Thursday, June 4, 2015

Getting to Know Astros/JetHawks 3B J.D. Davis

My first impression of 3B J.D. Davis was that he is on the quiet side, but his bat isn't. The first day I watched him take BP, he made some noise with the bat. When he connects, the sound can be quite impressive. Lancaster Manager Omar Lopez sees Davis as the whole package, citing his power, good arm and defense.

Davis is relatively new to third base [Davis played mostly first base (and pitched) for Cal State Fullerton prior to being drafted in the third round in 2014], but Lopez is impressed with how hard Davis works every day to improve at the position. Similarly, Pitching Coach Darryl Robinson sees Davis's work ethic show in the cage, "He's a guy that gets in the cage and he locks in. When he's working, he locks in."

J.D. Davis - May 2015
Photo by Jayne Hansen

My first question to Davis when I met him last month was regarding the upcoming draft. As a high round pick himself, what advice would he give to players who will be going through the draft process next week? "Don't take the draft too seriously. It doesn't matter. I was told that I was going to go in the first or second round [he went in the third], but the draft can go in any direction. It really can. Just keep it at an even keel and enjoy it. If they call your name, just be happy for the opportunity. The opportunity, no matter what the round, no matter what pick you are ... the opportunity to play is a blessing," said Davis.

When asked to give a scouting report on himself, Davis played along, "Probably the best thing about me is my work ethic and (being) a good teammate. I work hard no matter what. Even if I fail, the very next day I'll come out and be the first one here and I'm always ready to learn. I'm always open to share my advice or my wisdom with other players just the way other people have shared what they've learned with me. I've been blessed with good people around me to do that. So I just want to be that good teammate to help them with what I've learned, to help the team win. And probably the bad part would be, obviously, I'm pretty slow around the bases."

Of his accomplishments so far this season and what he's working on, Davis said, "I wanted to work a little bit more on (my) patience at the plate. I know this league is very offensive-friendly so my goal is to at least draw a few more walks than usual or just work the counts more and not really chase. Obviously, the main goal is to get my defense a little bit better. I think I (scuffled) at the beginning of the year just getting used to the field and just learning new things, but I've settled in and I'm a lot more comfortable over there, working with Ramon [Infield Coach Ramon Vazquez] and Omar [Manager Omar Lopez] there ... just getting tips here and there every day, just putting in the play."

Pitching Coach Darryl Robinson has been working with Davis on making adjustments at the plate, "He started out really, really hot. They started pitching him a little different so now he's trying to figure it out. We're trying to get him to lay off that inside pitch and lay off the pitcher's pitch and get a better pitch to hit."

One pitcher that Davis would prefer not to face is Astros RHP Lance McCullers. Of McCullers, Davis said, "He has some high heat, some nasty sliders. I've seen the kid pitch and he's pretty nasty. He's very confident on the mound."

If Davis couldn't play baseball, he would still want to stay around the business of baseball, "I don't think I would every get away from (baseball) too much. Maybe coach, scout, just something to do with baseball. I can't get away from the game."

When asked if he could tell me something about himself that most people didn't know, Davis's answer somewhat surprised me, "I like to sing on my own, just around the guys, just bring up a song randomly and start singing. Some guys are probably used to it, but, yeah, just a random song is going through my mind and I just start yelling it out or singing in the clubhouse or on the field or even during the game at third." And what kind of music does he like? "Any music that gets me going. Some days it's rock music; some days it's electronic; some days country. It just all depends upon the mood I'm in."

Okay, so my first impression of Davis may not have been entirely accurate. To paraphrase Teddy Roosevelt, it appears that Davis sings loudly and carries a big stick.

Thank you for your time, J.D. It was a pleasure getting to know you just a little bit better. Best of luck as the season continues.


Other recent interviews:
1B Jon Singleton
LHP Bryan Radziewski
1B A.J. Reed
RHP Joe Musgrove

You can find more on virtually every player in the Astros minor league system in the 2015 Houston Farm System Handbook available on Amazon for download to your kindle, iPad, laptop, desktop or smart phone.

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