Giants: Will Jaylin Davis make the Opening Day roster?

SF Giants outfielder Jaylin Davis swings. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
SF Giants outfielder Jaylin Davis swings. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

With a wide-open outfield competition, what will it take for young slugger Jaylin Davis to make the San Francisco Giants Opening Day roster?

Jaylin Davis is one of the biggest unknowns heading into San Francisco Giants spring training, as well as one of the reasons to be most excited for camp this year.

If you’ll recall, Davis came to the Giants with two additional prospects — pitchers Prelander Berroa and Kai-Wei Teng — in the July 31 trade deadline deal that sent Sam Dyson to the Minnesota Twins.

The 25-year-old had already hit 25 home runs in 2019 up to that point, making him an intriguing power prospect.

By the end of the season, he had a .306/.397/.590 line with 35 home runs and 94 RBI in 126 games in the minors.

It’s easy to get excited about the future after a season like that. Even the annual ZiPS projections make Davis look to be a promising up-and-comer for the Giants in 2020.

The projection system pegged him for an 18-homer season, which placed him fourth on the team behind Chris Shaw (20), Darin Ruf (19) and Mike Yastrzemski (19).

But what is the likelihood Davis actually makes the Opening Day roster?

With a number of outfielders vying for a few roster spots, including a handful of non-roster invitees, Davis has hurdles to overcome.

Unlike fellow power-hitting outfielders like Shaw and Ruf who have also played first base, Davis has zero experience lining up anywhere other than the outfield. In order to earn a spot on the Opening Day roster, his bat will need to do the talking.

Though the power display from last season was impressive, it was also Davis’ first career season with at least 16 home runs. So he will need to prove this spring that 2019 was no fluke.

In direct competition with Ruf and Austin Slater, Davis has a chance to beat-out either and claim a spot as a bat off the bench.

Ruf is coming back from three seasons in the Korean Baseball Organization where he hit .313/.404/.564 with 86 home runs and 350 RBI across 1,756 total plate appearances. Prior to that, he slashed just .230/.291/.391 with 126 strikeouts in 503 plate appearances in his three previous seasons stateside.

Slater has long been a promising bat, but in three major league seasons he has mustered only a .254/.335/.368 line with nine home runs over 544 plate appearances.

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If Davis can out-hit either of the two during spring training, he’ll be in a good position to break camp with a spot on the Opening Day roster.