J.D. Davis’ chance to prove he can play defense well enough to be the Mets’ everyday third baseman is about to begin.
While his .288 batting average and .853 OPS in 196 games in a Mets uniform have him entering camp as the club’s projected starting third baseman, Davis has some work to do with his glove. He registered -9 defensive runs saved in 2019 and -8 defensive runs saved in 2020 at the hot corner, per FanGraphs, while also spending time in left field.
Manager Luis Rojas insisted Davis has “come a long way” defensively, though, and believes his time learning left field has helped him at third.
“Some of the work that he’s done to become faster in the outfield — cover more ground, get better reads — actually helped him to improve at third,” Rojas said Saturday from Port St. Lucie. “That’s what he took into the offseason. That’s what we expect him to bring into camp on Monday. We’re going to keep working with him. [Third base coach] Gary DiSarcina’s been monitoring everything that he’s been doing in the offseason. They have a great connection.
“I think with his work ethic, his baseball IQ, he can keep improving there. He’s already shown it.”
Rojas said the Mets want to keep Davis’ versatility, but they expect him to play third base the most during camp. He started 33 games at third base last season and seven in left field.
Though his defense at third base remains in question, Davis’ value to the Mets’ offense does not — beyond just his production at the plate.
“Very smart hitter,” Rojas said. “I think he’s also helped with the growth of a lot of players, particular plans as well and game preparation, as far as knowing what the opposing pitcher has and how they attack. He’s been a great inclusion to the team in the last few years to help our hitting coaches, too, to develop some of that.”
Owner Steve Cohen, who completed the purchase of the Mets in November, made an appearance at spring training Saturday in Port St. Lucie. … Rojas said he expected to have everybody in camp Monday for the first full-squad workout, but admitted it wasn’t a guarantee because some delayed arrivals, due to weather across the country, have led to delayed intake processes.
The Mets officially announced the signing of RHP Taijuan Walker on Saturday. To make room on the 40-man roster, they placed Noah Syndergaard (Tommy John surgery) on the 60-day injured list.