Word on the MLB streets was, if Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris "Crash” Davis ever found some consistency, he could do major damage.
Back in April, TSL saw something brewing inside of Davis who became the fourth player in major league history to homer in his first four games of the season, joining Willie Mays, Mark McGwire and Nelson Cruz.
After six games this season, he was putting up Yasiel Puig-type numbers. Davis -- a wack or whiff guy in past seasons -- was showing the freakish power that scouts salivated over as a minor leaguer coming up with the Texas Rangers organization. His improved plate discipline and consistency making contact had folks bugging.
Still, baseball’s grind has a funny way of turning twisting tornadoes into docile breezes, and Davis had over 140 games left to return to his old self. In most cases, you are what the back of your baseball card says you are.
In Davis’ case, the value of his baseball card is skyrocketing as we speak. With more than half of the season gone, he’s hitting 61 points above his career average of .270 and leading baseball in almost every statistical category that holds major weight. He’s first in homers (32), slugging percentage (.731) and OPS (1.137), and he’s closing in on the Orioles team record for home runs in a single season.
Brady Anderson set the record in ‘96 when he raked 50 blasts, breaking the record of the legendary Frank Robinson, who stroked 49 in ‘66. Since then, no other Oriole has come close to the mark.
The way Davis is playing, Anderson’s record is looking real vulnerable. Davis even has an outside shot of eclipsing the coveted 60-homer mark if he keeps power-surging. He hit another bomb and added a tiebreaking two-run double in B-More’s 4-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday night.
Davis’ bat bravado has some scouts still shaking their heads. In a past article on baseball’s new Sultan of Swat, TSL compared Davis’ emergence to “witch craft.” A man possessed.
As he continues to rip the stitching off balls, an increasing number of pessimists -- who don’t believe in ghosts, goblins and spells, will grumble even louder about possible performance-enhancing drug use.
Davis has gone from Dave “Kong” Kingman to Dave Winfield, and he has the O’s in contention for a division title or wild card. Actually, Davis reminds us of a young David Ortiz. Before he became Big Papi and one of baseball’s all-time clutch game-wreckers, he was an average player with the Twins. Then he got traded to Boston and the rest is history.
Davis is blazing a similar historical path and enjoying the ride while he can. It’s fitting that on this July 4th we are talking about a cat that sends balls into orbit and lights up pitchers. Difference is, it’s not looking like Davis is going to “Crash” and burn any time soon.