his K% from his typical 20% down to 14.8% during his time in AA while maintaining a 9.8 BB%.
Despite looking a little overmatched in his September 5th MLB debut (0-for-3 with 3K), Davis didn’t have another multi-K game in his 6 starts.
It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for Jonathan Davis. He still strikes out a lot for a guy who doesn’t possess high power potential. He also saw his walk rate drop to 5.9 BB% in Triple-A and he wasn’t able to sustain his improved K% (see above).
While his stolen base numbers were presented as a highlight, they can also be viewed as a lowlight. Of Davis’ 19 SB with NH, 11 of them came in the first month (20 GP). After which he stole 4 bags in May (28 GP) and June (26 GP). This trend continued in Buffalo with 5 bags in July (18 GP) and just 2 SB in August (26 GP). While it is possible that Davis had some alignment (i.e. leg soreness) which slowed him down, his inability to steal more base after a hot start was disappointing.
He finished the 2018 season in the Majors which is a highlight; however, going 3-for-18 fits under the lowlight (don’t want to be too big of a homer).
The rise of Jonathan Davis shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. As outlined in the intro, Davis struggled with injuries to start his professional career. Once healthy, Davis displayed an intriguing blend of speed, defense, on-base, and gap-to-gap power. This was one of the reasons he was asked to play in the Arizona Fall League last offseason.
My guess is that Davis will be traded this offseason along with an infielder for some starting pitching. If that doesn’t happen then Davis should be expected back in a Bisons uniform to start 2019.
Depending on the amount of player movement this offseason, Davis will have to be patient for his turn to play in Toronto as he is likely 6th or 7th on the outfield depth chart. Still, Davis could have a very long career as a 4th outfielder with his ability to get on base, run, and provide quality defense at all three outfield positions.
PS. JD is currently playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic. He is batting .087 with a run on two hits. He has a stole base and 7 strikeouts with no walks in 6 games.
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Lover of all things Toronto Blue Jays. Blue Jays MiLB fanatic. I strive for average while stumbling onto above average. Rogers isn’t cheap. Baseball is a business. Your right, but I’m more right.