The 2013 season came to an end that was all too soon and unexpected for Orioles fans and Chris Davis alike.
53 home runs and 138 RBI’s later from their star slugger, the Orioles still went home without making one of the two wild card spots or winning their division.
In New York over the summer, Chris “Crush” Davis was the talk of the town during All-Star weekend as the slugger had a realistic chance at catching the great Roger Maris’ single-season home run mark. While he may not have been viewed as the Home Run King by a substantial portion of the baseball fan base, there would more than likely be some who ultimately did view that to be so.
Having put up these Ruthian numbers hasn’t even cracked Davis into the top two of American League MVP balloting. How could this be so? Playing in a league where the competition is Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout may be a reason. Cabrera’s attempt at back-to-back Triple Crowns was thwarted by non-other than Crush Davis himself and while Mike Trout had a tremendous year statistically, his Halos limped to a below .500 record.
Maybe there is an analytic side to the explanation: of the three candidates, Davis has the lowest WAR, ranking with a 6.8 in comparison to Cabrera’s 7.6 and Trout’s once again astronomical, 10.4. Then there is weighted runs created plus, better known as wRC+, in which Davis ranks behind both of his competitors. He may finish in back of Cabrera and Trout, respectively, in this category, but it goes on to show that the Orioles slugging first baseman has the third highest wRC+ in all of baseball and just happens to be competing with the individuals who have the two higher figures than him.
Here are the slash lines of the three aforementioned men, side by side:
Mike Trout: .323/.432/.557, 27 HR/97 RBI/109 R/33 SB, 10.4 WAR, 176 wRC+
Miguel Cabrera: .348/.442/.636, 44 HR/137 RBI/103 R/3 SB, 7.6 WAR, 192 wRC+
Chris Davis: .286/.370/.634, 53 HR/138 RBI/103 R/4 SB, 6.8 WAR, 167 wRC+
While Davis may be washed away in new era statistically fads, to say his numbers don’t stack up to those of the other two men would be both erroneous and unfair. Crush drove in more runs than the future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera and to think that Davis had the kind of protection that Cabrera has in that lineup would be foolish. Mike Trout’s speed is one of his best facets of his game, but his six run edge over Davis is inextricably linked to the fact that he swiped nearly 30 more bags; had Trout stayed as stationary as Davis, he doesn’t score nearly as many runs.
No one can argue that Davis’ batting average and on-base percentage should even be viewed in the same class as these two, but then again, his power numbers are unprecedented. Will Chris Davis win the American League’s Most Valuable Player award this season? More than likely not. If he was in the National League, he would be cake-walking his way to an award ceremony, without question. Unfortunately for the big Texan, one of the all-time great power seasons in the history of baseball will sadly be nothing more than a memory while two of the game’s elite slug it out for the MVP trophy.
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