Spring training is still in the early stages, but Matt Davidson has already been turning heads at the White Sox' camp in Glendale, Ariz.
Eventually, he'll be judged on hitting for power and playing solid defense at third base. But for now, Davidson's full head of flowing hair is attracting attention.
Contact information ( * required )
"Growing up in high school, I never heard about hair because everybody has hair like that," Davidson told ESPN Chicago. "I'm here and all of a sudden I hear, 'Show Hair' and all of that. When I got called up to the Diamondbacks that's all everybody was talking about, the announcers and everything."
Davidson, a Yucaipa, Calif., native, is obviously hoping to switch the focus from his hair to his game.
Spring training can be a tedious exercise for established players, but the 22-year-old newcomer has to realize the better he performs in the Cactus League, the better his chances of breaking camp on the Sox' 25-man roster.
"We feel he has the potential to be a middle-of-the-order run producer for a long time," general manager Rick Hahn said after acquiring Davidson from Arizona in a December trade for closer Addison Reed. "Whether that starts on Opening Day 2104 or soon thereafter, we'll have to figure that out over the coming weeks and months as we get to know him and see him ourselves."
Davidson has 31 games of major-league experience, all with the Diamondbacks last season. The 6-foot-2, 225-pounder batted .237 with 3 home runs and 12 RBI while striking out 24 times in 87 plate appearances.
"I just have to take care of what I need to take care of," Davidson said when asked about starting the season with the White Sox. "Hopefully, everything goes well. I trust whatever decision they make. The long-term goal is obviously to be there, whether it's starting April 1 or June or even if it takes a full year. I just know that when I get there, I want to stick in the big leagues. I don't want to be up and down."
Davidson has the potential to give the Sox the power bat they've been seeking at third base. He hit 60 home runs in 385 games the past three seasons with Class A Visalia, AA Mobile and AAA Reno but also struck out 407 times in 1,464 at-bats.
"I don't want to be a guy who strikes out that much," Davidson said. "I hate looking at that column on the stat sheet at the end of the year, and I always try to improve it going into the next year. It's more my approach that needs to get better -- or just more consistent -- where I just need to be able to trust it and stick with that rather than just kind of getting out if it and trying to do too much or trying to do something else."
The Sox do have internal options at third base if Davidson requires more minor-league seasoning.
Jeff Keppinger is back after a disappointing 2013 season that ended in late September with right shoulder surgery. Signed for two more years, Keppinger had a .253/.283/.317 hitting line last season.
Conor Gillaspie started 107 games at third base last year and batted .245 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI. If Davidson is deemed ready to go out of spring training, Gillaspie could be traded.
Marcus Semien started 13 games at third base in September and batted .261 with 3 homers and 7 RBI in 21 games with the White Sox.