Originally written January 17, 2013 on Baseball Professor:
No one’s inclusion in the top 200 for 2013 surprises me more than Chris Davis. Entering last season Davis had over 1,000 mostly failed plate appearances at the major league level, and he wasn’t showing any signs of improvement. In 59 games in 2011 Davis struck out his usual 30% of the time, and his 5.2 BB% was a career-worst. Because of Davis’ style of play, he’s useless if he’s not hitting homers, and that year he hit just five in 59 games. It looked like the end of the line. And then something sort of clicked. His strikeout and walk rates remained, well, bad, but he found his power stroke. For whatever reason, Davis has always had a very good BABIP, even during years when he’s struggled, and that counteracts a lot of the damage his high strikeout rate does. Best of all, our xBABIP and xBA formulas confirm that these high BABIPs are legitimate. Davis hits a ton of line drives, keeps fly balls to an acceptable level (while muscling out a large portion of them), and he seems to have ...
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