A's prospect Davidson learning from Crosby

March 13th, 2021

For some top prospects, the lack of a Minor League season in 2020 could have stunted their development. That was not the case with .

Participating in the A’s alternate training site in San Jose, Calif., last summer, Davidson -- Oakland’s No. 5 prospect per MLB Pipeline -- utilized the resources available to him to refine his swing and add some muscle. Last month, he arrived at Spring Training as a mini-camp invitee, weighing around 210 pounds after adding 20 pounds to his 6-foot-3 frame. The difference was immediately noticeable to A’s manager Bob Melvin, who saw the switch-hitting shortstop driving the ball with more power than he showed last spring as a non-roster invite.

“Davidson has swung the bat really well. He looks like he’s gained some strength and some weight,” Melvin said. “The more he gets to play and the more at-bats he gets, the more confident he’ll be. He’s going to be a good player.”

Davidson, 23, is well aware of the pressures that come with being the 29th overall pick of the 2019 Draft. Luckily for him, he had a coach at the alternate site who has already been down that road before.

Bobby Crosby, a former first-round pick by the A’s and 2004 American League Rookie of the Year, was set to manage Oakland’s former Class A Advanced affiliate, the Stockton Ports, last season. (Stockton is now the organization's Class A affiliate.) After the season was shelved due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Crosby was one of the A’s Minor League coaches sent to work with the young players at the alternate site. Being a former shortstop, Crosby naturally found a connection with Davidson.

“It’s been great establishing a routine with Bobby,” Davidson said. “We established a pretty good routine in the alternate site, things we’re still doing now. He’s been someone to look up to. Someone that has been there in big situations, Rookie of the Year, he’s got a lot of things going for him.”

Davidson continues to work with Crosby and other coaches on his evolving swing at the A’s Spring Training complex in Mesa, Ariz. Prior to his arrival, he spent the winter working on his approach at the plate with his father, former big league outfielder Mark Davidson.

“It’s a continuous cycle,” Davidson said. “Some of the things I’ve been working on is not drifting to the ball. It’s hard to explain without showing, but it’s kind of not drifting and sinking to the ball and staying strong on my backside and allowing the barrel to deliver instead of trying to go get it. Keeping good posture is the best way to put it. Allowing my longer limbs to do the damage.”

The process is constant, and the results have been paying off as Davidson continues to drive the ball well to the opposite field from the left side. In five games this spring, Davidson is 3-for-6 with a home run, a double and five RBIs.

The A’s have not shied away from casting high expectations on the shortstop. Upon drafting him out of Clemson in 2019, A’s scouting director Eric Kubota compared Davidson to 2020 World Series MVP Corey Seager when asked if the first-rounder reminded him of anyone in the big leagues.

Davidson doesn’t mind the comparisons. He actually tries to pattern his left-handed swing after the Dodgers star. As far as making a similar impact to Seager at the Major League level, Davidson knows there is still work to be done. His only Minor League experience is 54 games in 2019 at Class A Short Season Vermont, where he hit .239 with four homers and seven doubles. But if he carries his offensive improvements this spring into the upcoming season, the A’s won’t hesitate to quickly move him up the system.

For now, Davidson will look to make the most of his playing time in games this spring and to leave a good impression in front of the big league staff.

“It always comes back to the experience. You’re trying to learn and get better every day. But when it comes time to games, it’s just a matter of performing,” Davidson said. “At some point, it doesn’t matter how good you are in batting practice or how good you were in the Draft, you have to do it between the lines. That’s what it comes down to.

“This spring, it’s been great to have opportunities to play in games. It really feels like it’s been a super long time since I’ve been on the field. My first time at short, I was thinking to myself, ‘Dang, I haven’t been out here in so long.’ I kind of forgot who goes where. So it’s good to let the game come to you and let it be more natural. Just getting that experience this spring has been great and I’m excited to take that with me into the season.”