Matt Davidson gets it. With a big -- and 35 ounces is big these days -- power bat, he is considered by many observers as the Diamondbacks third baseman of the future. Davidson is working toward that day by staying in the present while working to develop his other tools.
It was apparent in his commitment this past offseason, when he spent every weekday after the conclusion of the D-backs instructional league program on strength and agility training at EM Power and Speed near his Southern California home. Included in the routine were two evenings a week with another personal trainer.
Lakers game or training? Concert or training?
It always came down to the workout.
It is the same at Class AA Mobile, where Davidson does extra work with former Gold Glove shortstop Jay Bell on the field and strength coach Jordan Wolf in the training room.
He goes the extra mile on and off the field to make sure he plays in the big leagues and has success, D-backs director of player development Mike Bell said.
He takes it seriously. Its his job. Its his life right now, and he treats it as such. He understands the opportunity that he has and hes committed to making it work.
Davidson, 6-foot-2 and 224 pounds, gained strength while redistributing weight with his offseason program, adding muscle while reducing body fat in his fourth season in the organization. He was a sandwich pick in the bonanza draft of 2009, the 35th player taken overall.
This offseason, I worked the hardest I ever have, Davidson said from Mobile.
We really made a commitment to become a lot stronger and kind of grow into my body. To get more athletic. I feel more durable.
It has translated. Davidson is hitting .323 with eight doubles and four home runs in 26 games, and he is among the Southern League leaders in most production categories. He is tied for fifth in the in doubles and tied for sixth in homers, and his OPS (.985) is second in the league. He also has shown the plate discipline to draw 19 walks, again among the league best.
Davidson focuses on driving the ball through the middle, an approach that he developed as a young player that has carried through his career. He won the home run derby contest as a junior at Yucaipa (Calif.) High at the Aflac All-Star game at Dodger Stadium in 2008. More recently, he had 39 doubles and 20 homers at Class A Visalia last season.
For a young kid, he has very mature at-bats. I think he knows what he wants to do and how to do it, Bell said. I think he could go to the big leagues right now and have quality at-bats. I do. I think its a little bit of a rush right now to try to force that to happen, but I think the way he takes his at-bats every night, it would allow him to be successful.
The work away from the batting cage will be the key to Davidsons upward mobility at third base. Davidson was a pitcherfirst baseman at Yucaipa High with an 88-90 mph fastball, and some scouts believed pitching might be his best path to the majors. He moved to third base as a junior to concentrate on hitting and thus is a relative newcomer there.
He was a part-time third baseman in the D-backs' organization his first two full seasons, splitting time with 2009 No. 1 pick Bobby Borchering before Borchering was moved to left field in instructional league last year.
As Bell is doing in Mobile, former Gold Glover Matt Williams worked with Davidson on footwork and subtle techniques at third base in spring training.
The extra work is no problem. In fact, it does not even feel extra to Davidson.
Ive always been a really driven person. I really dont like waiting so much. I dont have the best patience, you could say. If I set my sights on something, I really tune everything out and hone in on that one thing. Thats kind of a good and bad thing, because I forget about other things, he said.
It is what drove him over the winter.
I just wanted to really get a lot done this offseason. Being happy with yourself and what you did in the offseason gives you confidence going into the season, Davidson said.
Davidson, who turns 21 on March 26, is not caught in what could be.
You just try to take it day by day, just get a little better every day and enjoy the life you have. We are thankful for everything we have. All of our goals are for (the major leagues). But when you are worried about the future too much, it ends up affecting your future. You need to stay in the present."