Chris Davis - 27 ... the Magical Mystery Kind

Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this season, I received a request on whether Chris Davis was for real. It’s time to validate his performance and throw myself under his bus.

Earlier this season, I posted this about Chris Davis on Rotobanter.com. I included some GIF’s as well that show the (little) amount of effort it takes for his fly balls to leave the yard. He’s currently 5th on Jeff Zimmerman’s homerun and fly ball average distance leaderboard, and Camden Yards has provided the 2nd best park factor for left-handed hitters from a homerun perspective.

It’s time to validate his performance and throw myself under his bus. I figured some regression to the mean/career-average, wouldn’t you?

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Earlier in the season, I said this:

Prior to the season, I went with the following projection for Chris Davis:

506 AB*68.1 Ct%*38.25 FB%*19.50 HR/FB%=26 HR with a .264/.468/.791 avg/slg/ops. I am still pretty comfortable with the contact rate (up to 70%) and FB% which I looked at as a trend (35.8>36.8>37.5% the past three years). At 27 with a full season finally under his belt, he should continue to lift the ball. The 25.2% HR/FB should regress slightly, but Camden should keep it inflated, so I am inclined to up his HR/FB% a bit.

New Homerun Total Projection:

Let’s say he does amass a few more at-bats this year and project 520. If he can keep his Ct% at 70%, lift the ball to a 38.25% clip with a 21.18% HR/FB ratio (averaging the above list), then we should see 30 HR again. At this point a repeat of his HR & RBI total is likely.

According to CBS sports, he’s on pace for about 575 at bats so we’ll keep this projection in mind.

Contact Rate:

His contact rate remains elevated (74.5%) which has trended upward since 2011 and is back close to (but under) his 2010 rate of 75.10%. We can validate his contact rate by looking at the following matrix:

Season

Team

O-Swg%

Z-Swg%

Swg%

O-Ct%

Z-Ct%

Ct%

Zone%

F-Str%

SwStr%

2010

Rangers (AAA)

2010

Rangers

30.20%

70.40%

48.40%

58.50%

83.70%

75.10%

45.40%

55.90%

11.10%

2011

Rangers (AAA)

2011

2 Teams

45.60%

73.70%

57.00%

58.10%

77.90%

68.50%

40.50%

67.10%

17.40%

2012

Orioles

39.80%

77.60%

54.90%

56.00%

82.50%

71.00%

40.00%

62.60%

15.50%

2013

Orioles

33.30%

76.50%

51.60%

54.90%

86.10%

74.50%

42.40%

57.70%

12.50%

Total

- - -

37.40%

75.10%

53.90%

53.80%

79.00%

69.10%

43.60%

62.00%

16.10%

Customized profile courtesy of FanGraphs

He’s doing everything right. He’s swinging less overall (6+ % less at balls outside of the zone), he’s making more contact inside of the zone and missing less strikes at a nice trendy clip– basically enhancements across the board.

Balls in Play (BIP) Data:

Similar to his contact rate, he’s shown excellent BIP trends:

Season

Team

BABIP

GB/FB

LD%

GB%

FB%

IFFB%

HR/FB

2010

Rangers (AAA)

0.407


2010

Rangers

0.275

1.17

22.20%

42.00%

35.80%

6.90%

3.40%

2011

Rangers (AAA)

0.412


2011

2 Teams

0.366

1.04

25.00%

38.20%

36.80%

4.00%

10.00%

2012

Orioles

0.335

1.05

23.20%

39.30%

37.50%

3.10%

25.20%

2013

Orioles

0.398

0.75

24.30%

32.40%

43.20%

1.60%

31.30%

Total

- - -

0.343

0.92

23.30%

36.80%

39.80%

3.70%

20.90%

His expected BABIP this season based on his Line Drive rate should be closer to his 2011 BABIP of .363 so even if we were closer to that, he would be batting .322 right now instead of .357.

He isn’t one for popping balls up, but he’s got a miniscule infield fly ball% and perhaps is best improvement is his tremendous GB/FB ratio – his GB% dropped almost 7% from last year while his FB% jumped 5.7%. At 27, it’s no surprise he’s learned to lift the ball more. If his FB% remains above 40%, with his HR/FB ratio, we really are seriously talking 50 homeruns this year.

HR/FB:

Even a 25% HR/FB ratio would be impressive, but 30% is glorious. Here’s the list of players since 2010 with HR/FB ratios beyond 21%:

2012


Name

Team

Age

AB

Contact%

FB%

IFFB%

HR/FB

HR

xHR(600AB)

