Eighteen White Sox questions for 2018: Can Matt Davidson keep himself in the long-term picture?

Vinnie Duber
NBC Sports Chicago

White Sox fans might have their eyes on the future, but the 2018 season has plenty of intrigue all its own. As Opening Day nears, let's take a look at the 18 most pressing questions for the 2018 edition of the South Side baseball team.

The White Sox roster is full of guys who are embarking on "prove it" campaigns in 2018.

And Matt Davidson is one of those guys.

Projected to be the White Sox everyday designated hitter, that's a designation most fans only became comfortable with after Davidson started tearing things up in the Cactus League. Prior to that, the DH spot was the subject of much offseason discussion. There were reports that the team was looking for an upgrade, especially as this offseason's weird free-agent market presented several seemingly bargain options to do so.

The White Sox didn't end up going that way, instead opting to allow Davidson to get the at-bats needed to show whether he's part of the long-term picture on the South Side or not.

Going only by 2017, it'd be tough to answer that question. Davidson ranked second on the team with 26 homers, trailing only Jose Abreu and ahead of an All Star in Avisail Garcia. But other aspects of his offensive game were woefully lacking. He reached base at just a .260 clip, an on-base percentage that was the second worst among regular players in the American League. Davidson struck out 165 times and walked just 19 times. Teammate Tim Anderson takes a lot of heat for not walking, but Davidson is just as bad in that category.

But given enough time, Davidson might be able to figure things out. And one of the silver linings of a season in which the White Sox aren't expected to contend is that they can see what they've got in guys like Davidson. So he'll get the chance to prove himself.

He's done it before. In 75 games at Triple-A Charlotte in 2016, Davidson finished with a .349 on-base percentage, not far off his career high in the minor leagues.

And he's doing it now. As mentioned, Davidson is having himself a very nice spring. Through 13 games, he's slashing .375/.444/.725 with three homers, three doubles, a triple, five runs scored, 16 RBIs and five walks compared to nine strikeouts. The results don't mean much of anything before the games start counting, but it's a good sign from a guy with a lot on the line this season.

Will he be a part of the team's long-term future? Will be around when the rebuild reaches its apex and the White Sox are planned to compete on an annual basis? That's to be determined in 2018.

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