Scouting Report on Minnesota Twins outfielder Jaylin Davis
The Minnesota Twins were lucky to get Jaylin Davis late in the 2015 draft. Now they’re seeing the player he could be.
The Minnesota Twins drafted Jaylin Malik Davis in the 24th round of the 2015 draft. Davis was absolutely a top 3-4 round talent coming out of Appalachian State University that was unfortunate to tear the labrum in his right shoulder when diving after a ball during his draft season.
Davis missed the rest of 2015 getting the shoulder repaired and letting it heal, and then he spent a lot of 2016 working as a DH with Elizabethton and Cedar Rapids, hitting a combined .255/.341/.523 with 14 doubles, 16 home runs, and 5 stolen bases, posting a 9.3% walk rate and 32.2% strikeout rate. He played 36 games in the outfield out of his 64 games.
This season, his shoulder is looking healthy, and he’s showing it in his defense while also being more free in his swing. He opened the year in low-A Cedar Rapids, earning a promotion after 66 games. He’s struggled since his promotion to high-A Fort Myers offensively, though his defensive work has been quite impressive. He’s also played 88 games in the outfield this year out of 94 total games. In all, he’s hit .251/.302/.437 with 17 doubles, 5 triples, 13 home runs, and 9 stolen bases, posting a 5.9% walk rate and 28.9% strikeout rate.
Davis is listed at 6’1″ and 190 pounds. While the number on the weight could be off a hair, he’s athletically built right around 200 pounds.
Contact (45) – Davis’ set up in his swing is fairly simple, however he has a bit of a load and a long swing through the zone, which means he needs to be right when he swings. Many in the past have had longer swings and been able to have success by studying pitchers incessantly. Davis rarely missed the barrel when he was going well, squaring up nearly every pitch that came in.
Power (55) – Davis’ power in his swing is impressive, to say the least. I would say in pure raw power, he could grade out at a 60 or even 65 raw power, but right now he translates that to 55 grade power in game. Better pitch recognition will allow him to translate that power to its full grade.
Eye (40) – Currently, this is the biggest “need” in Davis’ game. Davis has an elite power bat, which allows him to absolutely crush mistakes. However, he often will get caught in streaks where he’s unable to connect on anything but a straight fastball or a hanging breaker because he gets “too” locked in. Expanding his eye and his zone and pitch recognition will allow him to choose better pitches to unleash his powerful swing on and lead to better results at the plate.
Speed (55) – Many guys at Davis’ size are the type with excellent top end speed but take a few steps to get there. Davis is not exactly the opposite, but he’s a guy who is certainly quickness over top-end speed. While his top end speed is still quality and above-average, what is impressive is how he gets off the plate and takes off on the bases.
Defense (55) – The instincts you see from Davis, especially in right field, could play up to a plus grade once he settles into an outfield home. He has been a center fielder for much of his baseball life, so he is quickly adapting to life in the corner, and while his speed would allow for center field, he is a guy who could be an asset in a corner outfield with his instincts and speed.
Arm (55) – His arm is now healthy, but he obviously has a pretty major health history to consider. However, when he uncorks a long throw from right field, you see the power in the arm that could easily grade at plus. The issue has been consistently tapping into that power in the arm now that he’s back. Teams have been certainly testing his arm, and due to accuracy and return of a lot of his previous plus (some rated it double-plus) arm strength, Davis has gunned down 16 base runners this season.
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MLB Player Comp
His pedigree was much higher, first as a first round draft pick of the New York Yankees in 1990 and then as one of the Marlins original picks in the 1992 expansion draft, but Carl Everett and Jaylin Davis do have a lot of commonalities in their physical profiles.
Everett got out of shape in a hurry in his career and lost his speed and his defensive prowess that he possessed early on in his career, and his hot temper and bigotry on and off the field lost him a lot of respect over time, but as a player, Everett was about as clean a comparison for Davis as one can find – good outfield defense, some speed, good power, contact a bit streaky.
Over his career, Davis hit .271/.341/.462 with 202 career home runs. His best year was 2000 with the Boston Red Sox, when he hit .300/.373/.587 with 34 home runs and 11 stolen bases. I think any Twins fan would take a peak year from Davis in that range along with a career that spans 10 years of productive major league contributions.
Next: AL Central Deadline Preview
Davis has work to do to get to being a viable major league player, but he’s made significant progress already in his short time in the Twins system, and the Twins recognize that he could be a guy that takes some time to develop into a major league player.