Blue Jays Find Strength In Davis

TORONTO Blue Jays scouting director Andrew Tinnish realized just how strong D.J. Davis is when he first shook hands with the high school outfielder.

"He has more strength than you think," Tinnish said after the Blue Jays used the 17th overall pick to select the 6-foot, 185-pound Davis out of Stone High in Wiggins, Miss. "The first time I really noticed that was actually when I shook his hand. His hands are very big and strong. I think that's a good indicator for raw bat speed and power.

"I think you'd be a little bit surprised when you see him take some swings how far he can hit the ball at this stage."

Davis possesses tremendous speed and well above-average range in center field. "On a two to eight scale, he's an eight," Tinnish said of his speed.

When asked for comparisons, Tinnish said he could not pick a winner of a race between Davis and Anthony Gose, the Blue Jays' speedy 21-year-old center fielder who has 24 steals in 29 attempts at Triple-A Las Vegas this season.  

"In a foot race, maybe head to head, I can't tell you who would win, but it would be very close," Tinnish said.

Tinnish got several first-hand looks at Davis and was impressed with how his speed translates to center field. In particular, Tinnish noted that Davis can cover so much ground that by the time a corner outfielder caught a routine flyball, Davis was already backing him up.

"He's got plus range in the outfield," Tinnish said. "We definitely think he's a center fielder."

Davis' selection fits an organizational goal to "get more athletic or continue to add athletes to the system, athletes with upside," Tinnish said. "He's got a chance to hit at the top of the lineup and play in the middle of the field and those are the things that attracted us to him."

With their 22nd overall, the Blue Jays took Duke righthander Marcus Stroman.

"Stroman was the next pick (on our board) and we were fortunate we were able to get both of them."


• Davis' father, Wayne, played four seasons as an outfielder in the Blue Jays farm system, making it to high Class A Dunedin in 1988 before retiring.

• Tinnish is not sure whether the 5-foot-9, 185-pound Stroman will start or be used as a reliever. The 21-year-old started at Duke but last summer served as the closer for Team USA. Tinnish said he has other strengths that compensate for a lack of size. "It's a combination of stuff, athleticism, strength and makeup," Tinnish said. "This guy is a great competitor. He works extremely hard. He's very strong for his size and his stuff is very good."