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Fantasy Baseball Sleepers 2014: Potential Value of Khris Davis

The Milwaukee Brewers are coming off of a chaotic 2013 season which produced a sub par W-L record, but they did see significant development with several players. One of those players was Khris Davis, who played so well that they made room for him by sending a very good player in Norichika Aoki to the Kansas City Royals.

So, what will we get from Davis in 2014? Before looking ahead, let’s take a look back to see what, if anything we can draw from his past.

 

  • Numbers

So, what exactly did Davis do with the Brew Crew in 2013? Let’s have a look. 

Khris Davis 2013 Stats

PA
AB
H
R
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
OBP
SLG
153136382711273.279.353.596

It’s a small sample size, so how would that pace look over a full season of 620 plate appearances and 550 at-bats? 

Khris Davis 2013 Stats Extrapolated

PA
AB
H
R
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
OBP
SLG
620550153/1541104410912.278/.280.353.596

Impressive. Khris Davis will be to 2014 what Chris Davis was to 2013. It’s pretty funny when you think about it. Case closed. Let’s move on, right?

Not quite. As much as we’d love to see those numbers, small sample sizes being extrapolated hardly ever comes to pass. So, let’s find a deeper sample size for Davis, his Minor League career. 

Khris Davis MiLB Career

PA
AB
R
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
OBP
SLG
170514262416925341.288.392.506

Trimming that pace down to a 620 plate appearance, 550 at-bat season, we’d get this: 

PA
AB
R
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
OBP
SLG
62055088279815.288.392.506

That’s pretty good play. It’s not quite the MVP-caliber pace that we saw above, but if Davis can indeed translate his Minor League numbers to the majors, I’m guessing that Ron Roenicke will be incredibly happy. With Ryan Braun and Carlos Gomez joining him, the Brewers would have a fearsome outfield, and one that could be around for plenty of years.

But as fantasy baseball players and projectors, we have to be a little negative sometimes. So, what about Davis scares me off this year?

 

  •  Negatives

A pretty big negative is where Davis is slated to bat in the Brewers order, at least according to MLB Depth Charts

Projected 2014 Brewers Lineup

Order
Player
Bats
1.Jean SeguraR
2.Scooter GennettL
3.Ryan BraunR
4.Aramis RamirezR
5.Jonathan LucroyR
6.Carlos GomezR
7.Juan FranciscoL
8.Khris DavisR
 It’s hard to get really excited about someone batting eighth, especially in a National League order.

This wouldn’t be such a negative if Davis batted left-handed. There, it wouldn’t be anywhere near as difficult for him to move up into a better number-producing spot, as that’s definitely a right-hand dominant lineup. As a right-handed hitter, the road isn’t anywhere near as clear. Even though I’m not especially high on Aramis Ramirez this year and I think that the spot behind Ryan Braun could be up for grabs, Jonathan Lucroy and Carlos Gomez are both just as qualified as Davis for that spot. Actually, with more established MLB success, they’d easily get a chance there before Davis.

The quickest path to a better spot in the lineup would be to have Ramirez falter, moving Lucroy to the No. 4 spot. Then, if Scooter Gennett has some growing pains, Carlos Gomez moves up to the two spot, opening up the No. 5 hole for Davis. There are definitely a few moving parts in that, but it’s not impossible.

I don’t necessarily think Davis will be hitting eighth all year. If he continues to hit, there’s no way that he’ll be relegated to the No. 8 hole. Still, getting into the 3-5 spots will be a tough task, and that’s not my only concern.

While Davis was a .288 hitter in the minors, his .272 average in AAA is far less impressive. That doesn’t mean that he wouldn’t have adjusted if he was in AAA longer, nor does it mean that he won’t eventually become a better hitter in the majors. But it does mean that some growing pains are at least a distinct possibility in 2014.

The .279 average that he put up in the majors last year could alleviate some of those concerns, but not all. Davis also struck out 34 times in those 153 plate appearances. That pace over 620 plate appearances works out to just under 140 K’s.

Now, I think we do worry a little too much about strikeouts today, but if he’s striking out that much, it means there is a hole somewhere in his swing. That in and of itself, is not a big deal. Just about everyone not named Miguel Cabrera has a hole in his swing.

