DUNEDIN, Fla. – Toronto Blue Jays farmhand Jonathan Davis is living out the dreams of his grandfather and father.
The right-handed-hitting outfielder comes from a baseball family where he was coached by a strong trio of men – his granddad, dad, and uncle – as a child playing t-ball.
“My grandpa actually played at the junior college level,” said Davis following a spring training workout at the Blue Jays minor-league camp on Wednesday. “He was pretty good but did not get the opportunity to do what I’m doing.”
His father, a pastor and a community leader, inspires Davis, who prefers to be called J.D. by his friends and teammates.
“My dad is a pastor and for me that is a big deal,” the young speedster said. “He is a great man. He’s humble, a leader in the community, and he has a lot of attributes that I look up to. I try to mimic him off of the field and be a man of integrity.”
Davis also looks to God for inspiration both off and on the baseball diamond. He wears bracelets with specific religious phrases on them including, ‘I Am Second’ and ‘Whatever You Do, Do It For The Glory of God’.
The 5-foot-8, 188-pound outfielder has been playing baseball since the age of about five years old and even has video proof recorded by his family members displaying his ability to hit home runs (over the fence) while he was in t-ball. Davis nostalgically discussed his memories of his favourite early baseball moments.
“Everyone around town used to say, ‘That kid’s got pop,’ and stuff like that,” he said. “When I look back on that, it is a funny memory.”
The left fielder is ranked sixth among stolen base leaders in University of Central Arkansas history. Last year, he recorded only four stolen bases to go along with a .238 average in 130 at-bats during a shortened season.
After playing only four days a week while in university, Davis admits his biggest challenge since being drafted has been the “day-to-day grind.”
“I want to set a precedent this year because it is my first full season,” he said. “I want to try and be aggressive at times and help my team win… that’s why we are all here.”
Despite winning the conference championship during his junior year, Davis did not expect to be drafted by the Blue Jays.
While on his sofa at home in Arkansas in 2013, he remembers watching his phone and seeing that he was selected by Toronto in the 13th round and he recalled the excitement of his mother.
“She actually was (going crazy) she actually ran down the stairs so fast, it was probably in about five seconds,” he said as he laughed. “She felt good about it and my dad felt good about it also and from there we had some decisions to make… I feel I made the right one.”
Davis firmly believes that a more aggressive mindset will lead to a more successful season on the basepaths.
For now, he is proud to know that he is living out the dreams of his family members.
“[My grandfather] was pretty good but did not get the opportunity to do what I’m doing,” Davis said. “I’m living his dream out, living my dad’s dream out, trying to make them happy.”