Matt Davidson may be a part of Rick Hahn's core, but he's not allowing himself to rest on his minor league accomplishments.
While Davidson slammed 16, 22, 23 and 20 home runs in his four full professional seasons, he's hit for power at the expense of high strikeout totals. In Triple-A last year, Davidson struck out in 26.8 percent of his plate appearances — 134 whiffs in 500 trips to the plate, to be exact.
The strikeouts haven't held Davidson back from being a productive player — he still had a slash line of .280/.351/.481 in Triple-A last year — though it's not an aspect of his game he's especially proud of.
"I don't want to be a guy who strikes out that much," Davidson said in a conference call Tuesday. "I hate looking at that column on the stat sheet at the end of the year and I always try to improve it going into the next year."
Having a high strikeout rate doesn't preclude a player from being successful — Mike Napoli struck out on 32 percent of his plate appearances and still had an .842 OPS last year, while Giancarlo Stanton had a 27.8 percent strikeout rate with an .845 OPS. Still, of the five major leaguers with over 250 plate appearances and a strikeout rate greater than 33 percent in 2013, none had a WAR over 0.5.
But Davidson's less concerned about the full-season numbers since he sees a game-to-game fix for his strikeout issues.
Davidson said his strikeouts generally come in bunches, and it's a correct perception. In Triple-A, he had three spans of five games in which he struck out 10 times. And only one of the 10 games in which Davidson struck out three or more times came sandwiched between games in which he didn't strike out.
In short: Indeed, Davidson's strikeouts generally came in bunches last year.
"It's more my approach that needs to get better, or just more consistent," Davidson said, "where I just need to be able to trust it and stick with that rather than just kind of getting out if it and trying to do too much or trying to do something else, when if I just stick to my approach I don't strike out."
Davidson believes if he avoids altering his approach while in those strikeout valleys, ultimately they'll be shorter and less frequent. But he recognizes that those spates of strikeouts will happen to plenty of successful major leaguers, and learning how to deal with them is the key to an overall reduction in whiffs.
"I just want to become the most complete player I can be," Davidson said. "And whatever that entails, I always work on everything, try to get better."