Nathan Grimm

Baseball Daily Dose

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Daily Dose: Davis Flying High

Thursday, June 20, 2013


Last year was supposed to be Chris Davis' peak.

The first baseman put together a career year in 2012, posting a .270/.326/.501 line and mashing 33 homers, nearly doubling his career output. If, after all the years of waiting for Davis to live up to his potential, 2012 was his apex, his career would have been a success by many standards.

But Davis had other ideas. The 27-year-old started the season red hot and hasn't cooled off through mid-June, carrying a line of .337/.413/.720 into Friday's game with the Blue Jays. He's hit 26 home runs, including two on Wednesday, and has driven in 66 runs in 72 games.

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There's reason to believe the numbers are legitimate, too. Per FanGraphs, Davis is walking at a clip that's 3.5 percent above his career rate while striking out 4.4 percent less. He's chasing fewer pitches and making more contact. In short, he's become a hitter and not just a swinger.

History tells us players generally are what we think they are, but sometimes players make real and sustainable changes. If Davis' plate discipline is as improved as it seems, we might be seeing a true star emerging.

Young, Restless

When Eric Young Jr. was designated for assignment by the Rockies last week, it seemed likely he would draw interest from other clubs. The 28-year-old second baseman/outfielder has a 78 percent stolen base success rate in his 313 games, with 70 stolen bases in 90 attempts for his career. Speed is a precious commodity, and players like Young will get more opportunities than the normal player as a result of their one above average trait.

So it was no surprise that the Mets took a chance on him, trading pitcher Collin McHugh to the Rockies in exchange for Young. And Mets manager Terry Collins made it known right away that Young wouldn't just be a bystander with the club.

"We'll probably play him quite often to see what he brings to the table," Collins told MLB.com. "We're hoping he brings something that we haven't had since Jose [Reyes]."

Those are some high and, frankly, unfair hopes to pin on a guy with a career .261/.329/.342 line, but it's music to the ears of fantasy owners. Young should have a green light to run and, although the Mets lineup isn't much to write home about, batting ahead of Daniel Murphy and David Wright will afford him a chance to score a decent amount of runs as well. Young batted leadoff on Wednesday and began his Mets career with a single, his only hit of the night.

He isn't the next coming of Rickey Henderson, but owners looking for a speed infusion could make like the Mets and take a flyer on Young.

Puig's On The Loose

Yasiel Puig thinks the rules don't apply to him.

Maybe they don't.

The 22-year-old continues to hit everything in sight and play as though his hair was on fire, racking up a .474/.500/.789 line through his first 15 major league games.

On Wednesday, it was his aggressiveness on display again as he tried twice to stretch singles into doubles on the basepaths. The first was unsuccessful; the second, he made. In the nightcap of the doubleheader, Puig launched his fifth home run of the year.

He also tried to throw out Thomas Neal on a single to right field, a play that is rarely ever attempted, let alone successful. But such is the nature of the man whose name is on everyone's lips these days.

"You see an aggressive young player, and he has tools," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I mean, a lot of tools. He has speed. He has power. He has a good arm...there is an awful lot to like about this kid."

Fantasy owners would agree.

National League Quick Hits: Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said starter A.J. Burnett (calf) "has been nowhere near a mound" since going on the DL. That doesn't bode well for a speedy return ... Trevor Cahill left Wednesday's start after one inning after being hit in the hip with a line drive. He's expected to make his next scheduled start, though ... Jeff Francis will be optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs before Thursday's game to make room for Roy Oswalt ... Eric Chavez (oblique) could begin a rehab assignment as early as next week. Chavez has been sidelined since May 31 ... Cubs manager Dale Sveum said he expects David DeJesus (shoulder) to miss about a month ... Jason Grilli suffered his first blown save of the year in 26 tries ... Francisco Rodriguez moved to within one save of the 300 milestone. He'd be just the 25th player in MLB history to achieve the mark ... Gio Gonzalez struck out 11 Phillies in a no-decision. After some early hiccups, he's got a 2.26 ERA since the beginning of May.

American League Quick Hits: Derek Jeter (ankle) took batting practice on Wednesday for the first time since his second ankle fracture. He's currently on track to return shortly after the All-Star break ... David Price (triceps) is scheduled to make a rehab start, his first, with High-A Charlotte on Friday. He hasn't pitched since May 15 ... Jose Reyes (ankle) will graduate to a rehab assignment at Triple-A Buffalo on Friday. If all goes well, he should be back with the Blue Jays sometime next week ... Manny Ramirez's agent said Ramirez would like to return to an MLB team. Ramirez hit .352/.422/.555 in 206 plate appearances in the Chinese Professional Baseball League recently ... Chris Perez (shoulder) will be re-evaluated after a bullpen session on Friday. It's clear he won't return when first eligible to come off the disabled list ... Asdrubal Cabrera (quad) will take batting practice on Friday for the first time since going on the DL. He hasn't played since June 4 ... Dewayne Wise's (hamstring) return is being delayed by a rib injury. The good news is that the hamstring injury seems to be in the past ... Ichiro Suzuki went 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBI in the first game of Wednesday's doubleheader. Ichiro is hitting .326 with four stolen bases in June.



Nathan Grimm is a baseball writer for Rotoworld. He can also be found on Twitter (@Nate_Grimm).
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