Matthew Glen Davidson
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 2", Weight 225 lb.
- High School Yucaipa High School
- Debut August 11, 2013
Davidson was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the supplemental first round of the 2009 amateur draft, with the 35th pick. He was signed by scout Jeff Mousser for a reported $900,000 and moved straight from high school to playing for the Yakima Bears in the Northwest League that season, hitting .241/.312/.319 in 72 games. He started the 2010 season with the South Bend Silver Hawks of the Midwest League and did very well, hitting .289 in 113 games, with 35 doubles, 16 homers and 79 RBI. He was given a promotion to the Visalia Oaks of the California League at the end of the year, but hit only .169 in 21 games. He made Baseball America's top 100 prospect list for the first time, checking in at number 99. He returned to Visalia in 2011 and this time did much better, hitting .277/.348/.465 in 135 games. He showed very good power once again, with 39 doubles and 20 homers, racking up an impressive 106 RBI. He was now ranked #97 by Baseball America
Matt was promoted to the AA Mobile Bay Bears in 2012 and continued to hit well against the more advanced competition of the Southern League. In 135 games, his batting line was .261/.367/.469, with 28 doubles and 23 homers. He continued to figure on the prospect charts, this time at #88. He was assigned to the Reno Aces of the AAA Pacific Coast League in 2013 and had a very strong first half, during which he .291 with 24 doubles and 14 homers. He was named to the United States team for the 2013 Futures Game and started at third base. He hit a two-run homer off Michael Ynoa that gave the U.S. a 3-2 lead it would not relinquish in the 4th inning and was named the game's Most Valuable Player as a result.
A month after his star turn at baseball's premier prospect showcase, he was called up to the The Show and made his debut for the Diamondbacks on August 11, 2013. He entered the game at third base in the top of the 2nd inning against the New York Mets after LF Cody Ross suffered a leg injury running out a ground ball (Martin Prado moved from 3B to LF at the same time). Facing Jon Niese, he flied out to center in his first at-bat in the 3rd, then singled off Niese to lead off the 6th for his first big league hit. He finished the game 1 for 3 as the D-Backs lost the game, 9-5. He played 31 games for the Diamondbacks, hitting .237/.333/.434 with 6 doubles and 3 homers. On December 16th, the D-Backs traded him to the Chicago White Sox in return for closer Addison Reed.
It seemed at that point like he was ready to assume a full-time role with his new team, but in 2014, he was assigned to the AAA Charlotte Knights but hit a meager .199 in 130 games. he did show some power with 18 doubles and 20 homers. 2015 was more of the same, with 141 games at Charlotte concluding with a modest .203 average, but 22 doubles and 23 homers. In 2016 he once again started the year with the Knights and in 75 games, he improved to .268, maintaining solid power with 20 doubles and 10 homers. The White Sox were ready to give him a shot at that point, and called him up on June 30th, but he broke his right foot in his first game, when he went 1-for-2, and was done for the season. He had thus become a bit of a forgotten man by 2017 when he made the team out of spring training. At first, he was a back-up at three positions, playing behind established stars Juan Abreu at first base and Todd Frazier and third, and also getting some work as the DH. However he emerged as one of the team's best hitters, hitting .286 in April and ,241 in May, with 10 homers and 25 RBIs. He then went on a tear in June, when he homered in four consecutive games from June 12-15. By then there were rumors that the Sox were looking to trade Frazier in order to give Matt a shot at the regular third base job, something which happened on July 18th. He ended up playing 113 games for Chicago, with a .220 average but 26 homers and 68 RBIs. He also displayed some of the worst plate discipline in the majors, with 165 strikeouts but only 19 walks.
On March 29, 2018 starting for the White Sox at DH, he became just the fourth player in major league history to hit three homers on Opening Day. Tuffy Rhodes, George Bell and Dmitri Young were the others. He achieved the feat in a 14-7 win over the Kansas City Royals, belting his blasts against Danny Duffy in the 4th, Blaine Boyer in the 5th and Brian Flynn in the 8th, driving in 5 runs while scoring 4. That season, Davidson became the go-to guy for manager Rich Renteria whenever he needed a position player to pitch an inning in a blow-out loss. Davidson said he enjoyed the role, having pitched regularly through high school, and did not allow any runs in his first three outings in the role. Someone then pointed out that he and Babe Ruth were the only players in American League history to have hit 15 homers and pitched 3 games in one season, Ruth having done so in 1919 as a two-way player for the Boston Red Sox. Shohei Ohtani was also closing in on the mark, as he was at 11 homers and had already fulfilled the pitching requirement when Davidson made his third appearance on August 7th. Ohtani finished the year with 22 homers to also join the small club. For his part, Davidson hit ,228 in 123 games, with 20 homers and 62 RBIs and did not make any other pitching appearance.
He signed as a free agent with the Texas Rangers in 2019 but spent the entire season in the minors with the AAA Nashville Sounds. He hit .264 with 33 homers and 101 in 125 games, numbers that show that he could have helped someone in the majors. On January 2, 2020, he signed a free agent contract with the Cincinnati Reds and when the season finally started on July 24th, he was the starting DH, going 0-for-2 before giving way to pinch-hitter Jesse Winker in a 7-1 win over the Detroit Tigers. However, the very next day, he tested positive for COVID-19 and was immediately placed on the disabled list. That test was likely a false positive though, as none of the subsequent tests he underwent came back positive, and neither did a test for COVID-19 antibodies.
- 20-Home Run Seasons: 2 (2017 & 2018)