J.D. Davis had a huge game for the SF Giants on Thursday in a 16-6 win against the Chicago White Sox. He recorded three hits in six at-bats with a home run and five RBI to lead the way for San Francisco. His performance on Thursday was another reminder that the Giants need to find a way to keep his bat in the lineup.
SF Giants need to figure out how to get J.D. Davis more at-bats
The Giants do not have the most versatile roster to get everyone into the lineup. That said, one thing is clear and that is that Davis is one of the better hitters on the roster. I would not necessarily put him in the same category as someone like Joc Pederson, but he is not too different from Michael Conforto and Mitch Haniger in terms of overall production.
Unlike several Giants hitters, Davis is not a platoon hitter, meaning that he should be in the lineup regularly. He has posted a .789 OPS against right-handed pitching and a .789 OPS against lefties throughout his seven-year career. That is not a typo. He is equally as good regardless of who is throwing.
Plus, he has tallied a 118 wRC+ in his career. This indicates that he is 18 percent better than the league-average hitter. Plus, he recorded a 92.4 MPH average exit velocity in 2022, which ranked as the 13th-best mark in baseball among qualified hitters. Just in case you needed another example.
Davis should see plenty of playing time, but he needs to be there everyday. That is easier said than done as the Giants have a relatively set lineup against righties. Pederson will usually be in at DH and LaMonte Wade Jr. is expected to play first base in those platoon macthups.
On the other hand, when they are facing lefties, Davis and Wilmer Flores are expected to fill in at DH and first base. The problem is the Giants may go stretches without facing a southpaw starter. They only faced a left-handed pitcher in about 33 percent of plate appearances last year.
So, the problem is finding a way to get Davis in the lineup against righties. He has experience at first base, third base, and left field. However, he is not really adequate at any position except for first base. This makes it tough.
With Mitch Haniger on the injured list, Wade Jr. could swing back to the outfield to open up a spot at first base occasionally. Or, David Villar could spot start at second base, which would create an opening at third base.
It is not a great set up at the moment, but these things work themselves out. Davis' bat will force his way into the lineup more regularly. It is just a matter of making it work, so the Giants do not lose too much on defense.