The Baltimore Orioles have indefinitely benched slumping first baseman Chris Davis. Davis is slashing .150/.227/.227 on the year.
The Baltimore Orioles have indefinitely benched slumping first baseman Chris Davis, MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli reports. On the year so far, Davis is slashing .150/.227/.227 with four home runs, 10 runs, and 15 RBI.
The Baltimore Orioles haven’t placed an exact timetable on his return, however Buck Showalter said he expects Davis to only be out a week or two.
As it stands, the Orioles don’t have many options with Davis. He’s got four years left on his contract in which he’s owed $17 million a year and they can’t send him down to the minor leagues without his permission. They also can’t release him without absorbing the entirety of his contract.
Davis has slowly but surely been getting worse and worse. Last year he slashed a disappointing .215/.309/.423, though he did still have 26 home runs. That’s a far cry from the season that garnered him his massive, $161 million contract in 2013 when he slashed .286/.370/.634 with 53 home runs, 103 runs, and 138 RBI.
I’m not sure that many people were expecting Davis to ever repeat 2013, but a season similar to 2016 in which he slashed .221/.332/.459 with 38 home runs, 99 runs, and 84 RBI would’ve made more sense. Davis as a three-true-outcome hitter makes sense.
But that’s not what’s happening anymore, and certainly not this year. Davis’ season last year was bad, this season is absolutely atrocious.
Part of the reason he’s been so bad has been his quality of contact. His hard-hit rate this year has dropped to 33.6%, the lowest it’s been since 2011. He’s also hitting a lot more groundballs, up to 45.8% which is a career-worst, and fewer fly balls, down to 35% which is a career-worst. Along with that, his HR/FB rate has dropped to a career-worst 9.5% (his career HR/FB rate is 23.5%).
He’s also seen a gradual drop in his launch angle over the years, dropping to a career-worst 12 degrees this year,
He’s also seen his exit velocity drop to a career-worst 87.6 MPH and his barrel rate drop to a career-worst 10.7%.
Needless to say, everything about Chris Davis’ season this year has been awful, and the fact that the Baltimore Orioles are paying him as much as they’re paying him makes it sting even more.
Hopefully spending time on the bench for a while will give him a chance to figure things out. Because he’s gone from being an underperforming major leaguer to a complete liability at the plate.