Twins Believe Jaylin Davis Was Worth The Wait

The Twins received damaged goods when they made their 24th-round selection in the 2015 draft, but they didn’t mind. It might be the only way they could have wound up with Jaylin Davis.

“He would have gone in the top 10 rounds for sure,” vice president for player personnel Mike Radcliff said, “except for that.”

“That” is an unfortunate dive for a fly ball just a month into Davis’ junior year at Appalachian State, an admirable effort that wound up tearing the labrum in his right shoulder. He needed surgery, ending his season and hampering his draft prospects.

But the Twins had scouted Davis for two years already and chose him anyway, figuring that surgically repaired shoulders heal, albeit slowly.

“We knew he would miss a year getting it fixed, and then probably need another year to get comfortable again,” Radcliff said. “Well, it’s been two years. I wouldn’t be surprised if he really takes off this season.”

Davis’ comeback season wasn’t half bad. Impatient to play after sitting out 15 months, he rocketed seven home runs in just 12 games at Rookie-level Elizabethton last summer. Promoted to low Class A Cedar Rapids, he launched another nine homers.

So it wasn’t a big surprise when the 22-year-old Davis opened 2017 with three homers for the Kernals in his first 14 games, and then hit three homers on May 16.

“He’s got some lightning in his bat,” Radcliff said. “He swings hard, very aggressive.”

That’s good and bad, of course. Davis is prone to strikeout ruts—he fanned 26 times in 20 April games—but the young righthanded batter should advance to high Class A Fort Myers soon.

“He’ll have to figure out the strike zone and work on his contact rate as he moves up, but he’s got some thump,” Radcliff said. “He profiles as a solid corner outfielder. He’s a guy you notice in batting practice.”

— Phil Miller covers the Twins for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune

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