In early January, the Mets traded with the Astros for J.D. Davis, who has the potential to be a very intriguing, possibly impactful player on the team's roster this coming season.
"J.D. is a versatile offensive talent," Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen said in an e-mail after acquiring Davis "He's young, had success against lefties and he'll provide depth at the corner positions."
However, according to multiple organizational sources, in addition to having him play a variety of positions in the field, the Mets plan to get a closer look at Davis on the pitcher's mound, even if it means he can simply be used in a mop-up role.
During his two-year career, Davis, 25, has played 66 games, getting time at first and third base, left field, and 2.1 innings as a relief pitcher.
From what I can gather, Davis was among several recently-acquired minor leaguers specifically targeted by new front office additions Allard Baird and Adam Guttridge as they continue to jettison certain prospects acquired under Sandy Alderson.
In terms of his bat, he has slowly added muscle, developed more torque from his hips, and has improved his lift on balls up in the strike zone. Nevertheless, he projects to be more of a right-handed power bat to use against lefties, having hit .348 with a .419 OBP against left-handed pitching last season.
"The loop is gone," a Texas area scout recently told me. "So, he can survive in the big leagues. He's always had plus-plus raw power, but he's probably best suited being a corner outfielder. He also has a cannon for an arm.
"The arm is so strong he can sling it from the mound," the scout continued. "The Mets should absolutely see what he can do as a reliever because he's got legit stuff out there."
Davis was drafted by the Astros in 2014 out of Cal State Fullerton, where he pitched 66 innings and went 5-5 with a 3.00 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 48 strike outs.
Davis got the attention of baseball as a pitcher in 2017 when, in late August, he tossed a scoreless inning against the Rangers getting two put outs and a strikeout.
For whatever it's worth, he has struck out four of the 11 big-leaguer hitters has faced -- all of them going down swinging.
In fact, after watching several of his outings from college, plus both of his innings in the big-leagues, it's fair to say he has no problem consistently hitting 92 mph with his fastball. He also has a nice, diving upper-70s slider that helps make his change a bit of a swing-and-miss pitch.
"As I told him, that might get him to the pitcher group every now and then, especially if he continues that clean a delivery and a finish breaking ball," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said after an appearance by Davis in 2018.
Davis has hit and pitched during the same inning a few times during his college career and in the Cape Cod league before being drafted in 2014.
According to people that know him, Davis actually expected to be used more as a pitcher after being drafted given that he was often referred to as a two-way player. Obviously, that is not how things panned out, as he did not throw a single inning during his five seasons in the minor leagues.
"Listen, don't sleep on his potential to be a serious power threat from the right side," a current Astros coach told me last week. "He's a big kid, very strong, very solid in the box. It's time for him to turn a corner and -- if he does -- I can see him becoming like a right-handed Lucas Duda."
That said, he continued, "I get it, though, the pitching thing is intriguing."
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) is lead writer of MetsBlog.com, which he created in 2003. He also hosts the MetsBlog Podcast, which you can subscribe to here. His new book, The New York Mets Fans' Bucket List, details 44 things every Mets fan should experience during their lifetime. To check it out, click here!