Davidson sees good fit with White Sox
December, 17, 2013
By Doug Padilla | ESPNChicago.com
Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesMatt Davidson will get his chance to win the everyday third base job with the Sox.CHICAGO -- One day after he traded to the Chicago White Sox, Matt Davidson bought a brand new black cap with an S-O-X logo on the front and pronounced everything it represented as a perfect fit.
Davidson, who came to the White Sox in Monday’s trade that sent closer Addison Reed to the Arizona Diamondbacks, is thrilled to be included in the team’s young nucleus of up-and-coming players. No longer does he have guys like Eric Chavez or Martin Prado blocking his way from getting to the major leagues.
“I’m just extremely glad and blessed to have the opportunity to actually be in a team’s plans like that,” Davidson said about getting a chance to earn the Opening Day third base spot this spring. “That’s what any player wants. Obviously the White Sox organization wanted me so much to make that trade. Addison is a great closer, he had 40 saves last year. It helps a lot with confidence since they believe in me. I’ll go in with a good attitude, ears open and just have some fun.”
The oddity of the trade is that Reed and Davidson work out at the same Southern California location in the offseason. Davidson is from Yucapia, while Reed hails from nearby Rancho Cucamonga, where the workout facility is located.
“It blows my mind,” Davidson said of the coincidence. “It would have been awesome if we were right there working out at the same time and we both get calls. But I haven’t touched base with him yet. I haven’t been out there since like Thursday, but I’m sure we will touch base soon and give him some D-backs stuff.”
Davidson said he has never been to Chicago, getting as close as South Bend when he played there at the low Single-A level with the Diamondbacks. But he has plenty of White Sox ties.
He knows White Sox outfield prospect Trayce Thompson from high school baseball and was a high school teammate with White Sox minor-league pitcher Scott Snodgress. He also noted that former White Sox third baseman Mark Teahen when to his high school. And in an even more odd degree of separation, one of his mom’s good friends is Aaron Rowand’s brother.
“It’s kind of a small world that everybody has those ties to the Sox so I’m excited to see what the vibe is,” he said.
As for his play on defense and his high strikeout tendencies in the minor leagues, Davidson said he knows he has work to do, but he doesn’t lack for confidence.
“I’m confident with my defensive game,” Davidson said. “Obviously it’s always a work in progress. You can always get better. Even Gold Glove winners are always working on stuff to get better. The footwork, the hands, even the throwing, anything I’m just trying to clean up. Obviously having (manager and former third baseman) Robin (Ventura) there will be a huge help.”
The White Sox like Davidson’s power potential (he started last season as the Diamondbacks’ No. 1 power prospect, according to Baseball America), but with the power have come the strikeouts. He whiffed 134 times last season at Triple-A Reno, 126 times in 2012 at Double-A Mobile and 147 in 2011 at Single-A Visalia.
“I’ve tried to fix it, and keep that steady line instead of peaks and valleys,” he said. “There will be series where I K a ton, maybe 15-20 times a series, and then I’ll go and strike out maybe five a series. If I can just get that consistent, I know that will drop a lot, but also, at the same time, I think it’s kind of a different game now where people who are very successful, even hitting for high average are striking out a lot. If you do put up numbers, if you do hit for average, that kind of shies away.”