Fantasy Baseball: Is Matt Davidson's Three-Homer Game a Sign of Things to Come?
Opening day is often a day of surprises, and because it's just one game out of a marathon 162-game, six-month slog, it often leads to irrational behavior on the part of fans and fantasy owners.
Davidson joined George Bell in 1988, Tuffy Rhodes in 1994 and Dmitri Young in 2005 as players to go yard three times in their teams' first game of the season. After a huge day like that, fantasy owners are undoubtedly scrambling to add the right-handed slugger to their squads, hoping to catch a Trevor Story-like lightning in a bottle.
Is that wise with Davidson?
Lots of Power
There's no doubt the 27-year-old can hit the ball out of the yard, blasting 26 in 118 games (443 plate appearances) last year for Chicago. He cleared 20 home runs four times in the minors, including smashing 20 and 23 in AAA in 2014 and '15.
He hit a homer on 22.0% of all fly balls last season, ranking tied for 33rd out of 216 players with at least 400 PAs last year. That was the same ratio as Nelson Cruz and was a better mark than players such as Edwin Encarnacion, Justin Upton, Travis Shaw and Freddie Freeman. He also had an isolated power (ISO) of .232 that was tied with Anthony Rendon and Francisco Lindor for 52nd.
When Davidson makes contact, he mashes. The only trouble is that making contact has always been a bit of a struggle for him.
One Tool Only
Davidson's only tool is power, and he struggles to simply put the bat on the ball. He struck out in 37.2% of his plate appearances last season and walked in just 4.3%. Out of 216 players with at least 400 plate appearances, that whiff percentage was tied for second worst in baseball along with Chris Davis. Only Keon Broxton was worse.
He also batted just .220 with a .260 on-base percentage, a weighted on base average (wOBA) of .297, and a weighted runs created (wRC+) of 83. Among 32 third basemen with at least 400 plate appearances, only Maikel Franco's wOBA and wRC+ were worse.
Stay Away For Now
If these numbers were any different from his minor league totals, it would be easier to dream that he could be a better offensive player in 2018. But there is a reason Davidson played 462 games at the AAA level over parts of four seasons before getting a chance to play every day in the majors. He's always been a high-strikeout, low-contact player, hitting .199, .203, and .268 in his last three years in the minors with strikeout percentages greater than 30% in 2014 and '15.
Davidson is currently owned in just 29.7% of ESPN fantasy leagues, and although he might be available in more shallow leagues, he's not yet worthy of a stash on your bench, much less a spot in your starting lineup.