SF Giants: Where is Outfielder Jaylin Davis?
By Jeff Young
SF Giants Jaylin Davis outfielder has been missing in action since the first week of the season even as the outfield injuries continue to pile up.
Luis Basabe is the most recent SF Giants outfielder to sustain an injury, which has forced the team to run with a Daniel Robertson–Mauricio Dubon–Darin Ruf outfield on Tuesday night.
Mike Yastrzemski and Alex Dickerson are on the active roster but are dealing with a calf injury and bruised elbow, respectively. On top of this, Austin Slater has been limited to DH duties since sustaining groin and elbow injuries earlier this season.
The Giants are very thin on outfield depth, but Jayin Davis’ name has been eerily absent as a potential replacement. There’s still a chance he’ll receive a promotion, but it would be a surprise.
Davis was originally acquired at the 2019 trade deadline along with hurlers Prelander Berroa and Kai-Wei Teng from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for relief pitcher Sam Dyson.
Davis was assigned to Triple-AAA Sacramento following the trade and went on a tear. Across 117 plate appearances, the 26-year-old slashed a .333/.419/.686 line with ten home runs and 27 RBI before earning a promotion to the big club.
However, his minor league success did not immediately translate to major league performance. He posted a .493 OPS in 42 at-bats, but did connect for one, memorable big fly:
Davis struggled to elevate the ball as he produced a groundball in 67.7 percent of his batted ball events.
The Giants seemed to tab him as a key part of the 2020 season with the hitting coaches working extensively with him during Spring Training to create more loft in his swing. The hard work looked like it was about to pay off as he launched an early-season home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers:
As it turns out, that will likely be the only highlight in the 2020 season for Davis. The right-handed bat collected two hits, including the home run, in 12 at-bats before being optioned to the alternate training site in Sacramento.
Since then, the Giants have trotted out a handful of other outfielders including Basabe, Steven Duggar, Hunter Pence, and Joey Rickard. Perhaps, the issue is playing time.
Yastrzemski, Dickerson, and Mauricio Dubon have held down the fort in the outfield. Outside of those three, there is not a ton of playing time with Darin Ruf appearing as a strong platoon complement to Dickerson.
Or it could be that the Giants want to continue working with Davis on his swing without the pressure of facing off against major league pitching each night.
Either way, Davis’ absence has been an odd occurrence in 2020 (well, maybe not that odd for 2020), especially as he was in line to see major playing time before the season got underway.
As the injuries continue to pile up in the outfield, it is an interesting substory that Davis’ name is not mentioned as a candidate to come up. Perhaps, the next time the Giants see Davis in the batter’s box will be in 2021.