J.D. Davis Wins Triple-A Batting Title; Gets Recalled Up to Astros

J.D. Davis
Jerome Miron - USA TODAY Sports

ROUND ROCK, Texas – Fresno Grizzlies and former Cal State Fullerton infielder  J.D. Davis etched his name into Pacific Coast League history by winning the League's 2018 batting title, the league office announced Wednesday. Davis hit .341, beating Salt Lake's Jose Fernandez by eight points, to become the third player in franchise history to achieve the feat, joining John Bowker (2009, .342 average) and Brian Dallimore (2003, .352 average).

Davis was also called back up to the Majors, earning a spot back on the Houston Astros, as the league expanded its rosters on Tuesday.

Davis was one of the key offensive cogs for Triple-A Fresno team that won the Pacific Northern Division, finishing the regular season with the PCL's second‐best record (82‐57). The Astros farmhand accumulated 114 hits in 334 at‐bats, 44 of which went for extra‐bases. Davis ripped 25 doubles, two triples and 17 home runs in 85 games. The California native collected multiple hits in over 40 percent of the games he played (37‐of‐85). He had three or more hits in 12 contests, including a season‐high four knocks on three occasions. On May 17 against eventual Pacific Southern Division Champion El Paso, Davis hit for the cycle, while also recording a season‐high five RBI, two runs and a walk in Fresno's 9‐7 win.

Davis also had three games which he hit two home runs, two of which came in consecutive contests, August 16‐17 at Tacoma; that capped a stretch that saw him hit six home runs over a four‐game span and earned him PCL Player of the Week honors for the period of August 13‐19.

The Cal State Fullerton product had a season‐high 12‐game hitting streak from April 28‐May 9, a span in which he posted a .551 average (27‐for‐49) with 17 RBI. Davis hit a monthly‐best .470 (31‐for‐66) in 17 May contests. He was also particularly effective against left‐handed pitchers (.408, 31‐for‐76) and in road games (.387, 72‐for‐186).

Davis, in his fifth year in the Astros organization, made Houston's Opening Day roster and has since been recalled to the Major Leagues twice. The third‐round draft pick in 2014 has climbed up the organizational ladder, appearing in Fresno in each of the past two seasons. In 101 games at the Triple‐A level, Davis has hit .335 (132‐for‐394) with 22 home runs and 99 RBI. Davis' career accolades include twice being named a mid‐season All‐Star (2016, 2017), both with Double‐A Corpus Christi, a postseason All‐Star (2017) and an eight‐time recipient of a league's Player of the Week.

To qualify for a batting title in Minor League Baseball, hitters must have the number of total plate appearances equaling 2.7 multiplied by the number of games scheduled in the League's Championship season. For the 140‐game 2018 campaign, hitters qualified by recording 378 or more plate appearances.

Davis, who fell a single plate appearance short of qualifying, is deemed the League's 2018 batting champion because of Official Baseball Rule 9.22(a); the rule states, "… any player with fewer than the

required number of plate appearances whose average would be the highest, if he were charged with the required number of plate appearances shall be awarded the batting championship."

Davis made his Major League Baseball debut for the Astros last season on August 5, 2017, becoming the 64th Titan in program history to make it to the bigs. He was originally drafted in the third round of the 2014 MLB June Amateur Draft.

Davis put together a superb career while playing for Rick Vanderhook, as he was named a two-time Big West First Team member. Davis finished his four-year career at Fullerton batting .308, while collecting 175 hits, 33 doubles, blasting 14 home runs and recording 113 RBI. He of course helped lead the Titans to the postseason in all four seasons, including a trip to the Super Regionals in 2013.  

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