The Mets are hoping a follow-up season by J.D. Davis is even better than last year. And if it is, the Mets lineup takes on a whole new look.
The Mets, like any team in baseball, follow the “what have you done for me lately” credo to determine who plays and who doesn’t.
An extra layer of intrigue is added when a player bursts on the scene with a gold-standard season, and that “Sophomore Jinx” follow-up season arrives. Is the player a one-hit-wonder or the real thing?
Enter Stage Left – J.D. Davis
Acquired from the Houston Astros, who had no place for him, In 400 scattered at-bats, Davis produced 22 home runs, scored 65, and drove home 57 runs. He also batted .307, and his OPS was eye-opening at .895.
Project those numbers over a full season of 600 at at-bats – and voila – Davis jumps to 33 home runs, with 98 runs scored, and 86 RBI.
Davis will have company in this on-the-rebound season with Alonso, who also will be fighting to show his demonstrative Rookie of the Year season was no fluke. Last year, Mets fans will recall McNeil was subject to the same test and passed with flying colors.
Usually a third baseman, Davis played 75 games in left field for the Mets in 2019 and is expected to receive ample time there again this season, and also as an alternate with Jeff McNeil at third base.
In a pinch, Mets manager Carlos Beltran can also call on Davis to pitch. Davis recorded four strikeouts in 2 2/3 innings out of the bullpen for Houston. He blew away Khris Davis and Marcus Semien of the A’s in one game, his fastball hitting 94 mph.
Mets Have Double-Duty For Davis
Much like Dominic Smith, Davis is a work in progress in the Mets outfield. And in September, he did cost the Mets a game on a misplayed ball against the Phillies.
But overall, it might be a bad rap as Davis made only two errors in 75 games while having four assists, including a double play from the outfield.
Ostensibly, the charge has to do with his range in the outfield.
This is understandable when a player moves from the hot corner where the only range needed is four feet either way. As opposed to the outfield where there are a hundred feet or more between you and the next fielder.
Be that as it may, the Mets want and need offense from J.D. Davis. And more to the point, the team can use a continuation of the kind Davis displayed in situational hitting, and area of weakness for the Mets as a whole.
With two-out and runners in scoring position, Davis has an on-base percentage (OBP) of .453. That continued in situations late in close games (.436). (Source: Baseball-Reference)
Also of interest is the liking J.D. Davis has taken to hitting at Citi Field. Davis batted .354 while hitting 16 of his 22 home runs with an OPS of 1.078 in a ballpark known as a pitcher’s paradise.
Mets Know The Trick Is Tomorrow
All these accolades show, of course, is what J.D. Davis can do and has done. The trick is to make it happen again.
But you do know you have something special when an All-Star pitcher like Yu Darvish says about Davis during an interview with SNY-TV. “I don’t hear too many people talk about him on Twitter or in the media, but baseball insiders and executives know just how good he is.”
The Mets will pitch in 2020. The open question is how many runs will they score to support their pitching staff, and will those hits occur in situations where they need them most.
J.D. Davis surely promises to be a key ingredient in that equation. Do it once, and you should be able to do it twice. We’ll see…