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In my article on setting the Brewers lineup, I wrote the following:
"Khris Davis isn’t a base stealer. He doesn’t hit for a high average. He has a weak arm, even for left field. He is an average defender in left. These factors cause Davis to be underestimated, and a large portion of Brewers fans would be perfectly content using him as a trade piece.Davis can easily be a 2-win player, though, and young, cheap hitters worth 2 wins aren’t as easy to come by as fans seem to think. Davis has big-time power, and should walk more often in 2015 than he did last season."
Originally I had all of that and the following in the article, but it made the article rather cumbersome, or more cumbersome. Instead I’ll do my spiel here, beginning with a blind comparison.
Player A: 26 years, .244/.299/.457, 22 home runs
Player B: 28 years, .260/.301/.450, 22 home runs, All-Star
You guessed it, Player A is Khris Davis. He’s a good hitter, but not an outstanding one. He has a job — hit for power– and he does it well. Player B is amazing demi-god ball player Yoenis Cespedes. If I sound bitter, it’s because I get annoyed by perpetually over-hyped baseball players.
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Davis is someone to cast off for mid-level prospects, while Cespedes is a cleanup hitter to build a team around, with enough star power to rival the top names in baseball. Baffling.
Now, I’m not saying Davis and Cespedes are equal players, because Cespedes appears to be more talented in the field, and has an infinitely stronger arm, but they are very similar on offense. If we include 2013, Davis has the superior bat.
There are people who think that Khris Davis will or should platoon with Gerardo Parra. I am not one of those people. If Davis was as dismal on defense as some believe, then it’s possible that Parra’s similar bat and outstanding defense could be worth more wins than Davis against righties.
The problem there is that Parra is coming off of a year in which he hit for a .704 OPS versus righties. While his career average is more similar to Davis’, Davis should be a member of the team for years to come, while Parra is a future free agent/ trade piece.
Taking at-bats away from the team’s present and future left fielder is not advisable if he’s doing a fine job already, with room for improvement.
Davis’ instant offense will also work well if he hits after Adam Lind and Aramis Ramirez, who are poor base runners. They don’t need to run if Davis is leading them on a jog around the bases. Davis also tied for tenth in the NL in doubles with 37.
I think Davis is the Yovani Gallardo of the offense, a guy who does his job well enough but is perpetually undervalued by the casual fan. Gallardo is more entrenched in this role, however, and I think Davis has a chance to break that mold in 2015.