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It's Time To Bench Chris Davis


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Wrote this article on Saturday. It's on ihatejjr.com, FWIW.

They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. And by "they" I mean Albert Einstein. Perhaps he was talking about Buck Showalter's treatment of Chris Davis.

In perhaps one of the oddest cases of veteranosity and manager affection, Buck Showalter has stuck with Chris Davis in not only the lineup nearly day in and day out...but also in the 5 hole nearly day in and day out. Yes, he's tinkered on a few occasions, but ultimately Chris Davis is a starter on this club. And he's batting 5th. I'm here to argue not only that he shouldn't be starting, but he shouldn't be batting higher than 8th. Read on.

Chris Davis started the 2014 decently. In the month of April, he had a slashline of .250/.372/.382 which nets a .754 OPS. Two things stick out immediately: the OBP (372) was very, very good. The SLG? Rather pedestrian. If we look into the why, it's largely because it took Chris until the 12th game of the season to hit his first dinger. He ended up with only 2 in April.

May was a turnaround month for Davis in regards to the homer. While missing 13 games with an oblique injury, he returned on May 11th. In 18 games he clubbed 5 homers. His slash line for May was a respectable .209/.329/.478 .807 OPS. The power appeared back. As did the strikeouts (25).

And then June happened: .175/.292/.381 .673 OPS with 36 strikeouts

And then July happened: .167/.250/.333 .583 OPS with 38 strikeouts

And then August* happened: .164/.208/.403 .611 OPS with 28 strikeouts

*not including his 0 for 4 today/tonight against the seemingly hapless [against everyone not named the Orioles] Cubs.

I don?t know about you but I?ve seen a very steady regression from Chris Davis. His batting averages over the months:

April: 250

May: 209

June: 175

July: 167

August: 164

His OBP over the months:

April: 372

May: 329

June: 292

July: 250

August: 208

...and even his SLG:

April: 382

May: 478

June: 381

July: 333

August: 403

Yes, his 403 SLG is the highest since May, but 3 out of his 4 homers this month came in routs against the Blue Jays, Cardinals, and Yankees.

Folks, Chris Davis is a mess. He isn't walking. He's striking out a ton. His batting average is abysmal...and aside from the occasional homer he's not doing much if anything to help this ball club win.

And now you tell me Buck's going to play him at 3B now that Machado is out for the season? Oh boy, that is a double whammy of problems. Especially if he's going to give him more AB's by batting him 5th.

It's important to note right now that every single Oriole *regular* (aside from Schoop) now has a higher OPS than Davis. Every single Oriole regular has a higher AVG than Davis (including Schoop). Don't believe me?

Ranking by OPS

1B: Steve Pearce - 867

LF: Nelson Cruz - 846

CF: Adam Jones - 794

DH: Delmon Young - 760

RF: Nick Markakis - 759

SS: JJ Hardy - 708

C: Caleb Joseph - 706

3B: Chris Davis - 686

2B: Jonathan Schoop - 609

Ranking by AVG

DH: Delmon Young - 308

RF: Nick Markakis - 290

1B: Steve Pearce - 288

CF: Adam Jones - 286

SS: JJ Hardy - 278

LF: Nelson Cruz - 258

C: Caleb Joseph - 225

2B: Jonathan Schoop - 216 (even Ryan Flaherty is batting 196)

3B: Chris Davis - 192

Ranking by OBP

RF: Nick Markakis - 354

1B: Steve Pearce - 352

DH: Delmon Young - 328

LF: Nelson Cruz - 326

SS: JJ Hardy - 317

CF: Adam Jones - 314

3B: Chris Davis - 294

C: Caleb Joseph - 290

2B: Jonathan Schoop - 252

...to make matters worse about OBP? If you go by his last couple months, his OBP is worst on the club. By far.

To make matters worse, the O's are going to play Chris at 3B. Is this due to Ryan Flaherty swinging a wet noodle? Most likely, but unfortunately Chris Davis's glove doesn't play well at 3B. Through 80 games career at the major league level tallying 655 2/3 innings, he has a -12.7 UZR rating to go with a -31.2 UZR/150. Ladies and gents, that is not good at all. It'd be one thing if he was hitting like 2013 Chris Davis, but with the bat the way it is right now? Playing him at 3B regularly is a bad, bad, bad decision.

