Oct 21, 2019

Rajai Davis: Mets Reserve Outfielder (2019)

Rajai Lavae Davis was born October 19th 1980 in Norwich, Connecticut. Davis grew up rooting for the New York Mets in the hey day of their mid to late 80's glory days. The five foot, ten speedy outfielder bats & throws right handed. He played football & little league in Willimantic, Conn. leading his baseball team to a Championship. 

He also attended New London high school where he earned letters on baseball, basketball & football. He is one of six players to be drafted out of the University of Connecticut (Groton). There he was the drafted in the 38th round by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

His long career began in Pittsburgh in 2006. He was then traded to the San Francisco Giants (along with Stephen MacFarland) for Matt Morris in 2007 where he stole a combined 22 bases (second most among rookies) in 75 games. 

In 2008 he was placed on waivers & claimed by the Oakland Athletics, where he would play through 2010. In 2009 he batted a career high .305 with 41 stolen bases. In 2010 he had career highs with 50 stolen bases 28 doubles 149 hits & 52 RBIs, as he batted .284 with 66 runs scored. 

In that off season he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for Danny Farquhar & Trystan Magnuson. In his first season there he was leading the league in steals in August but tore a hamstring cutting the rest of his season short. He came in 7th with his 34 stolen bases.

Then he would steal 45 bases two straight seasons, coming in second in the A.L. both times, while leading the league in caught stealing (13) in 2012.

 In a May game against the New York Mets he had his first multi HR game, driving in four runs in the 14-5 Met loss. He would drive in a career high five runs in a August game against the A.L. New York team. The next season he stole four bases in a game, tying a Jays franchise record with four others.

From there he signed with the Detroit Tigers where he stole 36 bases, coming in third in the league. On August 30th 2014, he hit the 28th walk off grand slam in MLB history, his first walk off HR in a game against the Athletics, off closer Sean Doolittle. 

The next year he went to the Cleveland Indians & led the AL in stolen bases with 43. He had career highs in 12 HRs & triples 11 for the AL Champions. 

2016 Post Season: He went hitless in both the ALDS & NLCS (8 games 12 at bats). In Game #3 of the ALCS against the Toronto Blue Jays, he reached base on a force play in the 3rd inning. He stole second off JA Happ & came around to score on Francisco Lindor's base hit that gave the Indians a 2-1 lead in which they held to win the game. 


In Game #7 of the 2016 World Series against the Chicago Cubs, he hit a game tying two run HR in the bottom of the 8th inning, off Aroldis Chapman. The Indians went on to lose the game in extra innings, giving the Cubs there first World championship in 108 years.

In 2017 he was with both the Oakland Athletics & Boston Red Sox stealing a combined 26 bases. In 2018 he was back with the Indians batting .224 stealing another 21 bases.

Mets Career: In December of 2017 he signed a minor league deal with the New York Mets. He began the year at AAA Syracuse where throughout the year, he would play a total 84 games, hit 8 HRs with 28 RBIs & 20 steals. He first got called up to the Mets on May 22nd, while taking batting practice for Syracuse in Pennsylvania. 

He took a two hour uber ride to Citi Field & arrived by the 3rd inning. He met his manager, Mickey Callaway in the 5th inning & got inserted as a pinch hitter in the 8th inning. He blasted a three run HR off the Nats Sean Doolittle helping the Mets in their 6-1 win.

After four games he was back to Syracuse, returning to the Mets on August 20th. Upon his return he drove in a run against his old Indians team with an 8th inning double, as the Mets swept the Tribe in three games during a five game win streak. 

On September 14th, with the Mets in the wild card hunt, the struggling Davis had his biggest Mets hit. In a scoreless pitchers duel between Jacob deGrom & Hyun-Jin Ryu, Davis came to bat in the 8th inning as a pinch hitter. He had not had a hit in his last 14 games (11 at bats) & was hitting just under .200.  

Dodger pitcher, Joe Kelly had hit Todd Frazier with a pitch earlier in the inning. Kelly was relieved by Julio Urias who then hit Brandon Nimmo with a pitch & then walked Amed Rosario loading the bases. Davis then doubled to left field, clearing the bases leading the Mets to an exciting 3-0 win. Davis would drive in another run with a pinch hit on September 25th in a win against the Miami Marlins.

Overall in 2019 for the Mets, Davis hit one HR with two doubles & eight RBIs batting .208 in 28 games. He drove in seven of his eight runs against left hander batting .267 as opposed to .111 against righties. Although he was the active stolen base leader in baseball he did not steal a base for the Mets.

In his 14 year career he has 1111 hits batting .262 with 62 HRs 226 doubles 43 triples 387 RBIs & a .311 on base % with 415 stolen bases (1st among active players in 2019). His 108 caught stealing is also first among active players.

Davis said he will work very hard in the off season in hopes to make an MLB club in 2020 at age 39. If not he will look forward to spending time with his young children.
He & his wife Marissa have a son & daughter.

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