3 SF Giants who could lose their 40-man roster spot
2. Jaylin Davis
Since the Giants acquired Jaylin Davis from the Minnesota Twins at the 2019 trade deadline, he’s seen his stock oscillate more than anyone else in the organization. Over 126 games in the minors in 2019, Davis slugged 36 home runs and posted a .306/.397/.590 line. He hammered 10 home runs in 27 games following the trade and was soon promoted to the big-league roster. While his season was cut short after getting hit on the hand, Davis still managed to record an impressive sprint speed in the 97th percentile of all players.
Last season, Davis made the Giants Opening Day roster and hit his second career home run but was struggled to put the ball in play (striking out in six of his 12 plate appearances). Quickly optioned to the alternate site, Davis never got another chance at the big-league level. Instead, players like Steven Duggar and Luis Alexander Basabe received late-season opportunities when injuries depleted the Giants’ outfield.
Even after moving down the organizational depth chart, Davis ranked among the 31 best prospects in the Giants organization heading into the year. He is an above-average defender at all three outfield spots with plus range and an average arm while maintaining potential plus power if he can ever elevate the ball consistently.
The Giants’ player development tactics have been peculiar with Davis. He has called centerfield his best defensive position, but the Giants have deployed him primarily in right while giving less regarded defensive players like Wade and Mike Yastrzemski ample opportunities up-the-middle. The aforementioned promotion of Basabe suggests the Giants believe Davis still has some developmental hurdles to being a big-league contributor.
This spring has done little to help Davis’ case. He has struck out in 12 of his 22 plate appearances without a single walk or extra-base hit. The Giants have been willing to show young players patience as long as they walked and/or put the ball in play. Davis has struggled with both recently. With Basabe still in the organization and top prospect outfielder Heliot Ramos likely on the cusp of a big-league debut, the Giants will have the flexibility to expose one outfielder to waivers. Given the hints sent from the organization, Davis is the most likely to go.
San Francisco would hope Davis could clear waivers and work on his swing in the minor leagues, but Davis still has tremendous upside for a 26-year old who’s yet to really show much against MLB pitching. I’d expect a rebuilding team to place a claim on Davis and give him plenty of time to try and reach his potential. While he’d appeal to a different set of teams than Ruf, I could see the Giants moving Davis for a lower minor-league piece if he is going to fall victim to their roster crunch.