Manny Machado being out for the season really kills Buck's roster flexibility. Basically it's going to force him to play Flaherty at 3B (no bat) or Davis at 3B (no bat, no glove). And right now with the O's struggling to score runs against clubs not named the Cardinals or White Sox, this compounds the issue. In any given night, there are at least 2-3 holes in the lineup. And unfortunately with a hole at 3B defensively, this also is a hindrance for the O?s pitchers.

So all that said, what point am I getting at? Well, circle the wagons and look at the title. It's time to bench Chris Davis. Regularly. You can't send him down. Instead, have him work on his game while not starting. And if you must put him in the lineup, bat him 8th. The idea is to give him less opportunities, not more.

What other 3B options do the O's have? Unfortunately, not many. Jimmy Paredes at Norfolk. The bat is lackluster, the speed is good, and the defense is average. And unfortunately at the major league level, he doesn't have much 3B time. Cord Phelps is an interesting choice. And if you read this article on Birds Watcher, you'd believe his defense was the sole reason he was called up. And his versatility. Aside from Paredes and Phelps, the options in house are scant.

But the problem w/ Phelps, Paredes, Flaherty and Davis is all the same. There are glaring holes in all of their games. Phelps? Inexperience and most likely offense. Paredes? Offense and some defense. Flaherty? Offense. Davis? Offense and defense.

So what's to do? I can say for damn sure the O?s aren't going to trade for Beltre. And unfortunately since it's past the waiver deadline, it makes things a lot more difficult to acquire a player. And with the rosters expanding and the unfortunate side effect of playoff rosters having to be set (aside from injuries) by that time, Dan Duquette and the O's are in a heap of trouble.

It's probably best to go around the league and see what's available out there from clubs that are clearly out of contention. The unfortunate thing is the Yankees took both solid 3B options (Headley and Prado) from non-contenders (San Diego and Arizona). So the pickings are slim.

The O;s should be looking to Minnesota for Trevor Plouffe, Miami for Casey McGehee, and Chicago (AL) for Conor Gillaspie.

- Plouffe is 28 and isn?t a free agent until 2018. Tough get, but he?s been very solid in 2013 and 2014.

- McGehee is 31, free agent in 2016, so he should be a decent get.

- Gillaspie is 27, not a free agent until 2019. Real tough get. Defense isn?t good, but the offense is solid.

McGehee is the most realistic out of the bunch. But being past the waiver deadline is going to make it real difficult.

Unfortunately I think the O's won't make a move for a 3B'man. If this happened prior to the trade deadline, you'd be damn sure the O's would have picked up one of Headley or Prado. Alas it is not. And that most likely means Flaherty, Davis, and/or Phelps will be manning the hot corner for the foreseeable future.

Get well Manny.

(Just an addendum, but really the only somewhat likely (and it's still ridiculously unlikely) solution is Beltre in regards to the Rangers waiver claim order). But it's still not happening.

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Wrote this article on Saturday. It's on ihatejjr.com, FWIW.

They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. And by "they" I mean Albert Einstein. Perhaps he was talking about Buck Showalter's treatment of Chris Davis.

In perhaps one of the oddest cases of veteranosity and manager affection, Buck Showalter has stuck with Chris Davis in not only the lineup nearly day in and day out...but also in the 5 hole nearly day in and day out. Yes, he's tinkered on a few occasions, but ultimately Chris Davis is a starter on this club. And he's batting 5th. I'm here to argue not only that he shouldn't be starting, but he shouldn't be batting higher than 8th. Read on.

Chris Davis started the 2014 decently. In the month of April, he had a slashline of .250/.372/.382 which nets a .754 OPS. Two things stick out immediately: the OBP (372) was very, very good. The SLG? Rather pedestrian. If we look into the why, it's largely because it took Chris until the 12th game of the season to hit his first dinger. He ended up with only 2 in April.

May was a turnaround month for Davis in regards to the homer. While missing 13 games with an oblique injury, he returned on May 11th. In 18 games he clubbed 5 homers. His slash line for May was a respectable .209/.329/.478 .807 OPS. The power appeared back. As did the strikeouts (25).

