You’ve probably heard the name. Actually you have probably heard the name multiple times, however, nine times out of ten when someone says the name “Chris Davis” in the same sentence as the words “home run,” your mind jumps to slugger Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles. That’s not the Davis you’re going to read about here.
Of course, other names that come to mind might be Edwin Encarnacion, Mark Trumbo, Mookie Betts, Nelson Cruz or Nolan Arenado. Still, when you think of MLB’s legitimate power hitters there is a name that may not jump out at you, and that’s the “other” Khris Davis, the left fielder for the Oakland Athletics.
Davis is currently tied for fourth in the majors with 30 home runs this season and it is just his fourth full season in the big leagues. Davis hit 11 home runs in his 2013 debut season and his power has steadily climbed from there.
In his three seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers, Davis hit a total of 60 home runs. The statistics show that it is possible for him to easily have many 20-to-30-plus homer seasons.
Still, when reports came in that Davis was joining the A’s via a trade made with the Brewers, the impression given was that he had the potential to be an elite power hitter but still suffered from a shortage of walks and a high swing and miss rate. He was seen as a bit of a streaky hitter, from whom, the Athletics couldn’t be sure what kind of production to expect.
Davis’ consistency has actually been fairly solid. He’s always shown power, hitting 22 homers in 2014 and 27 in 2015. After hitting 22 homers in his sophomore season, Davis had only five home runs through the end of May 2015 when he tore cartilage in his knee during an at-bat.
He returned to the Brewers lineup on July seventh and hit two home runs in July, but went on to hit 10 in August and 10 in September. That really isn’t representative of being a “streaky” hitter. It’s more of a representation of a player who was injured and had to re-acclimate after returning from time off.
That said, Davis’ first month with the A’s was terrible. He was being benched more often than not, making room for Ryon Healy and Stephen Vogt to get in some at-bats. Davis hit .221 in April of this year with a mere three homers, a whopping 26 strikeouts and only three walks.
Then in May, Davis hit 10 home runs. Three of which came in a game between the Athletics and the Texas Rangers in Oakland. With two home runs already in the books, Davis capped off the night with a walk-off grand slam. It was a big moment in getting Davis to where he is today, just a couple months later, with 30 home runs and 75 RBI.
Between June and July he averaged six home runs a month and so far in August he’s hit the ball out of the yard four more times. Even if he just hits his median six home runs per month, each month, for the remainder of his career he’d easily have 30-plus homer seasons each year he plays, barring injury.
Davis is currently tied for 18th in the majors in slugging percentage. He’s the typical power hitter. A guy who has some swing and miss in his game but always hits for hard contact. Davis isn’t what I would call a “streaky” hitter, in fact, he profiles as your prototypical power hitter. He either strikes out or hits the ball out.
Davis ranks sixth in exit velocity in the American League with his balls usually leaving the yard at a 93.9 MPH clip and is currently on pace to hit the coveted 40-homers in a single season mark, something no member of the Athletics has done since Jason Giambi hit 47 homers in 2001.
If he picks up his walk rate and overall on-base percentage in 2017, the A’s will have a very dangerous hitter on their hands.
And yet, right now, no one sees him coming. Khris Davis is up there with the most elite power hitters in the league. While fans across baseball may not know his name yet, they soon will. Davis will not remain an Oakland secret for much longer.
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