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Preaching patience with Chris Davis...


EagleOriole

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I have always liked the Chris Davis acquisition. Given that we didn't expect to be in a wild card race this year I hoped the Orioles would give him 550 ABs and see what he could be.

I saw the way he was yo-yo'd by the Ranger organization and thought if given an opportunity and not just demoted or kept on the bench he could eventually do some damage.

From age 22-25, Davis was given opportunities with the Rangers, but never was able to stay up in the major leagues:

22 - AAA 1.086 OPS - for Texas .285/.331/.549/.880 (295 ABs)

23 - AAA .939 OPS - for Texas .238/.284/.442/.726 (391 ABs)

24 - AAA .903 OPS - for Texas .194/.279/.292/.571 (120 ABs)

25 - AAA 1.229 OPS - for Texas .250/.296/.408/.704 (76 ABs)

In fact, Chris Davis had 1807 MiL ABs and his slash line was:

.318/.375/.597/.971 with a 3.11 K/BB ratio.

That age 23 season probably did him in with the Rangers organization. After an impressive age 22 he definitely regressed when given an opportunity out of spring training. 391 ABs is a lot, especially for a team in the playoff hunt. At .726 OPS he dissapointed, of course that would be good for the Orioles.

This year for the Orioles have given Chris Davis 299 ABs and he has settled in to a slash line of:

.261/.309/.455/.762 with 18 BBs in 299 ABs and a 5.05 K/BB ratio.

There has been some positives and some negatives to his season.

I started looking for comps and believe I see a good one with Mark Trumbo. A bad defensive player looking for a position to play. They tried him at 3B. Now in LF. Going to make his mistakes out there and so is Davis.

Last year was Trumbo's first full year in the MLs at age 25, here is his slash line:

.254/.291/.477/.768 with 25 BBs in 539 ABs and a 4.8 K/BB ratio.

Reasons to believe that he might not make it as an everyday player. However this year we all know what has happened to him:

.305/.355/.614/.974 with 24 BBs in 328 ABs and a 3.04 K/BB ratio - which is right on line with his minor league 2.58 K/BB ratio.

Trumbo is actually outperforming his minor league slash line of:

.275/.330/.474/.804 with 120 HRs in 2,793 ABs.

Sorry to ramble. My point is two-fold:

1. I think Chris Davis's development was hurt a great deal by yo-yoing back in forth for four years between AAA and the ML level.

2. I think if Chris Davis is left in the lineup this year and comes back KNOWING he is a full time ML player next year we may see a big jump in his batting average, and power numbers.

I am not prediciting that Davis will have the type of monster season that Trumbo is, only that it is very possible.

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I COMPLETELY agree Eagle. I have loved Davis' bat all year. His approach reminds me a ton of Adam Jones 2-3 years ago. Davis has more power potential, but a young player getting his first real shot at the big leagues chasing some balls that he shouldn't be chasing.

Davis' achiles is the high strike. He loves chasing it. His power potential is through the roof though, and with a little work, and some continued confidence, I love his potential for the Orioles.

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I still can't believe the O's got Davis and Hunter for Koji.

That said, I think Davis sticks around at first base for awhile after Reynolds leaves. He is young with lots of potential and there's reason to think his best days are ahead of him. While his defense isn't incredible, its not crippling. Overall, he is a good player to have on your side. Not quite a game changer, but not everybody will be. Its who you surround the game changers with that counts!

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The problem with this comp is that Trumbo had 16 major league plate appearances before 2011, whereas Davis had more than 1,000 before 2012. Davis' slash line this year is pretty much in line with what it was in his first 1,000+ plate appearances. I don't mean to suggest he can't get better, but a Trumbo-like jump seems unlikely to me.

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The problem with this comp is that Trumbo had 16 major league plate appearances before 2011, whereas Davis had more than 1,000 before 2012. Davis' slash line this year is pretty much in line with what it was in his first 1,000+ plate appearances. I don't mean to suggest he can't get better, but a Trumbo-like jump seems unlikely to me.

Davis was pushed through to the ML at age 22 and then yo-yod up and down for the next three years. Trumbo was able to develop with consistent at-bats in the upper minors. My point was that going back and forth didn't reveal what Davis is capable of, that he would have been better off developing like Trumbo did...he is only a year older than Trumbo and I am hoping with more veteran perspective and consistent ML at-bats he might be able to make a similar (not as drastic) jump.

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He is a terrible first baseman (he misses good throws and has a slow first step). Buck would spell him with Reynolds if he thought that was his future position. He may well be there next year, but I hope not. I believe his numbers are much better when he DH's than when he plays the field. He is a nice piece to have as a DH, because you can stick him in the lineup during interleague games, unlike a guy like Thome. I hope he develops, but he has a few holes in plate discipline and defense.

