After years of hype and promise Chris Davis finally delivered in 2012. The numbers were impressive as he combined power (33 HR) with a solid average (.270). Sure, for someone with that many home runs we would’ve liked to have seen more RBI (85) and runs (75), but now we are nitpicking, right? Given the power potential we have to expect things will just continue to get better in 2013…
Unfortunately that’s not the case. In reality the odds are probably better of Davis completely busting in 2013 then they are of him posting strong numbers.
We all know the power is for real, so that’s the one thing we don’t have to be concerned about. His average, however, is a completely different story.
Last seasons’s .270 is likely his ceiling, with there being a good chance that he falls towards .250 or below. While he does provide a good line drive rate (23.2% in 2012, matching his mark for his Major League career), if there is any type of regression or poor luck (his BABIP was .335) the fall will be dramatic.
The issue is his strikeout rate. While power hitters can sustain a higher than normal mark, 30.1% is unacceptable for any player. Amazingly, it’s an mprovement over his career mark (31.0%), though he did regress as the season went on (32.2% in the second half).
The fact that he can strikeout that much and still believably hit .270 is amazing. However, if the luck regresses or the power slows (25.2% HR/FB), it’s a mark that will be impossible to maintain. Banking on a good average would be a mistake.
The RBI/R could also be an issue. While there are good hitters ahead of him, if everyone is healthy Davis will likely slide into the fifth or sixth spot in the order. With Adam Jones and Matt Wieters ahead of him regardless, there are going to be chances to drive in runs. Is he going to reach 90-100? Not likely, especially with the number of strikeouts, but 85 once again is believable.
Runs scored is a different issue. Manny Machado is going to be a star, but can we assume he will reach that level in 2013? In fact, the bottom of the Orioles lineup could really struggle (Wilson Betemit and Brian Roberts). Plus, if he’s not getting on base how is he supposed to score? Under 70 R is not unthinkable, though its a crippling number for him.
A lot of the questions come back to his average. If he were to ever figure out a way to make more consistent contact, a lot of the other problems would suddenly disappear. That said, we have a long enough track record not to suddenly expect that. He is a flawed player and, with that, carries significantly more risk.
What are your thoughts of Davis? Do you think he will bust in 2013? Why or why not?
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