Baltimore Orioles: 2014 Season Grades – Infielders

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Sep 5, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis (19) works out prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

CHRIS DAVIS. D. . First Base. Baltimore Orioles

Do I really need to write these paragraphs? This is not going to feel good.

Did anyone see the 2014 season for Chris Davis coming? Few people would have predicted a repeat of the rare numbers of 2013, but who could have seen the precipitous drop-off?

Davis did play in a total of 127 games, in spite of the season-ending suspension and earlier stint on the DL. While only batting .196, he still managed 26 home runs and an OBP of .300 due to so many walks he collects.

Davis also collected 173 strikeouts, and the only thing preventing him being the second player in MLB history (other than Mark Reynolds) to bat under .200 and have over 200 strikeouts was the suspension. Even with only 127 games played, he had the third-most strikeouts in the AL.

If there was ever an “exhibit A” illustration of the effective value of batting charts and defensive shifts, it is Chris Davis. Over and over, balls that may have been hits in other years were driven into the over-shifts deployed against him.

But that is not the whole story. Davis looked lost at the plate much of the year. Pitchers seemed to have figured out a successful strategy to keep him off balance in a majority of at-bats.

Showalter said continuously that someone was going to pay sometime for the slow start, but it never really transpired. Only the home runs save him from a failing grade in this summary.

While being thankful for a number of timely home runs that won games, and appreciating his skills at first base that are among the best in the game, one has to wonder what the future is for this all-or-nothing player at the plate. It would seem to me that hitting against the shift would be the key to breaking out and moving defenses back to more normal postures, though that is easier said than done.

2015 will be a big year for the big Texan in terms of his future career. Hopefully he gets his Adderall prescription straightened out, and hopefully the Baltimore Orioles get a guy back who looks like the Crush of the past.