1

Adam Dunn

White Sox

32

539

69.70%

43.60%

8.60%

29.30%

41

53.4

2

Josh Hamilton

Rangers

31

562

64.70%

41.10%

4.20%

25.60%

43

40.8

3

Chris Davis

Orioles

26

515

71.00%

37.50%

3.10%

25.20%

33

40.3

4

Pedro Alvarez

Pirates

25

525

70.90%

34.50%

2.50%

25.00%

30

36.7

5

Curtis Granderson

Yankees

31

596

72.00%

44.00%

8.40%

24.20%

43

46.0

6

Robinson Cano

Yankees

29

627

82.80%

25.80%

9.50%

24.10%

33

30.9

7

Miguel Cabrera

Tigers

29

622

83.00%

36.00%

4.70%

23.00%

44

41.2

8

Ryan Braun

Brewers

28

598

80.10%

38.10%

6.10%

22.80%

41

41.7

9

Mike Trout

Angels

20

559

81.80%

33.00%

4.30%

21.60%

30

35.0

10

Chase Headley

Padres

28

604

74.80%

32.10%

6.90%

21.40%

31

30.8

11

Josh Willingham

Twins

33

519

75.90%

43.00%

12.70%

21.20%

35

41.5

12

Ike Davis

Mets

25

519

74.70%

40.00%

11.80%

21.10%

32

37.8

13

Kendrys Morales

Angels

29

484

75.50%

28.30%

7.60%

21.00%

22

26.9

2011


Name

Team

Age

AB

Contact%

FB%

IFFB%

HR/FB

HR

1

Giancarlo Stanton

Marlins

21

516

66.80%

38.50%

10.20%

24.80%

34

38.3

2

Mark Reynolds

Orioles

27

534

65.00%

47.80%

11.00%

22.70%

37

42.3

3

Jose Bautista

Blue Jays

30

513

79.60%

47.00%

15.20%

22.50%

43

50.5

4

Prince Fielder

Brewers

27

569

80.80%

37.10%

6.30%

21.80%

38

39.2

5

Ryan Howard

Phillies

31

557

67.90%

39.00%

2.60%

21.70%

33

34.5

6

Matt Kemp

Dodgers

26

602

73.30%

40.50%

2.20%

21.40%

39

38.1

7

Michael Morse

Nationals

29

522

76.80%

36.50%

4.80%

21.20%

31

35.7

2010


Name

Team

Age

AB

Contact%

FB%

IFFB%

HR/FB

HR

1

Joey Votto

Reds

26

547

77.70%

34.80%

0.00%

25.00%

37

40.6

2

Jose Bautista

Blue Jays

29

569

80.70%

54.50%

14.90%

21.70%

54

57.3

3

Adam Dunn

Nationals

30

558

68.20%

49.00%

6.70%

21.30%

38

42.7

4

Carlos Pena

Rays

32

484

69.90%

40.60%

9.80%

21.20%

28

36.1

5

Ryan Howard

Phillies

30

550

68.20%

37.10%

1.40%

21.10%

31

32.0

As you can see, if we cut the list off at 25%, we’re talking 5 performances (Dunn, Hamilton, Alvarez along with Davis last year and Votto from 2010). Still a short list, here’s what we have for 2013:

2013

Name

Team

Age

AB

Contact%

FB%

IFFB%

HR/FB

HR

xHR(600AB)

1

Chris Davis

Orioles

27

199

74.50%

43.20%

1.60%

31.30%

20

60.4

2

Domonic Brown

Phillies

25

202

80.40%

32.50%

11.30%

30.20%

16

47.3

3

Pedro Alvarez

Pirates

26

166

63.60%

34.60%

10.80%

29.70%

11

39.2

4

Bryce Harper

Nationals

20

150

76.00%

33.90%

7.30%

29.30%

12

45.3

5

Paul Goldschmidt

Diamondbacks

25

202

77.70%

32.50%

4.00%

26.00%

13

39.4

6

Justin Upton

Braves

25

197

69.90%

40.30%

9.30%

25.90%

14

43.8

7

Miguel Cabrera

Tigers

30

226

82.10%

36.10%

7.20%

24.60%

17

43.7

8

Robinson Cano

Yankees

30

221

86.60%

31.00%

8.80%

24.60%

14

39.6

9

Michael Morse

Mariners

31

173

70.40%

35.40%

2.20%

24.40%

11

36.5

10

Mark Reynolds

Indians

29

188

68.10%

42.10%

8.90%

23.20%

13

39.9

11

Adam Dunn

White Sox

33

181

68.50%

46.80%

3.80%

23.10%

12

44.4

12

Chris Carter

Astros

26

188

65.40%

43.60%

14.60%

22.90%

11

39.2

13

Shin-Soo Choo

Reds

30

205

78.40%

29.30%

0.00%

22.70%

10

31.3

14

Carlos Gonzalez

Rockies

27

213

73.90%

40.80%

9.70%

22.60%

14

40.9

15

Mark Trumbo

Angels

27

225

71.00%

35.40%

12.10%

22.40%

13

33.8

16

Joey Votto

Reds

29

214

78.40%

27.30%

0.00%

22.20%

10

28.5

17

Jose Bautista

Blue Jays

32

190

80.20%

36.80%

14.30%

21.40%

12

37.9

At this current rate, if Davis doesn’t slow down, he would approach Maris. Realistically, the rest of the way we could/should see the following:

376 AB * 73.5% contact rate * 39.5% fly ball rate * 27% HR/FB = 29-30 more homeruns meaning our first 50 HR season in a while, but even a slight drop off across the board and we see something like:

360 AB * 72% contact rate * 38.5% fly ball rate * 25.5% HR/FB = 25-26 more homeruns.

45-50 homeruns with 100 runs and 120 rbi’s will provide enough of a return on investment for where any of you drafted him or even bought high, but he’s on pace right now for 120-57-150.

While we would expect some regression in the B/KK department (BB% close to doubled and a 7% drop in K%), he’s showing enough signs where it would regress back to somewhere between this year and last and not right back to his career average meaning he should end the year with a .300-.320 avg.

Ah the mystical age 27 season. Chris Davis is exacerbating this irrational magical number.

Dan Schwartz owns and contributes for Rotobanter.com – a fantasy baseball site dedicated to answering visitor requests and promoting live discussion. Send us your requests here.


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