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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Chris Davis to Infinity

Would it really be all that strange to start predicting 60 home runs for Chris Davis?  I mean, I know we aren't supposed to predict numbers that high... but seriously.  Dude is mashing.

And, he's not just mashing but he's exhibiting amazing balance, patience, and plate coverage.  He doesn't just punish mistake pitches.  He isn't just pulling the inside fastball down the line.  This guy is hitting against the shift, hitting to the opposite field, moving runners over.

And, as a result, he's hitting for average.  You know, to go with all of the power numbers.  Davis is hitting .359 and leading all of baseball in OPS with 1.214.  That just can't continue, can it?

Well, no...

Uh...  Yes and no...

Some yes..

Okay listen, he's got a .392 BABIP so far this year which indicates that he's been a bit lucky with the base hits.  But he's got a career BABIP of .342 so it's not too terribly far off.  A high BABIP makes sense for someone with super-human planet of Krypton strength.  Like Davis.  When he puts the ball in play it's coming at you faster than a speeding bullet.

The average is sure to come down, but even if he hits .300 the rest of the way he's going to finish the year with an average around .320.  Which is insane.

And, did I mention power?  He's on pace for 59 home runs and 156 RBI.  It just can't continue, right?  He's hit one extra base hit every 5.92 plate appearances this year.  In his minor league career he got one every 7.75 plate appearances and so far in the majors it's one every 9.5 PA's.  So, I wouldn't think that his current rate can continue.

If he gets 450 more PA's this year and gets one XBH for every 8 PA's, you're talking about 56 more XBH's and 93 for the year.  If 30 of those additional XBH's go for homers, he'll get 49 for the season.

It's crazy to say that 49 is a reasonable number, but that's what I'm saying.

And regarding batting average, this is a guy who hit .318 over more than 2,000 PA's in the minors.  I believe that the power and the average are both legit.  It's not far-fetched to say he ends up hitting .320 with 49 dingers this year.

One last thing about Davis.  For the first time in his major league career he has a set every-day position.  Last year he was a mainstay in the lineup but he played all over the diamond.  In Texas he was yanked all over the place including to and from the farm.  This year the Orioles said, "Chris we believe in you.  You will be the first baseman all year.  We live and die with you.  No need to ever look over your shoulder."  For some people that is what it takes to get comfortable and produce.  Maybe Davis is one of those guys.

I hate to keep harping on his minor league numbers, but that is the last time he was this comfortable.  And, in the minors he was epic.  His MiLB numbers were positively Andruw Jones-ian.  (Which is to say, more than merely amazing.  He wasn't just a hot hitting prospect.  His MiLB production was some of the best ever.)

So, if you could get him in trade for something like Edwin Encarnacion plus Andrew Cashner you have to do it.  The owner in your league with Davis may think he's selling high.  You're going to have to deal a very good 1B plus something like a quality starter or some other piece of good value.  Don't get too carried away, because he's likely to go for .300 and 30 HR the rest of the way... which is great, but he will regress just a bit.

Adrian Gonzalez plus Max Scherzer, maybe?