The New York Mets found a new heavy hitter during the 2019 season with J.D. Davis emerged to have a career year. In 2020 it was a tale of two seasons for Davis, a tremendous start followed by a struggle to finish out the last month of the season.
Davis started the first eight games as the Mets everyday left fielder, but Jeff McNeil‘s struggles at third base forced the Mets to give Davis an opportunity there. Despite making some terrific plays there, Davis ranked slightly below average defensively. His arm was plenty strong enough for the position, but his arm could not make up for the lack of range.
Great Start, Tough Ending
Despite the power numbers not on the same level, Davis slash line through 28 games was .292/.405/.448 with four home runs and a BABIP of .364. One of the most encouraging signs was his increased walk rate. It kept him at the top of the order, combining as a run producer and table-setter.
Things were completely different over the last 28 games. His slash line dipped to .202/.336/.330 with only two home runs. Davis BABIP was still at a respectable .270, but his biggest flaw was hitting the breaking ball. It was a staple of his incredible 2019, hitting .313 with a .563 slugging on the breaking ball. During 2020, Davis dropped mightily to a .150 average with a .250 slugging, and it was prevalent during his slump.
It was his only glaring dropoff leading to his lack of production. His contact percentage in the strike zone increased, and chase rate decreased. Over a full season, those two should balance each other out. Davis finished the year at .247/.371/.389 with six home runs and 19 runs batted in.
It was a disappointing year for Davis because of how great it started for him. Davis .167 average with runners in scoring position encompassed the struggles of the Mets to push across runs. He put himself under a microscope because he batted third most of the time, which warranted run-scoring situations. As the Mets head into the offseason, he seems like an expandable player should the Mets look to improve their starting rotation or bring in better defense to their roster.
2020 Grades On 20-80 Scale (2021 Projection)
Hitting: 45 (65), Look for Davis to have a good bounce-back season in 2021.
Power: 45 (60), It was odd to see his power drop off, but hopefully, the return of Chili Davis will revive it.
Run: 25 (25), He did produce the fastest sprint speed of his career in 2020.
Arm: 55 (55), Arm makes him playable in left field and third base.
Field: 40 (35), Liability in left field and below average at third base.
Overall: 45 (55), His added patience at the plate shows a bounce back for 2021.