Baltimore Orioles slugging first baseman Chris Davis set a career-high in home runs in 2012 with 33. He had been mostly a platoon player before last year, so that performance earned him an every day job for the Orioles.
Not only is he raking, but he's also on pace to set the team’s single-season home run record.
Through three months this season, Davis clubbed a league-leading 31 home runs. Brady Anderson set the franchise record back in 1996 when he broke out for 50 homers. Halfway through the season, Davis is more than halfway to this total.
Davis though isn’t just crushing home runs. He’s also batting .332, which is second in the AL, and is getting on base at a .406 clip. He also already has 80 RBIs.
According to Elias, he is the first player to ever have at least 25 doubles and 31 home runs by the end of June. Davis has also become one of eight players to have 30-plus homers before the All-Star Break.
What exactly happened that has allowed Davis to flourish in Baltimore?
Maybe it’s because there is not much pressure on him. Davis is a native of Longview, Texas, so he was constantly under scrutiny with the Texas Rangers for being the hometown poster boy.
Maybe the pressure got to him, causing him to not fully reach his potential. When Buck Showalter, who used to manage the Rangers, took the job as the Orioles manager, he lobbied the Baltimore front office to trade for Davis. Well that’s worked out pretty well.
Even with all these home runs, Davis still isn’t even the superstar on his own team. Adam Jones and Matt Wieters are the big names in Baltimore, and even young Manny Machado gets plenty of attention.
Davis just quietly goes about his business. With teammates such as Jones, Wieters, Machado and Nick Markakis in the lineup, Davis should continue to see pitches to hit.
Only Ryan Howard (58) and Jose Bautista (54) have hit 50 or more home runs in a season since 2006. At his current rate, Davis may get the chance to crack the 60 home-run plateau.
He’s likely more focused on winning ball games rather than filling up the stats sheet. The Orioles have already proven that 2012 was no fluke. Unfortunately, the team plays in the only division in baseball in which every team is playing .500 ball or better.
But if Davis keeps this up, we may be seeing the makings of a second straight AL triple crown winner. Davis trails last year’s winner Miguel Cabrera in batting average and RBIs, but he does have six more homers as of now than Cabrera.
This will be a fun race to follow this summer, but again, Davis would likely sacrifice all his statistics if it means the Orioles keep up their winning ways.
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