SF Giants Post-Prospect Prospects:
#3 OF Jaylin Davis
Acquired: Trade (2019, via MIN)
Future Value: 40
Career MLB Stats: 21 G, 59 PA, 2 HR, .167/.237/.278, 5.1% BB%, 28.8% K%
When the Giants traded Sam Dyson to the Minnesota Twins in a flurry of MLB trade deadline action last season some were underwhelmed by the return. The Twins sent back three pieces with decent prospect pedigree, but none that stood out. Part of the return was outfielder Jaylin Davis.
An early draft prospect over his career at Appalachian State, his junior season was derailed by injury and caused him to plummet down draft boards. With far less hoopla, the Twins scooped Davis up in the 24th round and he quietly climbed through their minor league ranks.
He’s always been a good athlete with potential plus power, but questions about his hit tool kept him off the top prospect radar. In 2019, a swing-chance sparked a strong start at Double-A that took off once he was promoted to Triple-A and got to hit the juiced MLB ball.
Over 126 games in the minors, Davis slugged 36 home runs and posted a .306/.397/.590 line. He hammered 10 home runs in 27 games following the trade before he was finally promoted to the Giants MLB roster.
While his season was cut short after getting hit on the hand last week, Davis showed off his athleticism by recording a sprint speed in the 97th percentile of all players, according to Baseball Savant. The offensive output didn’t carry over in his small cup of coffee, but there is still reason for optimism.
Davis is an above-average defender at all three spots in the outfield with plus range and an average arm. He has called centerfield his best defensive position, but the Giants have deployed him primarily in right.
At the plate, Davis consistently hits the ball hard, has a pretty solid approach, and has controlled his strikeouts in recent years. His problem is where the ball goes when he makes contact. Historically, that’s been on the ground. There’s nothing wrong with a hard-hit ground ball, but when you have 60-grade power like Davis, how consistently he lifts the ball will ultimately determine where he ends up.
For a 26-year old who’s yet to really show much against MLB pitching, Davis still has tremendous upside. His speed and defensive ability give him a pretty good floor as a 4th or 5th outfielder. He’s shown decent reverse splits, which actually should benefit him if he can’t play every day (since there are more right-handed pitchers than lefties around the league).
The Giants had Davis with the team early this season. He was hitting the crap out of the ball (average exit velocity of 102 mph on 6 balls in play), however, the team was concerned with his 6 strikeouts in just 12 plate appearances and optioned him to the alternate site.
While outfielders Joey Rickard and Steven Duggar have received call-ups instead of Davis, he’ll have plenty of opportunities to stick in the bigs. They just might be a bit more cautious because of their focus on continuing to develop his swing.
Separating Selman, Coonrod, Rogers, and Davis was the hardest delineation in these rankings. I’m most confident in Selman and Rogers’ ability to stick at the big-league level, but am also skeptical of their ability to be high-leverage arms. At the same time, while perhaps the chances of Davis reaching his everyday potential is low, it’s enough to move him above the group of relievers.