Baltimore Orioles 3-Year Analysis: Position by Position

3 of 11

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

First Base

Whereas everyone knew that Chris Davis was going to be unable to replicate what was one of the all-time great seasons ever put in by a player in the history of the game, nobody saw the precipitous drop-off that eventuated. It was painful to watch, even as a few glimpses of the glorious past were seen here and there. More often there was a failure to connect, along with ball after ball pulled directly into the sabermetrically-constructed overshift defense. I have never, ever seen a more effective defensive adjustment deployed in this sport as was done against Davis in 2014.

The huge drop-off in production is seen in these numbers …

2013 .284 .365 134 51
2014 .221 .316 88 35

As bad as they are, they could have been even worse. Mitigating against an even more dramatic gap was the contribution of Steve Pearce and his 50 games at first base where he hit .283 with 13 home runs (Davis hit 21 as a first baseman).

So while the home run total was all that could reasonably be hoped for from this position, the drop in average was particularly devastating.

Looking back rating – “-2” – definitively worse.

Looking ahead rating – “+1” – hopes for marginal improvement.

Most Orioles fans would be pleased and satisfied with 35 home runs again from the first base position. However, there needs to be an improvement in batting average and making contact (not just posting a mediocre .316 OBP by getting a good number of walks). So hopefully the Orioles can see a slight overall offensive improvement from this position on the field.

Next: Still the last position in the order