The Texas Rangers have signed third baseman Matt Davidson to a minor league contract. Oh, and they’re going to let him try pitching too.
As you may have heard, the Texas Rangers signed third baseman Matt Davidson to a minor league contract. Davidson played in 123 games with the Chicago White Sox last year. He hit .228 with 20 home runs. You may have also heard that the Rangers will be giving him the opportunity to hit and pitch.
Davidson has two claims to fame. The first one: hitting three home runs in the Sox’s 2018 opening day game against the Kansas City Royals. That was a nice start to his season. Second: striking out Giancarlo Stanton on a nasty 12-6 curveball. You can watch the entire at-bat in the video below. You’ll see the strikeout pitch at around the 1:00 mark.
Pretty filthy, right? To make a slugger like Stanton look that silly… you don’t see that often, even from the best pitchers in the game.
But Davidson’s pitching aura goes beyond that one pitch. He had the opportunity to take the mound three times for the White Sox last year. Each appearance spanned one inning and occurred during a blowout. Still, he managed a collective 0.00 ERA, retiring 10 of the 11 batters he faced and recording two strikeouts.
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Believe it or not, Davidson made his pitching debut against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park. One inning, three up and three down, and he struck out one Ranger (I don’t remember who it was).
The third baseman’s impressive three innings as a pitcher are cool, but do they really mean anything? Position players have pitched shutout innings before. In fact, Ryan Rua pitched a shutout inning for the Rangers last year.
It just so happens Matt Davidson is quite serious about being a two-way player. He wanted to sign with a team that would allow it.
It’s a minor league contract so the Texas Rangers aren’t taking any risk. They’ll see how the two-way thing plays out during the spring and will go from there.
One of the two curveballs was good in the Stanton at-bat. The other one was a hanger. The two fastballs he threw were 91 mph. I can’t speak for his adrenaline at the time, but most position players throw as hard as they can in the very rare opportunity they get to pitch. Common sense will tell you he doesn’t have the makings of a major league pitcher; however, maybe the Texas coaching staff can show him the light.
If his pitching is not major league capable, don’t forget he’s a third baseman who hit 20 home runs last season. Thus, if he can’t help Texas from the mound, perhaps he can help them at the plate and the hot corner.
Matt Davidson’s unique situation definitely makes for a good story. We’ll see if he can pull off the two-way play. Again, he made his pitching debut against the Rangers at Globe Life Park. What if he pitches at Globe Life Park in its final season while wearing a Texas Rangers uniform? Now that would be one heck of a “full circle” story.