Can JD Davis help lift a struggling Oakland A's offense?

JD Davis is expected to be activated off the IL before Friday's matchup against the Marlins
Washington Nationals v Oakland Athletics
Washington Nationals v Oakland Athletics / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

After the demotion of first baseman Ryan Noda to Triple-A Las Vegas on Wednesday night, the Athletics are currently a player short on their 26-man active roster.

Though no roster move has been made as of this morning, it's expected that the A's will activate infielder JD Davis off the 10-day IL to fill the spot. Davis has been on the IL since April 15, dealing with a right adductor strain. He began a rehab stint with the Aviators earlier this week and is expected to be ready to go for this weekend's series against the Marlins.

Davis hadn't been hitting well prior to his IL trip, posting a line of .196/.255/.373 with two homers and a strikeout rate approaching 30%. He's been a consistently good hitter throughout his career though, and the A's desperately need the old version of Davis when he returns.

What's Davis walking into?

So far in 2024, the A's have one of MLB's worst offenses. They have the worst team batting average in the league, they're 27th by OPS, and are 29th in runs scored. Tyler Nevin and Abraham Toro have been solid, as has Kyle McCann in limited time behind the plate. Outside of that it's been tough to watch.

If Davis can get back to where he was before the start of this year, it'll go a long way to getting the A's back on track. In the two seasons prior to signing with Oakland, Davis hit .248/.331/.415, good for a 109 OPS+.

Just six of the fifteen position players to earn a plate appearance with the A's in 2024 have an OPS+ over 100, or better than league average. And two of those six, Esteury Ruiz and Kyle McCann, are not getting everyday playing time.

The A's are doing what they can with what they have. The bullpen has been lights out, and the rotation feels like it's starting to turn the corner for the better. But the offense isn't doing its part.

The A's have been winning in spite of their offensive output. They're 7-3 in their last 10 games and are up to 15-17 on the year. Outside of their two series against the Guardians, they've looked pretty competent, which is a far cry from where the team was at this point last year.

A fully healthy JD Davis should be a difference maker for this team. But even if he comes back at full strength, he can't do it alone. The A's hitters need to get things going in the right direction, and sooner than later at that.