Player A: 2 home runs. .235 Batting Average. 10 RBI.
Not earth-shattering numbers huh? I would agree with you that while looking at these statistics, I would not assume that these were the numbers of a good major league baseball player, let alone the American League MVP of the last 2 years. Yes, it’s true, these are the statistics of 8-time All Star Miguel Cabrera. Baseball is a game of hot streaks and slumps. Miguel Cabrera is in the midst of a slump, but he’s one of the best hitters in baseball so it’s just a matter of time before he gets hot. Agreed?
Player B: 1 home run. .234 Batting Average. 9 RBI.
Once again, not earth-shattering numbers. These early season statistics belong to our very own Chris Davis. Chris Davis is also in the midst of a slump, and Orioles fans are already worried that Chris Davis and the Orioles offense are in for a rough season.
Prior to the 2014 season, most Orioles fans had already came to the realization that it was highly unlikely that Davis would be able to replicate his tremendous performance from last year where he batted .286, hit 53 home runs, and had 138 runs batted in. However, we all expected that he would once again be our best hitter, and thus far in the early going that simply has not been the case.
But why have these expectations now drastically changed amongst Orioles fans? We as Orioles fans are so worried about what we have see, but we are undervaluing what we already know. We know that Chris Davis is one of the best power hitters in baseball. Davis only having 1 home run this year does not change that fact.
Keep in mind that Chris Davis’ On Base Percentage and his Walk Rate have been at a career high thus far so that indicates that he’s been more patient as a hitter this year, and his Strikeout Rate and Home Run Rate are at a career low this year through 19 games. Chris Davis notoriously is a player who strikes out a lot so to see that his Strikeout Rate is at a career low is an oddity and goes completely against his career numbers. More importantly, to see that Chris Davis only has 1 home run this season is not only mind-boggling in comparison to how many home runs he hit last year, it is completely contradictory to his career track record and pedigree. This stretch of 19 games to start the 2014 regular season has clearly been an anomaly in comparison to his career track record.
Miguel Cabrera and Chris Davis, despite being 2 of the best hitters in baseball, are in fact human. Also, while they are merely humans, they are 2 of the best hitters in baseball! This means that although they have not shown that they are great hitters so far this year, every player, manager, and personnel member in Major League Baseball knows that their slumps are bound to be broken sooner rather than later. Chris Davis is due to hit a home run, and in my opinion, once he starts hitting them, he will be hitting them in bunches. Orioles fans, although it is very much against our nature, I urge you to remain patient with this ball club. Soon enough Chris Davis and the rest of the lineup will be back to their old ways of scoring a plethora of runs and the Orioles will be looking like a legitimate contender in the AL East.
For the readers: What is your opinion on Chris Davis’ slump so far this season? Do you think he’s bound to break out of it or do you think this will be a season long struggle? What effects do Chris Davis’ struggles have on the rest of starting lineup? I’d love to hear your thoughts on these questions in the comment section below.