Our ranking of the Top 50 Milwaukee Brewers players of this past decade continues as we jump into the lower 20s now.
After working our way through the 30s and 40s, we’ve approached the final group of players from the bottom half of the list of the best Milwaukee Brewers players from the 2010s.
How We Ranked Them
We created an initial list of the top players by combining their Fangraphs Total WAR from each year they were on the Brewers and ranking them from highest to lowest.
However, this wasn’t going to be a list of simply who had the highest WAR while they were here and that’s it. So we adjusted the list based on postseason contributions, overall quality of player, and general importance to the franchise.
Our list continues.
30. OF Khris Davis
Coming in at number 30 on our countdown, is Khris Davis, more commonly known as “Khrush Davis” or “Noodle Arm Davis”, depending on if you were watching him hit or play defense.
The Milwaukee Brewers drafted Davis in the 7th round of the 2009 MLB Draft. Tales of his raw power quickly spread through the Brewers organization, and by the time he made his major league debut in 2013, fans were expecting 40 home runs a season kind of pop.
2013: 1.3 WAR
2014: 1.4 WAR
2015: 1.2 WAR
Total: 3.9 WAR
Davis appeared in 56 games in his debut season in 2013, hitting .279 with a .949 OPS and 155 OPS+. 21 of his 38 hits went for extra bases, (10 doubles, 11 home runs) and he made a huge impact in a short amount of time. The hype was real and the excitement for Davis’ ability in the middle of the Crew’s lineup was high.
While Ryan Braun was the primary left fielder, once he returned from his suspension, Braun moved over to right field full time to accommodate the defensively challenged Davis. Davis had decent range to catch fly balls and had no issues tracking them, he just couldn’t throw. All that strength and muscle for Davis helped him crush home runs but couldn’t help him throw anything better than a two-hopper into second base.
Davis continued to hit home runs in 2014 and 2015, combining for 49 total over those two seasons, but it seemed he couldn’t quite reach his full offensive potential. There should’ve been more power there and he should’ve been more than a 1.0-1.5 WAR player. Especially playing in a hitter friendly ballpark like Miller Park, he should’ve thrived, but instead plateaued.
By the end of 2015, two things had become increasingly obvious: 1) The Milwaukee Brewers were going to rebuild and trade off any valuable assets, and 2) Davis couldn’t play the outfield and needed to become a DH.
There was always that concern about Davis needing to go to the AL where he wouldn’t have to play defense. The Brewers tried everything they could to get Davis to be serviceable. They experimented with him at first base in the minors and spring training, which didn’t work. They gave him all the coaching they could on throwing, but it was a mental battle for him, as he wrote in The Players’ Tribune a few years ago.
But with new GM David Stearns taking over, he decided it would be best to move Davis to the AL where he can be a DH and it was time to move on from him as an outfielder.
Davis was traded to the Oakland A’s on February 12, 2016, just before spring training began, in exchange for RHP Bubba Derby and C Jacob Nottingham. Both were once thought of as nice prospects, but Derby has stalled out in Triple-A and has yet to make his big league debut.
Nottingham was thought to be the catcher of the future in Milwaukee, with Jonathan Lucroy soon to be on the trade block at the time. But Nottingham just hasn’t hit the ball well at all since joining the Brewers and his prospect status has plummeted, and it’s unlikely the Brewers will ever receive any positive big league contributions from either player acquired for Davis.
Meanwhile, Davis has thrived with Oakland, hitting 40+ home runs with a .247 batting average each of his first three years with the Athletics. It’s one of the few trades that the other team got the better of the Brewers under GM David Stearns.
Davis provided excitement and frustration during his time in Milwaukee, and his booming home runs are enough to land him at No. 30 on our countdown of the best Brewers of the 2010s.