Pop quiz: who's the only batter to slug at least 40 homers in each of the last two seasons? With 42 in 2016 and 43 last year, Khris Davis' 85 homers are second to Giancarlo Stanton's 86 in that span. The problem is, Davis fanned 361 times over that time, second only to his homonym counterpart, Chris Davis (414). Perhaps because pitchers were working him more carefully, Khris with a K registered a career-best 11 percent walk rate, rendering him a little more valuable in on-base or points formats. While he doesn't have ample plate appearances to say he's a reverse split hitter, it's curious that Davis hits righties better than lefties, especially last season. Though, that opens an avenue for improvement if he can benefit more from the usual platoon advantage. Aside from excessive strikeouts, Davis' other bugaboo is fielding as the metrics are not favorable. Entering his age-30 campaign, Davis could see more time at designated hitter.
Davis agreed to a one-year, $10.5 million deal with the A's on Wednesday, avoiding arbitration, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Davis hit .247/.336/.528 with 43 home runs and 110 RBI during the 2017 season, which basically mimicked his numbers from the previous year, although he did have higher walk and strikeout rates. The designated hitter/outfielder set career highs in plate appearances (652), hits (140), home runs and RBI. He figures to slide right back into the middle of the order for Oakland in 2018.
Davis' commitment to plate discipline has resulted in a career-high 73 walks in 2017, Jane Lee of MLB.com reports. "I think it comes with experience," Davis said. "Instead of going out of the zone and getting it, hopefully I'm going ahead and taking the walk. I know what the walk feels like now." The prodigious slugger trails only Giancarlo Stanton in round trippers over the last two seasons, with Davis having already matched his 42 home runs from last year. He's managed to retain his power while showing improved patience, with the boost in free passes largely stemming from him working 120 full counts this season, an improvement of 35 over 2016. Davis does still have the third-highest strikeout total in the American League (193), so cutting down on the whiffs will presumably be a primary offseason goal.
Davis went 1-for-4 with a two-run home run in Tuesday's 6-3 loss to the Mariners. He's now tied the career high he set last year with 42 homers, and his 107 RBI and 87 runs are also personal bests. Davis isn't ever going to be a consistent contributor in batting average -- he's hit in the .240s for four straight seasons -- but the 29-year-old should still have at least a couple of campaigns as an elite power source left in his bat.
Davis went 1-for-3 with a two-run homer and a walk in Sunday's 8-1 win over the Rangers. Davis' mammoth 445-foot shot to center in the fifth extended the Athletics' lead to 5-0 and continued the slugger's successful track record against Rangers southpaw Martin Perez. Davis has homers in back-to-back contests and is slashing an impressive .313/.397/.594 in September, with the first two elements of his line representing his best monthly figures in those categories this season.
Davis hit his 40th home run of the season Saturday, a solo blast, during a 1-for-3 effort against the Rangers. He pelted a laser to right-center field off Miguel Gonzalez to provide the only run in the game. Davis' .241 batting average continues to hold him back for fantasy value, but even in a season packed with power, his stability in that category likely has helped many a fantasy title contender.