J.D. Davis Makes His Mark

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.—Perhaps no player benefited more from Alex Bregman’s two-and-a-half weeks with the United States team in the World Baseball Classic than J.D. Davis.

Davis, the 2014 third-round pick from Cal State Fullerton, is an power-hitting third baseman who racked up at-bats during Bregman’s absence from big league camp.

By the time Bregman returned after the March 22 WBC title game, Davis had hit .342 through 38 at-bats. The 23-year-old spent the entirety of spring training in camp.

“Hitters keep getting hits, and he’s got a really good idea at the plate,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said of Davis. “He puts together really good at-bats.”

The biggest obstacle facing Davis is the organizational depth chart at third base. Bregman, who is a year younger than Davis, is the Astros’ third baseman of the future, while first baseman Yulieski Gurriel is the second-stringer at the position.

Even at Triple-A Fresno, Davis will vie for playing time with Colin Moran, the No. 6 overall pick in the 2013 draft.

The glut makes Davis a potentially attractive trade chip. His only realistic path to the majors with the Astros necessitates a position change.

Davis, a righthanded batter who stands 6-foot-4, has dabbled in both outfield corners, and he may learn to play first base this season.

Davis spent all of last season at Double-A Corpus Christi, where he batted .268/.334/.485 with 23 home runs and 34 doubles in 126 games. He drove in 81 runs and struck out 143 times.

He may have to return to Corpus Christi to begin this season because Moran will play every day at Fresno.

“No matter where he starts or where he finishes,” Hinch said, “he’s looking more and more like an intriguing bat who can hit at the big league level.”


The Astros waived lefthanded reliever Kevin Chapman while he was away from big league camp to play for Canada in the World Baseball Classic. The Braves claimed him.

Catcher Max Stassi cleared waivers and was outrighted to Fresno on March 21. He will share catching duties with minor league free agent import Juan Centeno, who because of his experience may have surpassed Stassi on the organizational depth chart.

— Jake Kaplan covers the Astros for the Houston Chronicle

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