WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Astros third baseman Alex Bregman could be on the verge of becoming a star. Colin Moran has had a terrific spring camp at the plate and figures to start at third base at Triple-A Fresno to begin the season.
J.D. Davis, ranked as the Astros' No. 13 prospect by MLBPipeline.com, doesn't need to be reminded of any of this. The Astros are stacked at the big league level and have built up talent at the upper levels of the Minor Leagues, too, making the track to the big leagues more difficult for promising prospects like Davis.
"The elephant in the room is Bregman," Davis said Wednesday while discussing his future in the organization. "Bregman is at third."
Davis, 23, had a strong season as the third baseman at Double-A Corpus Christi last year, hitting .268 with 34 doubles, 23 homers and 81 RBIs. With raw power and a strong arm, he shed 10-12 pounds in the offseason to show he was ready to take his game to the next level. Literally.
Davis went 3-for-4 on Wednesday against the Twins and is hitting .342 with a .409 on-base percentage in 38 at-bats. He took advantage of extra playing time while Bregman and shortstop Carlos Correa were away for the World Baseball Classic. Marwin Gonzalez has started more up the middle the spring, leaving more at-bats for Moran and Davis at third. Moran was optioned to Minor League camp earlier this week.
"Obviously, we're pretty loaded at the top end of the Minor Leagues and he's done really well," Houston manager A.J. Hinch said. "No matter where he starts or where he finishes, he's looking more and more like an intriguing bat that can hit at the big league level."
Davis is playing at about 228 pounds after playing last season at 238, which has helped improve his footwork.
"I really wanted to show to Hinch and the front office I could stick over there at third and obviously what I learned in the second half over in Corpus and apply it to now," he said. "I've really taken off on it and want to show everybody I can hit Major League pitching."
But what about the elephant in the room? Davis could wind up playing some first base and has played in the outfield as well. Still, former top prospect A.J. Reed is at first base for Fresno and the Fresno outfield also figures to be crowded.
"The only thing I can do is control what I can control, and that's keep working hard, keep showing up every day, keep getting good at-bats and keep playing good defense," he said. "That's all I can do right now."
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.