Hackers: Chris Davis



Life without a computer is rougher than I thought.  After a couple of months of saving following my latest computer crash, I finally spent some money and got a Mac with all kinds of goodies.  I've pretty much been limited to keeping up with LSB via the Blackberry (speaking of that Adam, any idea if/when SBN will go mobile with commenting?) and it has sucked not being able to fully participate in all the chest bumping that the Rangers play has induced among the faithful.

All that said, the hacking is getting out of hand.  I've read plenty here regarding the 1st pitch swings, the K's, and the lack of on base skills that the Rangers have demonstrated during this great start.  So, for my first fanpost back from the world of the computerless, I thought I would try taking somewhat of an in-depth look at your 2009 Texas Rangers Hackers.



Chris Davis:

Davis has had a rough go when it comes to making contact and getting on base.  As he has shown all season and last night, the power hasn't gone anywhere.  And, in comparison to 2008, his overall strike zone judgment hasn't fallen off either.

Season Team O-Swing% Z-Swing% Swing% O-Contact% Z-Contact% Contact% Zone% F-Strike%
Total * - - - 36.6 % 73.5 % 53.9 % 49.0 % 73.6 % 64.7 % 46.8 % 62.5 %
2008 Rangers 37.3 % 72.5 % 54.3 % 48.3 % 79.1 % 68.1 % 48.2 % 64.0 %
    2008 Average 25.4 % 65.4 % 45.9 % 61.7 % 87.8 % 80.8 % 51.1 % 58.6 %
2009 Rangers 35.4 % 75.5 % 53.1 % 50.4 % 62.0 % 57.7 % 44.1 % 59.6 %
    2009 Average 24.4 % 65.7 % 44.6 % 62.5 % 87.6 % 80.6 % 48.9 % 57.8 %


As you can see, Davis is actually swinging at less pitches out of the zone than he did in 2008.  Of course, he still swings at significantly more pitches than league average, but we knew that coming in.  You can also see that Davis is making contact out of the zone a little more than in 2008.  So where is the dropoff from 2008 to 2009?  In 2008, Davis made contact with 79.1% of pitches in the stike zone that he swung at.  While that was below league average, his numbers were still impressive because when he did make contact, it was often hard contact.  In 2009, Davis is making contact with only 62% of the pitches in the strike zone that he swings at.  That awful number has brought his overall contact rate down almost 11% to 57.7%...over 20 percentage points below the league average.  He is also being hurt by the fact that his LD% has come down from25.5% to 17.4% and that difference has been made up entirely in FB% as his GB% has stayed the same.

Davis is definitely a hacker, and his career will probably fall in line with his first two years as it pertains to his swing percentage.  His big problem this year has not been that he is up their flailing at everything and swinging at more balls than he did in 2008.  These numbers point toward a mechanical/mental issue rather than an approach issue just as Rudy and Chris have stated.  A look at a few more numbers for Chris may reveal something about his season:

1st 6 games: 1-for-22, 2 BB, 10 K, 0 HR

Next 11 games: 12-for-39, 1 BB, 20 K, 5 HR

Next 9 games: 5-for-30, 6 BB, 13 K, 1 HR

Next 8 games: 11-for-30, 0 BB, 10 K, 4 HR

Next 9 games: 1-for-29, 2 BB, 13 K, 0 HR

Last Night: 2-for-4, 0 BB, 2 K, 2 HR


Chris has had 3 really bad stretches and 2 (hopefully 3 starting with last night) pretty good stretches.

In 24 games this season (6,9,9 game stretches), Davis has this line:

7-for-81, 10 BB, 36 K, 1 HR

In his other 20 games this season (11,8 game stretches and last night), Davis has this line:

25-for-73, 1 BB, 32 K, 11 HR


There are a few encouraging numbers there, along with some obvious discouraging ones.  One thing I hadn't noticed until looking at these numbers is that during Davis rough stretches, his K:BB rate has been much, much, much better than in his 2 hot streaks.  This at least suggests that Davis has the ability to exercise some degree of patience.  Another thing I hadn't really noticed is that after striking out 30 times in his first 61 ABs (49% K rate), Davis has struck out 38 times in his last 93 ABs (41% K rate).  Obviously, a 41% K rate doesn't put a smile on your face, but it does show that there is some improvement being made.  Lastly, there is no doubt the power is still there.  Not that anyone thought it had gone anywhere to begin with.


There has been some discussion about whether Chris could use some time in AAA, and some asking when Smoak will be up to get Chris out of the lineup?  After looking at some in-depth numbers, I have to side with the Rudy Jaramillo, JD, AJM camp.

While Chris clearly has some issues to work through, I don't see a guy who needs a massive overhaul.  I see a guy who is going to hit a lot of home runs, strike out a lot, and play great defense.  I see a guy who may be taking 2 steps forward and one step back as he climbs out of the hole he is in.  He may not wake up one morning and all of the sudden snap out of it.  But his K rate is coming down, even if it is still incredibly high.  His defense has been superb and is still improving.  And if he needs to work on the mechanics of his swing, isn't that Rudy's specialty?

Sending him to AAA seems like a lose/lose situation to me.  He either gets hot while the Rangers deal with Blalock's equally annoying hacktasticness and much worse defense.  Or, he continues to struggle and it becomes a big time mental issue for him.  The Rangers are getting GG caliber defense from him and have him tucked away in the #7-8 spot every night.  He is 23 years old and in his first full major league season.  He is flat out too good to only connect on 62% of his swings at pitches in the strike zone.  He may not be the .315/.380/.570 guy some may have thought he would be, but he is also not the .208/.265/.468 guy we have seen to this point in 2009. 

I have in mind 3-4 other guys to take a similar look at as well.  But, seeing as I'm rusty...this could very well suck in which case please do tell me and I will go sit in the corner and work on some photoshopping for GDTs to try and recover from this putrid fanpost.

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