• May

    Chris Davis: MOO bat

    Chris Davis is other world hot right now. After we acquired him in 2011, I wrote:

    According to Baseball Reference, "Similar batters through age 24",

    Chris Davis has some nice company:
    Carlos Delgado (980)
    Justin Morneau (971)
    Dick Gernert (962)
    Jose Cruz (961)
    Willie Stargell (954) *
    Brian Hunter (953)
    Frank Thomas (952)
    Pat Burrell (952)
    Albert Belle (948)
    Melvin Nieves (946)

    The high average in the minors despite the lack of walks and high K rate gives me hope that he could be better than a lot of people think. Grant it he's played in some hitters' parks, but he's got a chance to become a good player over at first base. In case anyone was wondering, he's only nine months older than Brandon Snyder and 11 months older than Joe Mahoney yet has already put up a .751 OPS in 957 major league plate appearances. Snyder has a career .771 minor league OPS and Mahoney has a career .769 OPS. In other words, he's clearly a better option at first base for the Orioles for now.”

    Basically I was just saying he was a better option than Snyder or Mahoney which was obviously correct,   but I have to admit I soured a bit on him after his first action with the Orioles when he didn't show much pop but a lot of K's. In fact, he seemed pretty undisciplined and even through mid-August of last year, Davis was really a replacement level bat.

    But something really clicked for him since about mid-August of last year. On August 16th, Davis had a .250/.300/.429/.729 line with a horrid 25-124 BB-K ratio. Anyone on that date who predicted that Davis would become one of the top hitters in all of Major League Baseball over the next 90 games should go buy lottery tickets because it's truly a remarkable turnaround.

    From Aug 17 to the end of last season (152 PAs) Davis has hit .326/.395/.704/1.098 with 15 homers and a 12-45 BB-K ratio. Added on to his numbers this year, and in his last 90 games covering 371 PAs, Davis has hit .345/.426/.740/1.166 with 34 homers, 24 doubles and a 41-93 BB-K ratio.

    Davis has just become a better hitter and has stopped chasing as many pitches out of the zone. Is O-Swing% (PCT of swinging at balls outside the zone) has dropped from 42% in 2011 to 39.5% last year to 33.1% this year. In addition, he’s not missing many pitches in the zone as his Z-Contact% (swings in which he makes contact in the strike zone) has risen from 78.6% in 2011 to 82.7% last year to career best 89.3% this year so far.

    With these trends, it seems as though Davis has just matured as a hitter and has really come into his own. He may not continue to hit at his current other worldly pace all season, but in my opinion, Davis has developed into the middle of the order hitter the Orioles needed. With his easy power to all fields, the ability to hit all pitches (he has plus pitch values against every pitch but a split-finger), and there’s little reason to think that Davis won’t continue to be an impact hitter for the Orioles now and in the future.

    Crush Davis is here to stay folks. Enjoy the ride.

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Tony Pente

Tony has owned and operated Orioles Hangout since 1996 and is well known for his knowledge of the Baltimore Orioles organization from top to bottom. He's a frequent guest on Baltimore-area sports radio stations and can be heard regularly on the 105.7 FM The Fan. His knowledge and contacts within the Orioles minor league system and the major league baseball scouting industry is unparalleled in the Baltimore media and is known as an expert on the Orioles prospects.