Baseball

Area beat: J.D. Davis tearing up Cal League

Elk Grove native and Astros prospect J.D. Davis hits a two-run home run in the fifth inning Aug. 9 for the Lancaster JetHawks in an 8-0 win against the High Desert Mavericks.
Elk Grove native and Astros prospect J.D. Davis hits a two-run home run in the fifth inning Aug. 9 for the Lancaster JetHawks in an 8-0 win against the High Desert Mavericks. Lancaster JetHawks

For Lancaster JetHawks third baseman J.D. Davis (Elk Grove High School), the baseball looks like a volleyball these days.

The Houston Astros’ third-round pick in 2014 and 13th-rated prospect is on a rare hot streak in baseball.

It’s a good stretch, but eventually, you’re going to come back down to earth.

Lancaster third baseman J.D. Davis

Davis homered in six straight games (Aug. 4-9) and had 10 in a 15-game stretch. Entering the weekend, his 88 RBIs led the California League, and in 106 games, he had 24 doubles, three triples and 22 home runs.

“It’s a good stretch, but eventually, you’re going to come back down to earth,” Davis told MiLB.com. “I know that for sure. The thing I can do right now is just keep taking good at-bats, taking team at-bats. … I’m feeding off my teammates, too. They’re getting on base, and I’m just getting good swings and driving in runs.”

The 22-year-old Davis, who’s batting .280, struggled earlier this season.

“I was very inconsistent throughout the first half, and starting at the beginning of the second half, I was not really going up there with an approach,” Davis, the Cal League Player of the Week for Aug. 3-9, told MiLB.com. “Like any good hitter in the game, they’re playing mind games with themselves. They over-think things. I was just doing that and wasn’t really sticking with my strength and a good approach.”

Davis said he’s satisfied with his mindset now.

“These last two, three weeks of success, I’ve been really being patient and disciplined in my approach, sticking to what I do best, and that’s driving the ball to right-center,” he said. “I’m really searching for a pitch, not really chasing for anything pitchers are giving me to chase out of the zone.”

Catching up

▪ Reading (Pa.) Fightin Phils catcher Andrew Knapp (Granite Bay) is thriving against Double-A pitching after his promotion from the Advanced Class-A Clearwater (Fla.) Threshers. During an 11-game hitting streak entering the weekend, Knapp had 27 hits and six three-hit games. In 36 games with Reading, the Philadelphia Phillies’ second-round pick in 2013 is hitting .411 with a .459 on-base percentage and a .709 slugging percentage. In 63 games at Clearwater, his numbers were .262, .356 and .369. The switch hitter, who began his onslaught on Eastern League pitching with a 17-game hitting streak, was named the league’s Player of the Week for Aug. 3-9.

▪ Brooklyn (N.Y.) Cyclones right-hander Alex Palsha (Sacramento State) was named to the South team for Tuesday’s New York-Penn League All-Star Game in Aberdeen, Md.

▪ Right-hander Vance Worley (McClatchy) accepted his outright assignment by the Pittsburgh Pirates’ to Triple-A Indianapolis.

.411Batting average of Reading catcher Andrew Knapp

▪ Catcher Tyler LaTorre (UC Davis)and first baseman Tyler Kuresa (Oakmont) were released by the Milwaukee Brewers and Minnesota Twins, respectively.

▪ Danny Hayes (Jesuit) of the Birmingham (Ala.) Barons was rated the best defensive first baseman in the Eastern League by managers and coaches.

Mark McDermott is a freelance writer specializing in Sacramento-area baseball. Contact him at egmacker@yahoo.com.

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