New White Sox 3B Matt Davidson still refining defensive game

New White Sox 3B Matt Davidson still refining defensive game
December 17, 2013, 9:15 am
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He’s much further along now than when he began, but Matt Davidson still has room for growth at third base.

Back in his prep days at Yucaipa High, Davidson, who was acquired by the White Sox from the Arizona Diamondbacks for Addison Reed on Monday, was a pitcher and a hitter until he moved to third for his junior and senior seasons. Five years later, Davidson, 22, recalls some of his early trials and tribulations.

[RELATED: What Baseball America says about Davidson]

“When I came out of high school I as horrible,” Davidson said. “I was primarily a pitcher and a hitter. Even from the start, diving, I hadn’t dove for a ball. I had to learn. Now when I make a mistake, I can see (why). I was just try to get as many reps as possible.”

A big power-hitter who has 30-home run potential, the knock on Davidson is he needs to improve his footwork.

Baseball America complimented Davidson for his improvement in the field in its ‘2013 Prospect Handbook.’ Playing regularly helped Davidson “enhance his range and actions,” BA said. The guide believes Davidson could benefit from better positioning but that he has the soft hands and arm required to play third base.

[MORE: Matt Davidson has plenty of White Sox ties]

Davidson led the Southern League in 2012 with 28 errors but reduced his total to 17 in 2013.

White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said the team’s scouts saw enough of Davidson to believe he hasn’t yet reached his ceiling.

Hahn said Davidson is one of the players he routinely asked Arizona Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers about when the two haggled over Adam Eaton for the past month. As soon as the Eaton-Hector Santiago swap was completed last week, Hahn let Towers know he still had interest in Davidson becoming the White Sox everyday third baseman.

“Solid actions, strong arms, good hands,” Hahn said. “The question you’ll hear from time to time with scouts and has been written about publicly is about the lateral movement. We think it has improved. We think it’s going to continue to improve. We see him over there for the long term once the development is finished.”

[RELATED: Rick Hahn not ready to name Reed's replacement as Sox closer]

Hahn hasn’t ticketed Davidson for the majors just yet and its possible the 6-foot-3, 225-pounder could begin the season at Triple-A Charlotte for more refinement.

Davidson just wants to learn as much as he can. He spent the final two months of the 2013 season trying to ingest what he could from then-Diamondbacks third-base coach Matt Williams as well as third baseman Eric Chavez and Martin Prado.

[MORE: White Sox deal from a strength they can replenish to add to core]

He hopes to continue with White Sox manager Robin Ventura and his staff. Asked what he specifically wants to improve, Davidson didn’t settle on one area.

“I feel like I have room to grow everywhere,” Davidson said. “I want to improve my footwork, range, hands, throwing. Even with a good arm I want to improve that.”