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Reno's Davidson stays hot despite cold04/10/2013 2:35 AM ET
By Sam Dykstra / Special to MLB.com
With the game-time temperature at 42 degrees and dropping and the wind blowing left to right at 29 mph, the scene at Triple-A Salt Lake's Spring Mobile Ballpark felt like anything but spring for Tuesday's contest between the Bees and the Reno Aces.
"It was actually bearable at the start when the sun was up, but once it went down, it just got so cold," said Aces third baseman Matt Davidson. "After everything we did, we ran right back to the heater in the dugout. Play the field, back to the heater. Get your at-bat, back to the heater."
Maybe both teams would have been best served sitting next to Davidson's bat instead.
The D-backs' No. 4 prospect went 2-for-2 with a home run, two RBIs, two runs scored and three walks on Tuesday in Reno's 11-3 rout of Salt Lake. He has collected hits in his first five contests, and in three of those five games, he has produced multiple hits and multiple RBIs.
In total, he is 9-for-21 with two home runs, six RBIs and four walks in his first five Triple-A games.
Although he readily admits the atmosphere at this level boasts improved stadiums, hotels and even the step up from buses to planes, the biggest key to his early success has been an approach that's stayed consistent throughout his time in the Arizona farm system.
"All I want to do right now is put together some good at-bats," he said. "Sure, I focus on my strikeout-to-walk ratio to try and take my walks. But you've got to keep that main focus on the team and doing whatever you need to do to help it win. Everything else just becomes easier if you do it that way."
In his first Triple-A season, Davidson has encountered perhaps the most interesting team dynamic of his Minor League career. The Aces lineup Tuesday leaned both on prospects (Didi Gregorius, Chris Owings, Davidson) and former Major Leaguers (Mark Teahen, Kila Ka'aihue) through the top five spots in the lineup. All had at least one hit, and each one but Gregorius came around to score at least once.
For Davidson, that mixture provides a level of comfort. He's been surrounded by older players ready to teach and younger players who are similarly ready to learn at the same time.
"It's really cool to see the mix of guys we have here," said Davidson, who is connected to Teahen by their alma mater Yucaipa (Calif.) High School. "They've done the best they can to try to teach us how to play the game right, and the more we've been around them, the more little stuff we've been able to pick up. It's awesome."
But don't put all the credit there, because MLB.com's No. 77 prospect, it isn't the first time he's gotten off to a hot start in the Minor Leagues.
Davidson had a hit in each of his first nine games and reached base in the first 15 contests with Double-A Mobile in 2012. Through those 15 games, he owned a .426/.537/.667 batting line with two home runs and nine RBIs. His numbers finished at .261/.367/.469, with 23 homers and 76 RBIs after 135 games with the BayBears.
Davidson, however, wouldn't go as far as to say that he's an early riser when it comes to the season and instead chose a much wider view of his hot start.
"Obviously, this was my second time at big-league camp in the spring, and I'm really just trying to focus on what kind of player I am and knowing exactly what works for me in this game," he said. "In the Minor Leagues, you're told so many different things about what to do in so many situations. But once you figure out what's best for you, you're able to take it all to the next level."