If Khris Davis fails: A hypothetical worst-case scenario

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

I've espoused the virtues of Khris Davis for a while now and certainly don't believe he'll have lasting struggles. But what if he does?

Khris Davis, in his first two games this season, is 0-7 with three strikeouts. In game three, the Brewers started Logan Schafer in left field.

I don't think a reason for Schafer starting over Davis was ever given. It could just be the team wants to give Schafer some playing time and Davis is obviously the most likely outfielder to lose playing time in such a situations. It's also possible that the Brewers don't want Davis to struggle at the beginning of the season and lose confidence, so they gave him a quick and early rest day. Though he didn't struggle in spring training, he also didn't knock the cover off the ball either with a .230/.284/.459 line.

But, you know, it's been two games. Had this little 0-7 streak occurred July 22-23, nobody would blink an eye. He's far from Brad Nelson territory, yet.

Still, a question presents itself: If Davis hypothetically continues to struggle, how long do the Brewers give him and what do they do to salvage the outfield?

While I have been bullish on Davis for a long time and have not lost any confidence in him, there should be a contingency plan. Davis put up great stats in the minors but was never highly rated on prospect lists for a reason. Part of that reason is just scouts overlooking him. Part of it is his defense. But another part lies in the fact that his swing was never the best and some felt his stats would not translate to the MLB level.

So, if Khris Davis is not as good as he indeed appears (again, purely hypothetical here -- we're two games into the season and I doubt anyone is seriously worried), what do the Brewers do? Switching to a platoon is an option: Davis is right handed while backup outfielder Logan Schafer is a lefty. The problem with that scenario: Schafer has shown absolutely no ability to hit major league pitching thus far. He's been absolutely dreadful against same-handed pitchers, but against righties he still has a paltry 649 OPS in his career.

In 56 games at the big league level last year, Davis hit .279/.353/.596 with 11 home runs. Those numbers were enough to convince the Brewers to both trade Norichika Aoki (a low priced, decent starting outfielder) and move Ryan Braun to right field. If a platoon is not an option, does the team move Braun back to left field? While he hasn't made any key mistakes, Braun hasn't looked the most comfortable in his new position. He probably fits best in left field moving forward. With Davis out, Braun likely moves back after his brief trial in right.

More on Davis from earlier this year: Maybe It's Time to Take Davis Seriously

That still leaves the Brewers scrambling to fill an outfield spot. They have no top prospects available to fill in. They could look at a free agent who has yet to hook on with a team, though the best option there is Vernon Wells and the Brewers don't have money to spend, anyway. They could look at a trade, but that would be for a mediocre player unless they want to trade what few prospects they have or another key component of the major league roster.

In short, trading Aoki and going with Davis means the Brewers are placing a ton of faith in the latter to continue performing. They are undeniably hoping to make the postseason, and another weak spot in the lineup along with first base and second base may threaten to destroy those odds.

The chances of Davis flaming out so horribly that the Brewers absolutely need to replace him are certainly slim. But as the least-experience team without a reliable backup, Davis is the biggest risk the Brewers are taking this year. It's an interested thought experiment to ponder what the team would do if they gambled wrong.

Of course, this whole article is pretty much moot because Khris Davis is the bomb-diggity and will probably end up being an MVP or whatever. It's a thought, though.

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