HomeTeamsMarinersWould J.D. Davis be a Fit for the Mariners?

Would J.D. Davis be a Fit for the Mariners?

The San Francisco Giants put J.D. Davis on waivers, after they acquired Matt Chapman. With the Mariners having some question marks at third, is J.D. Davis a good fit for Seattle? 

Davis was the Giants everyday third baseman, since joining the Giants after a trade with the Mets. Davis started out great with the Giants after the trade, hitting .263/.361/.493 over 49 games. Davis earned the job as the starting third baseman in 2023. However, he was not able to repeat his 2022 season, hitting .248/.325/.413, good for a 103 OPS+. 

Davis’s main issue has been defense. According to DRS, he has a minus –11 DRS in the 2023 season. However, statcast graded him as an above average defender with a +4 OAA. My own eye test would say he is a below average defender with an above average arm.  

Over his full major league career, J.D. has been an above average hitter. Over 594 games, the 30-year-old, has an .263/.343/.432 slash line, good for a 113 OPS+. J.D. is known for his ability to hit the ball hard and solid walk rates. However, his strikeout rates it amongst the league worst and he has not been able to collect strong power numbers.  

Over his career Davis has a 46.9 Hard hit percentage, while the MLB average over that span was 36.3%. Last year his numbers were around his career norm across the board, which shows above average hard-hit rates, walk rates, average exit velo and expected slash lines, which is consistent with him being an above average hitter according to OPS+. However, the power. Why hasn’t it translated to that? 

Looking at the numbers and at J.D. over his time with the Mets, it’s launch angle. J.D. has the ability to become a great power source, if he is able to lift the ball. Over his career Davis has a below average launch angle of 9.0, while the MLB average was 12.2. If you look at his better seasons, J.D. Davis had a better launch angle: 

2019: .895OPS — 10.3 Launch Angle 

2021: .820 OPS – 13.2 Launch Angle 

2022: .758 OPS – 12.3 Launch Angle (career high K rate) 

While many think Davis struggles against Fastballs, he is actually an above average hitter against the 4 seamers. However, the Sinker gave him fits last year. He had a minus 12 run value against the sinker and his ground ball rate spiked. Another proof he isn’t able to lift, is his high ground ball rate. The season he had the lowest ground ball rates, wereunsurprisingly the same with the better launch angle, and so the better production.  

With the Mariners having questions at third base, J.D. could be an option for the AL West contender. Davis is an above average hitter, even in his down year in 2023. If he is able tounlock the power, you get a good hitter. On the other end, Urias has looked great in spring so far, already collecting 3 extra base hits over 18 plate appearances and is a superior defender at third.  

So, are the Mariners banking on a bounce back for Luis Urias, who is a far better defender but a worse hitter over his career? Are the Mariners going to try and get Davis to lift the ball more consistently and live with the defense and the above average hitter he is even without the launch angle?  

It’s also worth noting that the Mariners have a hard ballpark to hit. You would say that you would not want Davis to try to lift the ball more in T-Mobile Park? However, if you look at Davis his career batted balls, you see that Davis would have more homers in his career in T-Mobile Park than his overall career home runs (73-68).  


In the end I think there is power potential for Davis. Banking on Urias, Rojas and maybe Brian Anderson is a risk. Davis at least should give you above average offense, with a potential to get more. I see the fit, for a team on a lower budget. However, right now, it’shard to say who you would trust more in Davis or Urias. To me, it’s how the Mariners look at Davis and his defense that makes this a yes or no.

Corne Hogeveen
Corne Hogeveenhttps://mlbreport.com/
Mets fan from the Netherlands since 2006. As a European fan, trying to get to as many games as possible. Mets writer for MLBreport and Co-host of the Queens Connection Podcast. Author of Diary of a Dutch Mets fan


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