Outfielder Jaylin Davis came over to the SF Giants along with pitching prospects Prelander Berroa and Kai-Wei Teng at the 2019 trade deadline in a trade that sent reliever Sam Dyson to the Minnesota Twins. Since then, Davis has torched Triple-A pitching but struggled to stay on the field as a major leaguer. What is his role for 2022?
SF Giants: What is Jaylin Davis' role in 2022?
The outfield contingent has become a crowded bunch as eight players on the 40-man roster are listed as outfielders. Furthermore, Mauricio Dubón and Thairo Estrada are primarily infielders, but both can play the outfield as well.
It has become a tough area to create an identity outside of Darin Ruf, Mike Yastrzemski, and LaMonte Wade Jr. and that has been especially true for Davis. The right-handed bat debuted for the Giants in 2019 after posting a 1.105 OPS with the Sacramento River Cats in 27 games following the trade.
Davis struggled badly as he was unable to make contact and he could not consistently get the ball in the air. In 47 plate appearances, he registered a .493 OPS with one home run, three RBI, and 11 strikeouts.
Despite these struggles, the Giants remained convinced that the outfield prospect would be able to adapt to major league pitching. And, it seemed like he was going to get an extended look in 2020.
That extended look never came as he collected just two hits, including a homer, in 12 at-bats in the first series of the season before being sent to the alternate training site. The assumption was that the Giants wanted to continue working on his swing and he would return by the end of the year but that never came to fruition.
The 27-year-old outfielder entered camp in 2021 with an outside shot of making the Opening Day roster, but he sustained a knee injury that kept him out for the first part of the year. When he did return, he immediately went on a hot streak, slashing .316/.418/.754 in 14 games in Triple-A before earning a promotion.
However, Davis hit the injured list with a hamstring injury after collecting just nine at-bats with the Giants. That would be his only stint with the Orange and Black in 2021 as he was sent back down to Triple-A when he recovered from his hamstring injury.
He will enter camp in a similar position to where he was a year ago in that he has clearly fallen down the team's depth chart. Austin Slater and Ruf are the two primary, right-handed-hitting outfielders on the roster. Beyond that, Davis will compete with Dubón, Estrada, and Heliot Ramos for playing time.
Plus, the Giants appear to be in the market for another right-handed-hitting outfielder, which would drop Davis down another peg on the depth chart. The good news is that he has an option remaining, so he does carry some inherent roster flexibility.
He has the potential to be an athletic outfielder capable of playing all three outfielder positions while offering modest power with the bat, but he needs to prove that he can stay on the field first. Then, Davis will need to implement some of the tweaks that Slater has made to impact the ball at a more optimal angle.