I’ve mentioned this before but it’s worth travailing that well-worn landscape one more time. There’s sleepers for most of you that no one in your leagues will know about because their research entails them licking their Cheetos-orangey fingers and typing into Google “ 202o fantasy baseball projections” during their actual draft. For those leagues, J.D. Davis will be a sleeper. He prolly won’t be drafted until 250th overall or later. You’ll be able to get him for a good price. In deeper or more knowledge leagues, everyone’s going to know and want J.D. Davis. Doesn’t mean you won’t get him, but you’re gonna have to pay more. For unstints, everyone (at least I hope everyone) knew Pete Alonso going into my NL-Only Tout Wars draft last year and I still was able to get him for $10. So, what can we expect from J.D. Davis for 2020 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?
Last year, J.D. Davis went 65/22/57/.307/3 in 410 ABs, which is admittedly yawnstipating. Plus, when you consider the balls were dripping with Ecto Cooler juice and how he was platooned and bleh. Why does anyone want him? Oh, I don’t know, maybe because his peripherals are gorge, and will make you engorged. Go to the tailor and let out your inseam before you read any further. Back already? You just changed into sweatpants, didn’t you? Okay, that’s fine, was actually surprised you weren’t wearing sweatpants already. So, he was platooned because Mickey Callaway wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. He wasn’t even the sharpest tool in Shed Long. Well, Callaway’s gone, and so should the platoon. Davis has a cannon he needs to leave at the border when going to road games in Canada. He could pitch middle relief for the Mets and be better than, well, everyone except Seth Lugo. Not only did he not have discernible splits at the plate either as a righty, but he hit .305 with 14 homers vs. righties. The Mets outfield should be Conforto, Nimmo/Marisnick and Davis. If Davis needs to play 3rd because by some miracle Yoenis hasn’t retired, Davis can and McNeil can play elsewhere. Now, if you’re adept at picking up context clues, you’ll notice he hit .305 vs. righties and .307 vs. everyone, so do you think he can hit for a good average? Hint: He won a minor league batting title in 2018. Seriously, the only strike against Davis is the Mets seemed to pull one over on the Astros in acquiring him, so he comes with some skepticism. How could the Mets fool the Astros? I don’t remember Rod Serling or Jordan Peele walking out and introducing this post, but we must be in The Twilight Zone, right? I don’t think so, but…well, at least 98% sure we’re not. Davis’s walk and strikeout rates last year were 8.4% and 21.4% respectively, and those Ks feel a tad high. With more comfort, he could get to 18%, where he was in Triple-A in 2018 when he won the PCL batting title. Granted, it’s the PCL, where it’s like hitting with aluminum bats on the moon, but still. He had a top ten contact rate for medium and hard contact, between Betts and Muncy; Davis had a top 35 average exit velocity, and, while his average 404-foot home run distance isn’t elite, it’s more than enough if the balls come back dry. The only truly concerning thing is he hits a bit too many ground balls (47%), even if he’s hitting the ball hard. Bad BABIP luck and he could slump. The encouraging sign, and why he’s a huge buy everywhere for sleepers, his fly ball rate skyrocketed (literally!) in the 2nd half last year, going from 24% to 36%. Don’t want to get people’s hopes too high, because, after all, this is the Mets, but a 36% fly ball rate coupled with his 23% HR/FB rate last year gets him to 33 HRs. In other words, Kole Calhoun with a .290 average. Call him Diamond Calhoun. For 2020, I’ll give J.D. Davis projections of 74/28/82/.288/3 in 534 ABs with a chance for more.