The Red Sox have claimed outfielder Jaylin Davis off waivers from the Giants, according to announcements from both clubs. San Francisco had designated him for assignment last week. Boston had a temporary vacancy on their 40-man roster, but they’ll need to make room once Tanner Houck and Kutter Crawford are activated from the restricted list and Jonathan Araúz returns from the COVID IL. (Returning John Schreiber and Rob Refsnyder, who were selected as COVID substitutes, would clear two of three necessary openings). Davis has been optioned to Triple-A Worcester.
Davis, 27, is a righty-hitting outfielder with 26 games of big league experience. He suited up briefly at the major league level in each season from 2019-21, with 47 of his 68 plate appearances to date coming during his debut campaign. Davis only owns a .159/.221/.270 line in that limited time, but he’s been a prospect of some regard for the past few years.
Drafted by the Twins out of Appalachian State in 2015, Davis moved fairly slowly through the minors, in part owing to a shoulder injury that cost him the entirety of his post-draft summer. He reached Double-A by the end of the 2018 season and got off to an excellent start at the minors’ top two levels the following year. Minnesota dealt him to San Francisco at the 2019 deadline, and he made his MLB debut as a September call-up.
Baseball America slotted him as the #16 prospect in the Giants’ organization entering the 2020 season, praising his athleticism, arm strength and raw power. BA noted some questions about his hit tool, though, a concern also echoed by Kevin Goldstein and Tess Taruskin at FanGraphs this February. Davis has struck out in 27.9% of his plate appearances in the minor leagues, and he owns a subpar 62.6% contact rate thus far in the majors.
That said, Davis has overcome his swing-and-miss issues to post massive numbers at Triple-A. Over parts of three seasons, he’s a .293/.371/.612 hitter at the level. The Triple-A hitting environment has been very favorable in recent years, which no doubt helps, but Davis’ 38 homers in 523 plate appearances are eye-catching even in a supercharged offensive league. He’s in his final option year, so the Sox can keep him at Worcester as outfield depth for the rest of this season if he sticks on the 40-man roster.