And then June happened: .175/.292/.381 .673 OPS with 36 strikeouts

And then July happened: .167/.250/.333 .583 OPS with 38 strikeouts

And then August* happened: .164/.208/.403 .611 OPS with 28 strikeouts

*not including his 0 for 4 today/tonight against the seemingly hapless [against everyone not named the Orioles] Cubs.

I don?t know about you but I?ve seen a very steady regression from Chris Davis. His batting averages over the months:

April: 250

May: 209

June: 175

July: 167

August: 164

His OBP over the months:

April: 372

May: 329

June: 292

July: 250

August: 208

...and even his SLG:

April: 382

May: 478

June: 381

July: 333

August: 403

Yes, his 403 SLG is the highest since May, but 3 out of his 4 homers this month came in routs against the Blue Jays, Cardinals, and Yankees.

Folks, Chris Davis is a mess. He isn't walking. He's striking out a ton. His batting average is abysmal...and aside from the occasional homer he's not doing much if anything to help this ball club win.

And now you tell me Buck's going to play him at 3B now that Machado is out for the season? Oh boy, that is a double whammy of problems. Especially if he's going to give him more AB's by batting him 5th.

It's important to note right now that every single Oriole *regular* (aside from Schoop) now has a higher OPS than Davis. Every single Oriole regular has a higher AVG than Davis (including Schoop). Don't believe me?

Ranking by OPS

1B: Steve Pearce - 867

LF: Nelson Cruz - 846

CF: Adam Jones - 794

DH: Delmon Young - 760

RF: Nick Markakis - 759

SS: JJ Hardy - 708

C: Caleb Joseph - 706

3B: Chris Davis - 686

2B: Jonathan Schoop - 609

Ranking by AVG

DH: Delmon Young - 308

RF: Nick Markakis - 290

1B: Steve Pearce - 288

CF: Adam Jones - 286

SS: JJ Hardy - 278

LF: Nelson Cruz - 258

C: Caleb Joseph - 225

2B: Jonathan Schoop - 216 (even Ryan Flaherty is batting 196)

3B: Chris Davis - 192

Ranking by OBP

RF: Nick Markakis - 354

1B: Steve Pearce - 352

DH: Delmon Young - 328

LF: Nelson Cruz - 326

SS: JJ Hardy - 317

CF: Adam Jones - 314

3B: Chris Davis - 294

C: Caleb Joseph - 290

2B: Jonathan Schoop - 252

...to make matters worse about OBP? If you go by his last couple months, his OBP is worst on the club. By far.

To make matters worse, the O's are going to play Chris at 3B. Is this due to Ryan Flaherty swinging a wet noodle? Most likely, but unfortunately Chris Davis's glove doesn't play well at 3B. Through 80 games career at the major league level tallying 655 2/3 innings, he has a -12.7 UZR rating to go with a -31.2 UZR/150. Ladies and gents, that is not good at all. It'd be one thing if he was hitting like 2013 Chris Davis, but with the bat the way it is right now? Playing him at 3B regularly is a bad, bad, bad decision.

Manny Machado being out for the season really kills Buck's roster flexibility. Basically it's going to force him to play Flaherty at 3B (no bat) or Davis at 3B (no bat, no glove). And right now with the O's struggling to score runs against clubs not named the Cardinals or White Sox, this compounds the issue. In any given night, there are at least 2-3 holes in the lineup. And unfortunately with a hole at 3B defensively, this also is a hindrance for the O?s pitchers.

So all that said, what point am I getting at? Well, circle the wagons and look at the title. It's time to bench Chris Davis. Regularly. You can't send him down. Instead, have him work on his game while not starting. And if you must put him in the lineup, bat him 8th. The idea is to give him less opportunities, not more.

What other 3B options do the O's have? Unfortunately, not many. Jimmy Paredes at Norfolk. The bat is lackluster, the speed is good, and the defense is average. And unfortunately at the major league level, he doesn't have much 3B time. Cord Phelps is an interesting choice. And if you read this article on Birds Watcher, you'd believe his defense was the sole reason he was called up. And his versatility. Aside from Paredes and Phelps, the options in house are scant.

But the problem w/ Phelps, Paredes, Flaherty and Davis is all the same. There are glaring holes in all of their games. Phelps? Inexperience and most likely offense. Paredes? Offense and some defense. Flaherty? Offense. Davis? Offense and defense.