But now that big league pitchers have seen Davis in the show and have seen what he can and can’t do, they’re going to be far more adept at exposing his flaws. Sure, Davis will still get into several pitches for homers, but his overall numbers are a little more susceptible to regression.

But, there are other positives, as well. Mainly, where Davis is going to be hitting.

 

  •  Ballparks

As a member of the Brewers, Davis will obviously be taking most of his at-bats in Milwaukee and the other NL Central stadiums. According to ESPN Park Factors, these are the kind of parks he’ll be taking those at-bats in. A factor over 1.0 means it’s good for hitters, while under 1.0 means it’s good for pitchers.

NL Central Run Factors

Year
Milwaukee
(Rank)
Cincinnati
(Rank)
Chicago
(Rank)
Pittsburgh
(Rank)
St. Louis
(Rank)
Average1.042
(12.8)
1.033
(12.4)
1.093
(8.8)
0.936
(18.8)
0.926
(23.4)
20090.886
(27)
0.975
(18)
1.146
(3)
1.022
(14)
0.919
(25)
20101.005
(15)
1.007
(12)
1.170
(3)
1.026
(11)
0.937
(24)
20111.041
(10)
1.082
(8)
0.934
(23)
0.959
(17)
0.896
(25)
20121.168
(7)
1.113
(8)
1.024
(13)
0.764
(28)
0.985
(18)
20131.110
(5)
0.989
(16)
1.192
(2)
0.907
(24)
0.892
(25)

NL Central HR Factors

Year
Milwaukee
(Rank)
Cincinnati
(Rank)
Chicago
(Rank)
Pittsburgh
(Rank)
St. Louis
(Rank)
Average 1.251
(6.6)
1.312
(4.2)
1.041
(13.6)
0.889
(23.6)
0.804
(25.2)
2009 1.069
(10)
1.176
(6)
1.006
(15)
1.054
(13)
0.736
(28)
20101.233
(6)
1.136
(8)
1.134
(9)
0.798
(25)
0.758
(26)
20111.062
(11)
1.314
(3)
0.987
(14)
0.799
(24)
0.774
(27)
20121.631
(1)
1.592
(2)
0.962
(19)
0.631
(27)
0.915
(21)
20131.259
(5)
1.338
(2)
1.115
(11)
0.679
(29)
0.837
(24)

NL Central Hit Factors

Year
Milwaukee
(Rank)
Cincinnati
(Rank)
Chicago
(Rank)
Pittsburgh
(Rank)
St. Louis
(Rank)
Average 1.012
(13.6)
1.003
(14.2)
1.040
(10.2)
0.979
(16.8)
0.959
(21.6)
2009 0.932
(28)
0.995
(15)
1.024
(10)
1.053
(7)
0.981
(19)
2010 0.993
(16)
1.023
(12)
1.115
(2)
0.986
(17)
0.955
(23)
2011 1.058
(6)
0.990
(16)
0.977
(19)
0.994
(14)
0.882
(30)
2012 0.997
(14)
1.017
(12)
0.981
(18)
0.871
(29)
1.047
(8)
2013 1.081
(4)
0.990
(16)
1.104
(2)
0.989
(17)
0.931
(28)

The trips to Pittsburgh and St. Louis might be a little tough, but between his home stadium (Miller Park), and trips to Wrigley Field and the Great American Ballpark, Davis will potentially be playing 100 games in hitter-friendly stadiums, and that doesn’t even count the Brewers annual trips to places like Arizona and Colorado.

 

  • Projections

Considering all of those things, just what can we expect from Khris Davis in 2014? This is what Tanner Bell of Smart Fantasy Baseball — and our Draft Kit — have to say. 

Khris Davis: 2014 Projections

AB
R
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
OBP
SLG
4725920656.261.364.497

That’s not bad for his first full year in the show, and I think those are pretty conservative. I can’t imagine that Davis will be batting eighth all year, not with his power. Somehow, he’ll get his way into the 2-6 window of the Milwaukee order and put up effective numbers.

This is a guy you’ll want to target in the mid-late rounds of your drafts. He’s well worth the risk.

Tags: Khris Davis Milwaukee Brewers MLB OF Sleepers

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