Baltimore Orioles Chris Davis: Good Enough?


May 2, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis (19) hits a RBI single during the third inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Practically no element of the Baltimore Orioles has been more chronicled and commented-upon than the up and down struggles of Chris Davis, complicated of course by the suspension at the end of last year.

The question over the offseason was what sort of player could be expected in 2015 – a year that is anticipated as well to likely be his final season in Baltimore. Would he repeat the pain of 2014, return to the glory of 2013, or produce something in between in the range of the 2012 season?

The answer so far would appear to be the latter of those three possibilities. There are moments and flashes of the “Crush” that had one of the greatest power-hitting years ever seen in baseball, yet the strikeouts really pile up at times – twice reaching to four times in a single game.

Currently, Davis has a batting average of .274 and on base percentage of .344, along with six home runs. These numbers are close to his final average/OBP of 2012 of .270/.326, and the home run pace is about the same.

So, expanding his current pace to a full season, it should end up looking like 2012, or perhaps just a slight bit better. That would probably be acceptable to most Orioles fans, especially if the team can see the pitching staff settle out to consistent performances like a year ago, and see also the return of some critical pieces like J.J. Hardy.

But how has this start of the season compared to the past three full years in Baltimore at the same time? Here is a quick look at his first 23 games in each of the four years…


There is little to ever compare to the unbelievable start/middle/finish that Davis had in 2013, but what can be possibly taken away from this analysis?

Without doubt, the strikeouts are now at an all-time high, and that seemed impossible to imagine after last year. But there is decent production, so that would indicate either he is hitting reasonably well in clutch situations or others around him are on base ahead of him. And the answer is a bit of both.

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This also demonstrates the constant need for a player like Davis to adjust along the way to methods by which he is being pitched to and defensed. As the league has exposed new ways of getting pitches past him and defensing him to take away strengths, Davis is continuing to adjust to take advantage of different opportunities now open to him.

Adjustments. It is huge for all players, but especially for Chris Davis. Certain weaknesses and tendencies have been terribly exposed. The strikeouts demonstrate it, as do the hard-hit balls into the shifts. But modifications are increasingly seen as well.

So to answer the title question as to if Davis’ performance is good enough … It is close to acceptable. And maybe that is all that could be hoped for in 2015, and if the production can come at critical times, it will be more than good enough.

Next: Hardy and Flaherty are back on the field