For the first time in a long time, Chris Davis will actually get an opportunity to play every day without worrying about being benched or sent down.
Eduardo A. Encina from the Baltimore Sun reported last week that Manager Buck Showalter said he wanted Davis to play first base and that Davis shouldn’t be concerned about his starting spot. (Here is the link: http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2012-02-09/sports/bal-some-thursday-morning-thoughts-20120209_1_orioles-executive-vice-president-jonathan-schoop-nick-markakis)
With that said, is it possible for Chris Davis to finally have a full season in the Majors where he gets an opportunity to breakout?
Some people may say he had a breakout season in 2008, when he played 80 games for the Rangers.
He originally started out in Double-A for Texas but was moved up to Triple-A after 46 games. On June 26th he was finally moved up to the Major league club. In 80 games, he finished with a .285 average, 17 home runs, and 55 runs batted in.
2009 was supposed to result in similar numbers, but strikeouts became an even bigger issue for Davis. Compared to 2008’s strikeout percentage of 27.8%, his percentage moved up to 35.8%.
He managed to still hit 21 home runs in 113 games, but his averaged decreased significantly to just .238.
In 2010, Davis spent the majority of the season in Triple-A where he played in 103 games and finished with an average of .327, 14 home runs, and 80 runs batted in. However, in 45 games with the Rangers, he finished with an average of .192, only 1 home run, 4 runs batted in.
He still managed to struggle with striking out, finishing with a percentage of 29.4%.
In 2011, he played 48 games in Triple-A and 28 with the Rangers.
On July 30th he was traded to the Orioles along with RHP Tommy Hunter for RHP Koji Uehara.
In 31 games with the Orioles last year he was able to hit .276, but only hit 2 home runs, and only drove in 13 runs.
Unfortunately, he had a small tear in his shoulder on August 16, 2011 and played the final month of the season recovering from the injury.
So what really are the chances he can put together a solid major league season?
Davis finally has an opportunity to play a whole major league season this year. But over the past few years there have been many whispers that he could be your prototypical “AAAA Player”.
Some people have been able to shed this label (Nelson Cruz), however some people have been less fortunate (Dallas McPherson?). The obvious key for Davis is to limit his strikeout percentage and increase his on-base percentage, by increasing his walk rate. Other issues for Davis are hitting off-speed pitches and hitting left-handed pitching.
In the end if Davis is able to translate his stats from the minors to the majors then fans could expect a decent season from him. With Spring Training coming up, Davis will have a chance to continue to improve and with a full season in the majors Davis has a chance to reach his full potential.
With that said: nothing is ever guaranteed. Hopefully Chris can figure it out and be able to shine and be a potential bright spot in possibly another dark year for the O’s.