I'm a huge Khris Davis fan. I tell anyone that will listen--and to be honest anyone that won't--how underrated a player he is. I think I've written about him for each site I've worked at and I'm unabashed about my man-khrush. I was really looking forward to his season this year. Despite a serious injury and some shared playing time I think Davis has pretty well rewarded my/our faith in him.
Khris Davis got his season off to a pretty strong start. From opening day through May 30--169 plate appearances--Davis hit 250/337/446 with 5 home runs. That's good for a 111 wRC+ or 11% better than league average. That's all well and good but another thing got me excited for what the rest of the season may hold.
As of 5/30 Khris Davis had an 11.2 BB%. That's well above average and a big part of what was missing from his previous major league work. Davis' power potential was always unquestionable. But because he didn't and doesn't make a lot of contact the question was if his on-base percentage was ever going to be good enough. I always hoped his major league walk rate would start resembling his minor league one. Because if it did that would mean his OBP would indeed be good enough. I think the rest of his season has shown that to be true.
On the season as a whole Khris Davis accumulated 440 plate appearances while hitting 247/323/505 with 27 home runs. He also ended the season with a 10.0 BB%. That is well above the league average walk rate of 7.7%. Some people won't be able to get past his high 27.7 K%. Those people don't have a complete grasp of what it takes to play baseball because Davis' offensive production was good for a 121 wRC+. In other words he was 21% better than league average. Among qualified batters that would place Davis in the top 40.
Unfortunately Khris Davis was not able to put enough plate appearances to be a qualified batter. That's only because he suffered a torn meniscus in May. He had surgery to remove the meniscus and obviously was able to return to action. It's a shame because I do wonder if perhaps that impacted him upon his return.
In the month of July Davis only accumulated 48 plate appearances and hit 186/271/349. Part of the issue was likely that he had been limited to part time play. The Brewers were trying to trade Gerardo Parra and needed to give him the majority of starts so he could maintain his trade value. After the Brewers did trade Parra--and the further from his injury it got--Davis took off.
From August 1 through the end of the season Khris Davis accumulated 223 plate appearances and hit 259/323/582 with 20 home runs. That's pretty insane production. Maybe he had some pent up aggression after dealing with the injury, rehab, and being relegated to a position he was clearly better than. Not that I blame the Brewers for limiting his playing time. It was the right decision with regards to Parra's trade value.
I always feel bad for players like Davis. His defense is not good, his batting average is low, and his strike out rate is high. "Traditional" baseball fans can't look past that. It's too bad for them because Khris Davis is a quality baseball player. He's not going to make any All-Star teams but he's an excellent complimentary player to have. I'm sure there will be plenty of teams looking to acquire him in the offseason. It'll be interesting to see if the Brewers bite.
Statistics courtesy of FanGraphs