Baltimore Orioles: Yes, These Chris Davis Numbers Are Real
By Nick Stevens
Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis hasn’t been just good since he broke out of his historic slump, he’s been really good.
Watching Chris Davis over the years has brought a wide range of emotions for fans of the Baltimore Orioles, especially myself. Now, here he is again, pulling out a brand new set of emotions after a hot month of baseball.
We are all aware of the dreaded streak. A major league record 54 at-bats without a base hit, yet many fans never gave up on the 33-year-old, once feared power hitter. Since his 3-5 day at Fenway Park on April 13th against the Boston Red Sox, Davis has been solid, among the league leaders in several offensive categories solid.
Let’s start with his baseline numbers. From April 13th-May 14th, Davis has played in 19 games, hitting .290 with a .371 OBP, five home runs, three doubles, and has driven in 15 runs. Those are fairly solid numbers from a guy who many proclaimed was “done” or “toast.” I fell into that camp. I didn’t want to, but Davis had become too depressing to watch play and it honestly hurt to witness on a nightly basis.
How about we dig a little deeper. Over this stretch of greatness, Chris Davis has posted a .400 wOBA (weighted on-base average), ranking him 38th in all of baseball. If you aren’t familiar with wOBA, you can find a detailed breakdown of how the statistic is calculated here on Fangraphs.
To get a very basic idea, while batting average and on-base percentage don’t care if you record a single or a home run, wOBA does and puts greater value on extra-base hits. Like OBP, anything around .370 or higher is considered very good. Davis ranks 66th in batting average and 64th in OBP, but nearly 30 spots higher in wOBA, meaning he’s been more effective than his standard batting average shows.
What about wRC+, weighted runs created plus? During his hot streak, Davis owns a 154 wRC+, also ranking him 38th in the major leagues. In 2017, Davis ended with a wRC+ of 92 and saw that below-average number plummet in 2018, finishing with wRC+ of 46. Again, if you are unfamiliar with wRC+, 100 is average, meaning Davis is currently 54% better than the average major league hitter. I know, I’m just as shocked. The best part about wRC+, as detailed by Fangraphs, is that “wRC+ is park and league-adjusted, allowing one to compare players who played in different years, parks, and leagues.”
Fun side note, you know who ranks just behind Chris Davis in wRC+? If you guessed Baltimore Orioles catcher Pedro Severino, you are right. A new fan-favorite in Birdland, the backstop has a 151 wRC+ over the past month, good for 40th in Major League Baseball.
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Chris Davis is finally producing for the Baltimore Orioles.
Davis is also doing damage with runners on base. Since April 13th, Davis has a .507 wOBA with runners in scoring position, ranking him 30th among qualified hitters with a minimum of 10 at-bats w/RISP (Dwight Smith Jr.is 15th at .566). Last season, even when Davis walked up to the plate with a runner at third base, if there were two outs, I was getting a head start on a restroom break. A dismal .091 batting average with two strikes will cause that.
I have one more number from Chris Davis that I like seeing- a .265 average in two-strike counts (since April 13th). Only Stevie Wilkerson is hitting the ball better with two strikes (.268) on the Orioles roster. How about his wOBA in this situation? Will a team-leading .405 mark suffice? Would you believe me if I said Davis was ranked 9th in the league in this metric? Believe it.
I don’t know if Chris Davis is back, no one does. He could just as easily fall back into another slump and find himself at square one again. What does this mean for a guy like Ryan Mountcastle? It’s way too early to have these discussions.
So, what does this mean?! It means fans of the Baltimore Orioles were treated to a month of good Chris Davis, that’s it. I hope you enjoyed it, because I know I did and I hope it isn’t over yet. We may have to put up with frequent use of the nickname “The Crusher” from Mike Bordick, but that’s ok. The 2019 season has already been a long one and we’re just a quarter of the way through. Small victories, like a stretch of hot-hitting Chris Davis, are greatly needed.
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