It’s pretty easy to spot the few Baltimore Orioles veterans among the sea of relatively unknown names.
One of those names is Chris Davis, the sole surviving position player of the Baltimore Orioles mid-2010s playoff teams. But in the past few seasons, Davis has been far from the player the Orioles traded for in 2011 and signed to a massive contract in 2016.
In fact, he’s been worse than many of the relatively unknowns who have dotted the field in the past couple of seasons.
Now, with the 2020 season on the horizon, the MLB is wondering if what goes down can come back up. In an article about make-or-break hitters in 2020, Will Leitch of MLB questioned if Davis is the one Orioles hitter to watch in 2020.
This is what Leitch said about Davis:
“There’s no streakier hitter in all of baseball than Davis — it’s just that all the streaks the last few years have been bad ones. But wouldn’t it be something if he just went on a tear for two months? He’s done it before.”
Streaky is true, but more so in the past. It’s tough to be streaky when you finish the 2018 season with a slash of .168/.243/.296 and the 2019 season with a slash of .179/.276/.326. Those are just bad numbers.
When it comes to streaks, Davis hasn’t strung together a hit-streak of more than five hits in the last two seasons. In 2018, he had five consecutive hits between July 6 and July 10. Those hits included a double and two home runs. His longest streak in 2019 was four hits between July 2 and July 7, again with a double and pair of homers.
His longest streak in the game was his record-setting hit-less streak which stretched from September 15, 2018 to April 12, 2019. He went 0-54 in plate appearances. He did get some walks within that time period, but Davis was hired to hit the ball over the fence. His first hit came on April 13, when went 3-5 with two doubles and four RBI against the Red Sox. His first home run of 2019 came two days later, also against the Red Sox.
When the MLB shutdown on March 13, the Davis the Orioles wished they had in the last few seasons seemed to be back. In the O’s organization, no one was hotter than Davis in spring training, as his slash was an eye-popping .467/.615/1.067 with three home runs in 15 at-bats. Here’s one of them, thanks to MLB.com:
Which Davis will the Orioles get when the teams reconvene in two short days? If we’re lucky, we’ll get one that doesn’t top the league in strikeouts or the lowest batting average. Hopefully, we’ll get a 34-year-old Davis who hits more like the 39-year-old Nelson Cruz, rather than the pitchers who are the only players with worse stats than Davis has had in the recent memory.