Toronto Blue Jays Top-30 prospects #13: D.J. Davis
Some have begun to wonder if Blue Jays outfielderD.J. Davis is becoming a 1st-round bust, but with youth and blazing speed, there is still plenty to like.
Hon. Mentions Part 1 Hon. Mentions Part 2 #30: Freddy Rodriguez
#29: Evan Smith #28: Deiferson Barreto #27: Chad Girodo
#26: Roemon Fields #25: Rodrigo Orozco #24: Reggie Pruitt
#23: Joe Biagini #22: Carl Wise #21: Tom Robson
#20 Matt Dean #19: Andy Burns #18: Guadalupe Chavez #17: Ryan Borucki
#16: Jose Espada #15: Dan Jansen #14: Dwight Smith Jr.
Toronto Blue Jays prospect D.J. Davis came with the lofty status of being selected 17th overall in 2012. And while some have critiqued the selection of him, at least that high, he has begun to show in recent years what he could be capable tapping in to his high-ceiling potential
Name: D.J. Davis
Position: OF Age: 22
Height: 6’1” Age: 180 lbs.
Throws: Left Bats: Left
Acquired: 1st round pick (2012)
Davis has quite a lanky frame at only 180 pounds, but now that he is beginning to develop into the speedy outfielder many people predicted he would be, that type of body should work to his favour.
“Our scouts call him an ‘eight’ runner, which is the best grade you can give.” – Tony Lacava
You will not see much power coming out of his bat (his career high in the minors is 8 dingers), he definitely has speed to burn. “Our scouts call him an ‘eight’ runner, which is the best grade you can give,” said Toronto’s vice president of baseball operations and assistant general manager Tony LaCava.
Davis may never live up to the lofty Billy Hamilton (in terms of number of steals) comparisons some have given him, he definitely has the ability to get his fair share of steals with 53 over his last three minor league seasons. He’s also been thrown out 38 times in that span, however, which is worrying, so his development in reading pitchers will be critical to his advancement.
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With not much power so far in his career, and not much in the way of the hit tool (he did manage to bring his average up to .285 last season), his success is going to depend primarily on his speed and defense. And to utilize that speed he will need to be on base. And if he’s not getting much in the way of hits, that will have to come more often with the walk.
So far he has not shown much propensity for the walk. His last two seasons have only brought walk rates of 6.6% and 7%. This will definitely need to improve for him to break the big leagues.
Along with his speed, Davis brings to the table good defensive versatility. Until 2015 Davis had split most of his time between CF and LF, but this past season he added 137.1 innings of RF to his resume.
Having not even reached double-A ball in his 4 seasons in the system, first he will have to set his sights on that. If he can get there, and continue to develop his talents against stronger pitchers, he will have a shot at dismissing the “first round bust” label.
Much like I said about Dwight Smith Jr. in yesterdays top prospect piece, if all the stars align, Davis could be a good everyday outfielder.
But also like Smith, if worst comes to worst, his raw tools could make for a strong fourth outfielder who can cover all spots and pinch run.