Some of the most exciting finds in a baseball collection include those of players who were once an afterthought and suddenly burst onto the scene in a big way. This year Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis, also known as ‘Crush’, has done just that. Davis appears to be a classic case of needing a change of scenery in order to get his career pointed in the right direction. After hitting a total of 6 home runs over the 2010 and 2011 seasons combined, Davis has swatted 51 long balls for the Orioles this year alone – and the season is not over. He has already passed Brady Anderson as Baltimore’s all-time single-season home run king, and he has almost single-handedly kept the Orioles alive in the playoff race. With very little offense to speak of around him, Davis’ OPS of over 1.000 is up in Miguel Cabrera territory.
Texas Could Use Him
Chris Davis coming on later in his career is a surprise because he was developed in the Texas system – and a ballpark that is very friendly to left-handed hitters. In fact, Texas was willing to part with prospect Justin Smoak in part because of what they thought they had in Davis. That didn’t work out, and he was shipped off to Baltimore in 2011. Two impressive seasons later, and Davis is one of the best sluggers in the game.
Any time a player changes teams and then starts to perform, the question in the collecting world is which items to go after. Should you pursue rookie year Texas memorabilia, or more current Baltimore pieces now that he is playing at an All-Star level? While there is no one right answer, it is always good to go after rookie cards, regardless of the team. However, with Davis setting Baltimore’s season home run mark this year, 2013 collectibles would also be a wise investment.
Will it Continue?
The question, of course, regarding Davis’ performance, is whether or not he can keep it going for many years to come. He is only 27 years old, so he could certainly have many more productive years before starting to decline due to age. Taking a closer look at his numbers, however, presents some cause for concern. So far in 2013, he has struck out a whopping 190 times, while walking just 68. That is a similar ratio to the 2012 season, during which he only posted 37 walks against 169 strikeouts. Those rates are hard to continue while being a productive hitter, even for someone with as much power as Davis possesses. If pitchers are able to make slight adjustments to take advantage of his aggressive nature, his .372 OBP could start to regress and he could settle in as a typical power hitter as opposed to an All-Star. Only time will tell, but he is certainly an interesting player to watch going forward.
For the Orioles of 2013, they need an impressive finish from Davis to scramble into the playoffs. If Baltimore falls short, they will likely be able to blame the failures of the rest of the lineup as the culprit. Look for more upgrades around Davis for 2014 if Baltimore is going to take the step up from contender to division champion.