By Nathan Petrashek
Let’s get this out of the way: Khris Davis had a crappy homestand. I get that going 0-12 while only reaching base twice isn’t going to woo many fans. It’s not like anyone else was knocking the cover off the ball during that homestand either, though.
Let’s not close out the book on Davis quite so fast. While Davis is now only slashing .250/.278/.346 on the year, he was key during the Brewers’ nine-game win streak, batting .343/.343/.486 with 8 runs.
Davis hasn’t yet hit a home run. I understand that’s mildly concerning since power seems to be his one plus tool, and Davis certainly showed it last year with 11 home runs over 153 plate attempts. Extrapolating that out over a full season would have Davis hitting over 35 bombs, which I think we all know is pretty unreasonable.
Part of the problem is Davis’s aggressiveness; last year, he was one of the ten-worst left fielders in swinging strike percentage among those with at least 150 plate attempts. He’s going to be a strikeout-prone batter. It isn’t that he’s swinging at bad pitches, necessarily, but he’s seeing many more breaking balls so far, as pitchers have figured out that Davis feasts on fastballs. Davis’s contact rates across the board this year are pretty abysmal; it’s clear there’s going to be a period of adjustment.
Even if that’s a slow process, the home runs will come. Davis has hit just eight fly balls this year, so its way too soon to start worrying about the power. To some extent, I think the concerns about Davis stem in part from his performance in front of home fans, as he doesn’t have a hit at Miller Park but is slashing .406/.406/.563 on the road.
So no, I’m not worried about Khris Davis yet. .250 is probably about right for his average, he’s never going to have a huge walk total, and the power will likely come, particularly in hitter-friendly Miller Park.