Chris Davis finally got the monkey off his back. Crush went deep in the bottom of the eighth on Sunday for his first home run of the 2014 season.
It took Davis 50 plate appearances over 12 games to hit that dinger, but now the first one is out of the way — only 52 more to go. In his first 12 games in 2013, Davis had already blasted six home runs and driven in 19. He’s got a lot of catching up to do.
Obviously, after hitting 53 dongs last season, pitchers are going to be more cautious against him this year. We’ve already seen him take five walks and post a .353 on base percentage (though he had seven walks after 12 games last year).
Davis is swinging at 42.9 percent of the pitches he sees outside of the strike zone* (35.6 percent in 2013). He’s making contact with 48.9 percent of those pitches (53.4 percent last season). Davis is swinging about five percent more than he did last season. Again though, this is an incredibly small sample size.
Davis’ batted ball metrics suggest that more home runs are on the way. His 0.69 ground ball/fly ball ratio is only a tick below the 0.71 mark from last season. 26.7 percent of his batted balls are line drives (21.9 percent last season), 30 percent are ground balls (32.4 percent last season) and 43.3 percent are fly balls (45.7 percent last year).
It’s worth noting that Davis’ fly ball percentage jumped from 37.5 percent in 2012 when he hit 33 home runs to 45.7 percent in 2013 when he hit 53. He’ll have to make solid contact to push balls out of ballparks, but if that fly ball percentage continues and the power is there (again), there’s no reason that Davis should blast a lot of pitches out of the Yard in 2014. (Duh).
* – Stats as of Sunday April 13
Image Credit: Keith Allison