It’s heartbreaking when you realize that the label “Strikeout King” is no longer being used as an insult, but rather a very real and very undeniable fact. Chris Davis, of the Baltimore Orioles, is currently leading the Major Leagues in strikeouts. His 115 K’s put him on pace to fan 203 times, which is good for the 7th-most EVER in a season.
“Crush” has still launched 19 home runs this season. He’s still valuable to the Orioles. But his days as a cleanup hitter may be numbered.
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It is generally believed that, in baseball, with great power comes great strikeout totals. Guys like Jim Thome, Mark McGwire, and Adam Dunn are living precedents to the theory — it makes perfect sense, and I am not here to argue with that.
I am, however, here to argue that the Baltimore Orioles do not need a power hitter batting fourth in their lineup.
In fact, I think they may be better off without one.
Think about it: the team’s 1, 2, and 3 hitters — Machado, Paredes, and Jones — all have OBP’s of .325 or higher this season. This means statistically, one of these guys are basically guaranteed to get on base in any given run through the order.
In tonight’s (hypothetical) game, Adam Jones has just led off the inning with a double. Go Adam! What type of hitter do you want approaching the batter’s box?
Maybe you want someone who will be able to move Jones over to third — Chris Davis strikes out in 35% of his at bats and is not a likely candidate for this service.
Or perhaps you’d prefer to see a high-average guy who could drive Jones home with a simple base hit — Davis, with his deflated .238 average, would not be my first choice for a result like this either.
After Saturday’s Detroit game, the Baltimore Orioles were a disastrous 2 for their last 55 with runners in scoring position. Some fans shouted “UNLUCKY”, but I personally believe this can be fixed by a small tweak to the lineup.
Move Chris Davis down to the 7-hole. Bring either Matt Wieters or Jonathan Schoop up to the cleanup spot. Wieters has put up solid on-base numbers throughout his career, and Schoop’s mix of power and average this season could be exactly what the O’s are looking for in the middle of their lineup.
It’s always tough to dispute the batting order of a baseball genius like Buck Showalter, but I believe a move like this will both take some pressure off Chris Davis, and help restore the pop that the Orioles have recently been missing from the middle of their lineup.