Chris Davis homered twice for the Orioles twice Wednesday against the rival Nationals, and any day now, someone is going to purchase DidChrisDavisHomerToday.com.
While everyone tracks Miguel Cabrera in his attempt to win the Triple Crown in back-to-back seasons, this week Davis is the buzzy player who’s putting up pre-BALCO level power numbers. As of today, the 27-year-old Texan leads baseball in the following categories:
- Home runs: 19
- Slugging percentage: .766 (good golly)
- OPS: 1.214
- Extra Base Hits: 37
- Runs Created: 57.6
- Runs Created Per 27 Outs: 12.76
- Isolated Power: .408 (108 points higher than No. 2, Bryce Harper)
- Secondary Average: .565
By traditional and or Sabermetric evaluations, that’s pretty, pret-tay good, especially when you recall Davis struck out 150 times in 391 at-bats in 2009 playing for the Rangers. (And a further 169 times playing full-time for the Orioles in 2012.)
Davis has gotten hot this week, but this season his April and May splits are nearly identical. He had nine homers in April, 10 in May. He April OPS was 1.171 and in May it’s 1.257. Can he keep it going? His lifetime numbers in June, July and August would predict a massive cool down, since he’s batted just .227, .239, .238 over those months respectively through his career.
Beyond that, in over 1,700 career at-bats Davis has struck out nearly 33 percent of the time. This year he’s cut down on strikeouts (48 in 184 at bats — 26 percent) while drawing 29 walks, just eight shy of his entire total for free passes in 2012.
The key here with Davis seems to be the Camden Yards factor. In 121 games at Oriole Park he’s hit 33 homers with a .292/.351/.563 line.
Players finishing with an OPS north of 1.200 for the entire season has only happened 20 times in baseball history. Seven of those seasons were by Babe Ruth, four by Barry Bonds and two apiece from Ted Williams and Rogers Horsnby. No matter how hot he is in May, Davis is probably not going to finish with an OPS that will have his name listed among the game’s immortal players. If he does, we all tip our caps as witnesses to one of the better offensive seasons in baseball history.
Chances are Davis drifts back toward the pack, at least in terms of average, since he’s only a .269 lifetime hitter and that’s bolstered by his incredible start to the 2013 season. His power numbers figure to stick around, but will it be homer or nothing like most of his career had been to this point or a more complete hitter as we’ve seen for two months in 2013?
At the very least it looks like Baltimore picked up a franchise cornerstone when they acquired Davis, along with Tommy Hunter in 2011 for Koji Uehara.
[Photo via Getty]