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MVBrewers Honorable Mentions: Khris Davis

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Khris Davis had a fine first full major league season and is the second honorable mention in our MVBrewers series.

John Konstantaras

Khris Davis was once known by 0.5% of Brewers fandom when he was destroying pitchers in the minor leagues. I don't know if that's entirely true but that's what it felt like.

Before being called up to the majors, Davis was relatively unheralded as a prospect. He would make top-20 lists for the organization, but never came close to sniffing any nationwide lists. For the most part, he lingered in relative obscurity, just hittin' baseballs as well as he knew how. In 2010, he hit .280/.398/.499 and 22 homers in A-ball. In 2011, he hit .280/.377/.474 with 17 homers between High-A and Double-A. In 2012, he hit .350/.451/.604 with 15 homers between Double- and Triple-A.

That brought us into 2013, when the Brewers needed a first baseman. Now, one of the big knocks on Davis was that his defense in the outfield wasn't so hot. Because of that, some (me included) had the idea of trying him at first base, seeing how bad he was, and hoping that he could translate his minor league success at the plate to major league success. Davis excelled in spring training and forced his way onto the roster, but not as a first baseman. He struggled at first, went back to Triple-A, then got called up and had a great showing during the second-half with Ryan Braun suspended.

In fact, Davis was so good (overall he hit .279/.353/.596 with 11 homers in 56 games) that the Brewers traded the solid Norichika Aoki and moved a recent MVP to right field just to make room in the starting roster for Davis in 2014.

Davis took that ball and rolled with it. Though he had his ups and his downs, he launched 22 home runs while posting a .756, entrenching himself as a crucial part of the lineup.

The two knocks on Davis? His defense was so-so, and his on-base percentage sat at just .299 for the year. The first partially caused the Brewers to trade for Gerardo Parra. The second is a little trickier. Davis had always been outstanding in the minors at getting on-base, with a career .392 OBP through the farm system. I think he'll get better in the coming years as he gets further used to major league pitching, but it's possible he remains a free swinger.

Which, perhaps, is the biggest reason Davis wasn't in the top-10 of the MVBrewers vote. But, you know what, Davis is the kind of player every team needs. Every team that can't spend $200 million, anyway. He shouldn't be expected to be a star, and might never be an All Star. But he's a solid member of a lineup and a swell supporting member. With Carlos Gomez and Jonathan Lucroy and, hopefully, a healthier Ryan Braun leading the offensive charge, guys like Davis and Aramis Ramirez don't need to hit for an .850 OPS. They're good enough to start, while being cheap enough to stay. That's pretty great. Obviously it would be better if he was an MVP player, but you also have to be thankful for what the Brewers found that others looking at their minor league system overlooked.

Best Game

By WPA, Davis' best game was clearly on April 20 against the Pirates when the Brewers won 3-2. Davis was 3-6 with a solo home run that game, but the timing of the home run was what ramped up his WPA: After the two teams played to a 2-2 tie for nine innings, Davis khrushed a 14th-inning blast to give Milwaukee the go-ahead run. Here's video of the home run, which was his first of the season:

Statistically, Davis' best game was probably May 24 when he went 4-4 with a walk, a double, and a solo home run against the Orioles when the Brewers lost 6-7. Davis also scored two runs that game.

Contract Status

Khris Davis is under team control for a long while yet, having just finished his first full major league season. He'll be extremely cheap for a couple more seasons before first hitting arbitration for the 2017 campaign. He won't be a free agent until after 2019, which means the 26-year-old will likely be patrolling left field for a long while in Milwaukee.