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Trumbo's improvements at the major league level are pretty rare. Davis and Trumbo are basically the same age and Davis has a ton more major league at bats yet he's under performing Trumbo fairly significantly this year. I'm not saying Davis can't have a good year here or there, but he's probably better suited to be a 4th outfielder/back up 1B/DH on a good team. Davis is just so darn streaky and he's currently brutal at the plate. Over his last 27 games covering 105 plate appearances, he's putting up a .163/.219/.276/.495 line with a 7 to 34 BB to K ratio. I'm pretty sure Hoes would do better than that right now, even though he doesn't have the power that Davis has. At the end of the day, we've seen Davis go through these long slumps before and I'm not convinced he's a productive every day big leaguer due to these inconsistencies. IF, and this is a big IF, he can ever find some consistency then maybe he can hit enough to be an everyday guy, but his lack defensive value anywhere means his bat needs to be special and I'm not sure it is going to be.

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Would you be happy if Nolan Reimold was doing what Davis is right now?

I think I would be.

That is the way you have to look at it...Davis is the LF we wanted Reimold to be, but couldn't because of health issues. We got Davis for nothing so anything that Reimold can give us going forward is a bonus.

I am very happy with Davis -- one of MacPhail's better trades. Keep playing him and see what happens.

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He is a terrible first baseman (he misses good throws and has a slow first step). Buck would spell him with Reynolds if he thought that was his future position. He may well be there next year, but I hope not. I believe his numbers are much better when he DH's than when he plays the field. He is a nice piece to have as a DH, because you can stick him in the lineup during interleague games, unlike a guy like Thome. I hope he develops, but he has a few holes in plate discipline and defense.

I agree that Davis' best position so far is DH. He doesn't scoop balls well at 1B. While he can fill in at the OF corners he has not figured our how to hit well while playing there. With McLouth likely to come up in the next few days Davis' playing time may take a hit. That does not mean he is not an asset to the team, just that the O's have better 1B, RF, LF and DH then he is at this point. I am sure Buck will find some at bats for him off the bench.

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Would you be happy if Nolan Reimold was doing what Davis is right now?

I think I would be.

That is the way you have to look at it...Davis is the LF we wanted Reimold to be, but couldn't because of health issues.

I am very happy with Davis -- one of MacPhail's better trades. Keep playing him and see what happens.

I wouldn't. Nolan Reimold put up of wRC+ of 113 last year and a lot of people weren't happy with it. Currently, Chris Davis has an wRC+ of 98. Nolan Reimold has a great batting approach and an excellent eye. Chris Davis's batting approach sucks. I think if Reimold was putting up Davis's line most people would be calling for his head.

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Trumbo's improvements at the major league level are pretty rare. Davis and Trumbo are basically the same age and Davis has a ton more major league at bats yet he's under performing Trumbo fairly significantly this year. I'm not saying Davis can't have a good year here or there, but he's probably better suited to be a 4th outfielder/back up 1B/DH on a good team. Davis is just so darn streaky and he's currently brutal at the plate. Over his last 27 games covering 105 plate appearances, he's putting up a .163/.219/.276/.495 line with a 7 to 34 BB to K ratio. I'm pretty sure Hoes would do better than that right now, even though he doesn't have the power that Davis has. At the end of the day, we've seen Davis go through these long slumps before and I'm not convinced he's a productive every day big leaguer due to these inconsistencies. IF, and this is a big IF, he can ever find some consistency then maybe he can hit enough to be an everyday guy, but his lack defensive value anywhere means his bat needs to be special and I'm not sure it is going to be.

I think this is eminently fair, if perhaps a touch pessimistic. His bat plays in LF, and to a lesser degree, first and DH, if he can keep that OBP up around .320 or above, which he's done for most of the year.

I really don't understand why his defense has degraded at 1st so much. I watched him consistently in Texas, and he was superior to Moreland and Smoak, and probably on par w Tex. He was really good 3-4 years ago, and was consistently lauded by everyone in the organization as the best defensive 1st baseman of the bunch.

If his floor is a 4th OF/CIF/DH reserve type to get 400 abs vs. RHers a year, you really can't complain about what he can bring to the club. And as you say, there is still enough upside there to think he could develop into an everyday player.

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The baseline assumption with Chris Davis has to be that his true talent is about a 100 OPS+ with a K:BB ratio of about 5:1. He's 26 with 1400 MLB PAs. The vast majority of the time someone at that age with that experience is not going to have a spike in performance. Could he? Sure, but you certainly can't expect it. For 2013 you have to pencil in a league-average performance (which is below average for a negative-defensive player playing 1B/LF/DH).

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Would you be happy if Nolan Reimold was doing what Davis is right now?

I think I would be.

That is the way you have to look at it...Davis is the LF we wanted Reimold to be, but couldn't because of health issues. We got Davis for nothing so anything that Reimold can give us going forward is a bonus.

I am very happy with Davis -- one of MacPhail's better trades. Keep playing him and see what happens.

No, I would not be happy with a .306 OBP from Reimold or an almost 30% strike out rate. Reimold could be streaky as well, but he tended to walk during his cold streaks to keep some value. Again, I don't think Davis is terrible, I just am not sure he's an everyday big leaguer.

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I really don't understand why his defense has degraded at 1st so much. I watched him consistently in Texas, and he was superior to Moreland and Smoak, and probably on par w Tex. He was really good 3-4 years ago, and was consistently lauded by everyone in the organization as the best defensive 1st baseman of the bunch.

His defensive metrics have always bounced around somewhere between below average and very poor, and his Fans Scouting Reports have been about average or a tick above. I don't think he's ever been a good defensive player.

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