DUNEDIN, Fla. – Blue Jays prospect Jonathan “J.D.” Davis sees glimpses of Andrew McCutchen and Tim Raines in himself.
Davis isn’t being arrogant. It’s just a self-belief he’s carried since his college days at Central Arkansas.
After an injury-ridden past two seasons, the 23-year old looks to put his troubles behind him and expand his leadership role within the organization.
Davis has missed considerable time with hand and thumb injuries, but aims to remain healthy and build on a successful 2015 campaign.
“I don’t necessarily know where I’m going to be, but, I know this. If I come out everyday and put my best foot forward, I can help my team win,” the Blue Jays 2013 15th-round pick said. “One goal I do have is to stay healthy. I’m ready. I’m 100 per cent, so I am definitely ready to get going.”
Davis, who hit .271 with 11 stolen bases and 22 RBI’s in 60 games in the minors last season, can best compare his game to that of current Pittsburgh Pirates star Andrew McCutchen.
“I’m athletic, I’m small but can hit for a little bit of power. One thing I really like about McCutchen is that whether he’s going good, or he’s going bad, he’s that teammate you can look up to everyday,” he said.
“I try and be that leader amongst my teammates and pick them up. At the end of the day it’s not about me, it’s about winning games.”
The native of Camden, Ark., has also been substantially influenced Raines, an MLB legend and current Blue Jays roving outfield and base-running coordinator.
“Tim is one of those guys I consider to be a Hall of Famer. The things that he has taught me in baseball are that when it comes to base-running, try to read the pitcher. A lot of the time, me being kind of like Tim, short, kind of stocky and pretty strong, we rely on our speed to do the work,” said Davis.
“If we could take the little things that the pitcher does on a day-to-day basis, and focus in to find something that he’s doing, it just gives us that edge.”
Davis, who hit an astonishing .408 in 13 games with the single-A Lancing Lugnuts last year, saw his game fall off a bit down the stretch, hitting just .230 in 47 games following a call-up to Dunedin of the Florida State League. He won’t allow that to happen again this year.
“A lot of times when you get out a few times and things start to going wrong you start to try and make things happen, instead of letting the game come to you,” he said. “The thing is, we play 140 games, so there is no need to press. That’s my big thing this year, go out, have fun and let the game come to you.
“Whether it’s laying a bunt down, running down a hard 90 (feet) or making a play in the outfield, whatever it is, I just want to make a play for my team.”