Long story short: When the newest member of my semi-keeper league made Chris Davis his fifth and final keeper, I literally felt sorry for him. The poor sap, chasing last year’s lucky numbers. Maybe he’ll learn a thing or two his first year on the job.
Two months later, Davis is hitting .359/.447/.766 for the new guy’s team, and I’m in 11th place (don’t judge). Like Jose Bautista before him, there’s only one question when it comes to Davis’ scorching start: could this possibly be real?
Will Davis keep hitting like Joe Mauer, getting on-base like Joey Votto and slugging like Barry Bonds? Probably not. But could we be witnessing the arrival of the next great power hitter? Absolutely.
Not that Davis hadn’t already arrived. The 33 home runs he hit in 2012 were nothing to sneeze at in an era that’s seen just 17 40-homer campaigns over the past five seasons. His 33 bombs were tied for 11th in all of baseball, and ahead of the likes of Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder and Andrew McCutchen, among others.
And this is the same Chris Davis who hit .318/.375/.597 with 118 home runs across 472 minor-league games. Yes, he’s always struck out too much, but it’s not as if Davis is Bryan LaHairing his way to an All-Star selection. He’s a legitimate power-hitting force, one who’s gotten more selective. Davis’ strikeout percentage is sitting at 21.9 percent. Not elite, but way down from the 30.0 career mark he was sporting coming into 2013.
And as his K-rate has declined, his walk rate has spiked. Davis is drawing a walk 13.2 percent of the time, more than double the 6.5 percent BB rate he owned before the season. Part of this, of course, is because pitchers are beginning to fear his power — and not because he’s suddenly Rickey Henderson-esque with his pitch recognition — but it’s not as if that’s a strike against him. Davis’ power and “patience” should continue to feed off each other.
In the end, Davis is a long-shot to keep up a lot of things. His HR/FB percentage will tick back closer to 25 percent than the 30 it’s currently flirting with. A .300 average will be hard to achieve for a career .267 hitter. He’s unlikely to add 74 points to his .326 2012 OBP. He’s probably not going to slug .700.
But just like Bautista, Davis is every bit “for real,” and just like trading Bautista would have come back to burn you in 2010, “selling high” on Davis is an oxymoron. Unless you’re getting back two truly premium players, you will not be making your team better by trading baseball’s latest, greatest Paul Bunyan.
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Domonic Brown swatted a pair of home runs Wednesday evening, giving him five in his past five games and 13 on the season. That’s good for second in the National League, and puts him on pace for 40.
That’s good, but...his .298 on-base percentage is far from great. Brown is rapidly shedding his “bust” status, but unlike Chris Davis, he hasn’t exactly proven he’s here to stay in mixed leagues. Brown was hitting .243/.288/.414 as recently as 11 days ago. Whereas Davis has had a monumental season on top of an encouraging 2012, Brown has had a really good 11 days on top of a pretty poor first six weeks.
Ride the wave for the time being, but don’t “cancel your plans,” so to speak, in mixed leagues. Brown is very much a sell-high candidate.
The Bryce Still Isn’t Right
Bryce Harper (knee bursitis) is suddenly questionable for this weekend’s series in Atlanta after the Nats had originally hoped he’d miss no more than this week’s four games against the Orioles.
"I don't have a lot of high hopes, but I'm hopeful," manager Davey Johnson said in oblique fashion. "He's been trying to go down in the cages and hit and take BP. Hopefully maybe two more days. Hopefully he'll be able to come back and play. Hopefully."
If you’re doing battle in a daily head-to-head league, “hopefully” isn’t good enough. Plan on being without Harper for the rest of the week, and hope what’s thus far been a day-to-day issue doesn’t turn into a stint on the 15-day disabled list.
National League Short Hops: Matt Kemp left the Dodgers’ loss to the Angels with a strained left hamstring. It appears to be a day-to-day situation, but that could change over the next 24-48 hours. … Kris Medlen left his start against the Blue Jays with a calf contusion. For now at least, he’s expected to take his next scheduled turn. … The Braves surprisingly called up prospect Alex Wood from Double-A to shore up their depleted bullpen. … Ian Kennedy (lacerated finger) has been cleared to start against the Cubs on Saturday. … Brandon Beachy (elbow) is expected to come off the disabled list on June 18 against the Mets. … Angel Pagan (hamstring) could be headed to the disabled list. ... Kyuji Fujikawa’s (Tommy John) first American campaign is officially over.
American League Short Hops: Ian Kinsler (intercostal) will be sidelined “at least” two more weeks after suffering a “stress reaction” on the right side of his rib cage. Jurickson Profar will continue to hold down the fort in his absence. … Mark Teixeira (wrist) went 0-for-2 with a walk in his first rehab game. He could be activated as early as Friday. … Will Middlebrooks (back) is expected to be activated when first eligible on June 8. … The Mariners are “hopeful” Michael Morse (quad) will be sidelined just 3-5 days. He could be a dicey weekly-league play next week. … Clay Buchholz (collarbone) is on the verge of being skipped for the second straight start. A backdated DL-stint could be in the cards. … Derek Jeter (ankle) has been cleared to throw. … Colby Lewis (elbow/triceps) is unlikely to make his 2013 debut before July. … Brett Lawrie (ankle) landed on the disabled list.
Game Notes: Dioner Navarro hit three home runs, because why not. … So did Ryan Zimmerman. … Miguel Cabrera went yard for the 15th time. … Jered Weaver (elbow) won in his return from the disabled list. ... Justin Masterson improved to 8-3. … B.J. Upton saw his slash fall to .146/.232/.247. … Samuel Deduno hit a bunch of batters.
Don’t quit your day job, Trevor Bauer.