From the Field: Rajai Davis, of, Cleveland Indians

The most depressing thing about the Indians, post-Rotation Decimation 2016, is that there are a couple Indians would are having very special, and one could argue career, years. None more than Rajai Davis.

Davis was drafted in the 38th round (1134th overall) by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2001. Despite being a late round pick, he became a well regarded prospect by 2004, ranking the Pirates #11 prospect. He would hold the same rank in 2005, and fall to #27 in 2006. He would get 14 at bats in 2006, but in 2007 would put up a respectable .279/.361/.374 with 22 SB in 190 at bats.

Davis would bounce around . He was traded by the Pirates to the Giants in 2007; put on waivers in 2008 and snagged by Oakland; traded by Oakland in 2010 to the Blue Jays; signed as a free agent in 2013 with the Tigers.

It would be with Oakland in 2009 that he would get a decent amount at-bats. Prior to that he had some nice seasons in limited action, but I don’t think anyone thought he was more than a 4th OF or platoon type. 2009 changed that, and in 390 at bats he hit .305/.360/.423 with 41 SB. That was good for a 3.3 WAR. In 2010 his OBP took a hit (.320), but he stole 50 bases. His WAR dropped to 1.5.

Those seasons, his age 28 and 29 seasons, looks like his career years.

With Toronto and Detroit he was a speedy 4th OF type. He never really got on base like he did in 2009, and from 2010-2015 went .266/.309/.387, averaging 38 SB and 1 WAR. Despite his limited offensive output, he was still fast and a plus outfielder. So a useful player.

This past season he signed a one year contract with the Tribe. The idea was that he could be a borderline full time starter while Michael Brantley was out, then shift into a 4th outfielder once Brantley returned. But Brantley never did, and Davis has, as of this writing, gotten 423 at bats.

His numbers this season are kind of impressive, especially when you consider that he is 35 years old: .255/.314/.404 with 12 HR and 40 stolen bases. Those 12 HR are a career high, and those 40 SB lead the American League.  Add in his plus defense…and we have a player who kind of reminds you of a poor mans Kenny Lofton.  And that is high praise, I think.

These two autographs are from a private signing a couple weeks ago. I thought they were lost and totally gave up on them. Then they just showed up in the mail today. Made my night. He is kind of a tough autograph, and does not have a ton of nice on-card autographs.

Year Age Tm Lg G AB H HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2006 25 PIT NL 20 14 2 0 0 1 3 2 3 .143 .250 .214 .464 22
2007 26 TOT NL 75 190 53 1 9 22 6 21 28 .279 .361 .374 .735 91
2007 26 PIT NL 24 48 13 0 2 5 2 7 3 .271 .357 .354 .711 88
2007 26 SFG NL 51 142 40 1 7 17 4 14 25 .282 .363 .380 .743 92
2008 27 TOT MLB 113 214 52 3 19 29 6 8 40 .243 .272 .346 .618 67
2008 27 SFG NL 12 18 1 0 0 4 0 1 6 .056 .105 .056 .161 -56
2008 27 OAK AL 101 196 51 3 19 25 6 7 34 .260 .288 .372 .660 79
2009 28 OAK AL 125 390 119 3 48 41 12 29 70 .305 .360 .423 .784 108
2010 29 OAK AL 143 525 149 5 52 50 11 26 78 .284 .320 .377 .697 91
2011 30 TOR AL 95 320 76 1 29 34 11 15 63 .238 .273 .350 .623 67
2012 31 TOR AL 142 447 115 8 43 46 13 29 102 .257 .309 .378 .687 86
2013 32 TOR AL 108 331 86 6 24 45 6 21 67 .260 .312 .375 .687 88
2014 33 DET AL 134 461 130 8 51 36 11 22 75 .282 .320 .401 .721 103
2015 34 DET AL 112 341 88 8 30 18 8 22 76 .258 .306 .440 .746 104
2016 35 CLE AL 124 423 108 12 46 40 5 32 95 .255 .314 .404 .718 83
11 Yrs 1191 3656 978 55 351 362 92 227 697 .268 .315 .389 .704 90
162 Game Avg. 162 497 133 7 48 49 13 31 95 .268 .315 .389 .704 90
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/19/2016.
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