Sunday, July 7, 2013

Chris Davis Breaks Through (Again)

Davis has already matched his home run and RBI totals from last season
2012 was Chris Davis's breakout year. The 26 year-old slugger, labeled a bust after failing to capitalize on his monstrous power earlier in his career, set personal bests in just about every offensive category. In the process, Davis rewarded the Baltimore Orioles by helping lead them to their first postseason appearance in 15 years.

Davis inflicted most of his damage in the season's final quarter, bashing 15 of his 33 home runs with 29 RBI and a 1.104 OPS from August 18th onward. At the time it appeared to be nothing more than a hot streak from a streaky player, but now we can see that it marked the beginning of Chris Davis's transformation into one of the best hitters in baseball. In his past 123 games, roughly three-quarters of a full season, Davis has 48 home runs, 114 RBI, and 321 total bases while batting north of .320.

He's been an unstoppable force so far in 2013. Entering play today, Davis leads the majors in homers, slugging, OPS, total bases, OPS+, extra base hits, and AB/HR ratio. He's on pace for 60 homers, 155 RBI, and could easily approach 400 total bases--an accomplishment that used to mean something before the steroid era bastardized it. His evolution into a one-man wrecking crew has helped keep Baltimore in the thick of things in the AL East, where they sit just 5.5 games out of first place.

Davis would be a slam dunk, no-doubt-about-it MVP were it not for Miguel Cabrera, who's in the midst of another special season as he shoots for his second straight MVP and Triple Crown. As good as Davis has been with the stick, Cabrera's been just a hair better, and it will be interesting to see how they perform and push each other throughout the remainder of the summer.

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