The Diamondbacks were dealt a very significant, and perhaps fatal blow on Sunday when Cody Ross dislocated his hip. On a personal level, I feel terrible for the guy as he’s truly been one of the friendliest and most entertaining individuals on the team since he joined the club over the winter. The injury will definitely cause him to miss the rest of the 2013 season and, depending on the severity of the injury, could result in a slow start to the 2014 season for the 32-year old. Recovery time should be at least five months and that’s if all goes well, clearing him right around the time spring drills begin.
This is yet another a blow for Arizona, a team that has watched its “Ace” disappear and eventually get traded, their leader on the field and behind the plate be ineffective all year long, their All-Star second baseman miss a large chunk of the season, their slugging left fielder regress to the point that he might not even be able to be given away and its bullpen implode again and again. Ross was the team’s best hitter over the last two weeks and had really started to come on strong, complimenting Martin Prado’s relative hot streak and the steady production of Paul Goldschmidt. Eric Chavez, the team’s other force at the plate, just hit the DL with a knee injury and not that there’s a good time to dislocate one’s hip, but it’s safe to say that this was bad timing for Cody and the Diamondbacks.
If we’re looking for a silver lining, which we’ve had to do way too frequently this year, the injury makes way for prospect Matt Davidson. While he’s raked in AAA at times this year, the organization doesn’t seem to be very high on the guy. There have been some reports of his defense being subpar at the hot corner and he’s posted some pretty gnarly strikeout rates in the minors. With that said, there’s definitely some pop in the bat and he takes a decent number of walks. The exposure to quality pitching will likely increase his strikeout rate, lower his walk rate and zap some of his power, rendering him short of average for a big-league third baseman. His ability to learn on the fly and grow as a professional will be critical.
Davidson, if you remember, won the AAA Home Run Derby and was named MVP of the Futures Game last month. His stock was the highest it had ever been and fans were clamoring for his call-up. It didn’t come, though. I feel like the organization knew he had some weaknesses and wanted to deal him from the minors before those weaknesses were exposed and his value decreased. That didn’t happen and now we all get to watch and wait to see what Matt Davidson becomes.
Unfortunately for Davidson, the call couldn’t have come at a worse time. Since the All Star Break, he’s put up a paltry .216/.317/.406 line with only two home runs and a 33% strikeout rate. For those praying that Matt Davidson is going to save this team, don’t get your hopes up. Maybe the call up to The Show will jumpstart him. It’s more probable, though, that big league pitchers will expose his weaknesses and we all discover what the organization already knew: Matt Davidson is not an impact bat at the major league level. At least not yet.
For the sake of Matt and the team, I hope that he catches fire immediately, proves the doubters wrong and the Diamondbacks have their answer to Yasiel Puig. Unfortunately, those odds are incredibly slim. The team is likely to see a pretty significant drop in production by replacing Ross and Chavez in the lineup with Davidson, but at least Matt will get his chance.
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