So what's to do? I can say for damn sure the O?s aren't going to trade for Beltre. And unfortunately since it's past the waiver deadline, it makes things a lot more difficult to acquire a player. And with the rosters expanding and the unfortunate side effect of playoff rosters having to be set (aside from injuries) by that time, Dan Duquette and the O's are in a heap of trouble.

It's probably best to go around the league and see what's available out there from clubs that are clearly out of contention. The unfortunate thing is the Yankees took both solid 3B options (Headley and Prado) from non-contenders (San Diego and Arizona). So the pickings are slim.

The O;s should be looking to Minnesota for Trevor Plouffe, Miami for Casey McGehee, and Chicago (AL) for Conor Gillaspie.

- Plouffe is 28 and isn?t a free agent until 2018. Tough get, but he?s been very solid in 2013 and 2014.

- McGehee is 31, free agent in 2016, so he should be a decent get.

- Gillaspie is 27, not a free agent until 2019. Real tough get. Defense isn?t good, but the offense is solid.

McGehee is the most realistic out of the bunch. But being past the waiver deadline is going to make it real difficult.

Unfortunately I think the O's won't make a move for a 3B'man. If this happened prior to the trade deadline, you'd be damn sure the O's would have picked up one of Headley or Prado. Alas it is not. And that most likely means Flaherty, Davis, and/or Phelps will be manning the hot corner for the foreseeable future.

Get well Manny.

(Just an addendum, but really the only somewhat likely (and it's still ridiculously unlikely) solution is Beltre in regards to the Rangers waiver claim order). But it's still not happening.

Good info. I really hadn't realized the difficulty in getting a third baseman. I don't

understand the waiver issues. In another post I thought I had read that it had to

be PTBNL. So I get confused.

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It wasn't that long ago back in 2011.

The Orioles sucked at third and couldn't find anybody to play the base worth having.

Already losing, they figured what the heck and they promoted a kid from AA that wasn't really setting the world on fire with his bat.

Well, the rest is history.

Situation hasn't changed much since 2011. Not much in house solutions for third and outside the team solutions, either.

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It wasn't that long ago back in 2011.

The Orioles sucked at third and couldn't find anybody to play the base worth having.

Already losing, they figured what the heck and they promoted a kid from AA that wasn't really setting the world on fire with his bat.

Well, the rest is history.

Situation hasn't changed much since 2011. Not much in house solutions for third and outside the team solutions, either.

Wasn't that 2012?

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I agree with all of the above OP with a couple of exceptions. There isn't enough data to make any assumptions about Davis;' defense at 3B based on metrics. No doubt he isn't more than league average at best but he hasn't looked that bad so far. It's not his glove so much as his bat that bothers me. Also I have been informed in no uncertain terms by the authorities that the Yankees will claim all attempts by the O's to upgrade at 3B, no matter how modest. I suggested we lower the bar to journeyman UTIF guys like Pennington, E.Escobar, Aviles, and Eric Campbell. All hitting well for now and better defensive players. But apparently they are coveted players as well. So I suppose Flash is our best bet.

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You can be very good at your job and still make the occasional bad decision.

Correct.

But, that is why they pay the game on the field and not on computer video games.

The other side is also trying their level best to win too.

If Davis had hit last night, and they still lost, people would be saying, well, so-so should have batted in the 2nd hole, instead of player x, and player y should have been on the bench.

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I agree with all of the above with a couple of exceptions. There isn't enough data to make any assumptions about Davis;' defense art 3B. No doubt he isn't more than league average at best but he hasn't looked that bad so far. It's not his glove so much as his bat that bothers me. Also I have been informed in no uncertain terms by the authorities that the Yankees will claim all attempts by the O's to upgrade at 3B, no matter how modest. I suggested we lower the bar to journeyman UTIF guys like Pennington, E.Escobar, Aviles, and Eric Campbell. All hitting well for now and better defensive players. But apparently they are coveted players as well. So I suppose Flash is our best bet.

That doesn't take a college professor or a Mensa boy to figure that out.

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Correct.

But, that is why they pay the game on the field and not on computer video games.

The other side is also trying their level best to win too.

If Davis had hit last night, and they still lost, people would be saying, well, so-so should have batted in the 2nd hole, instead of player x, and player y should have been on the bench.

I thought it was because it is hard to get 30K people to come out and watch folks play a video game?

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