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Article:Chris Davis' Obscene Strikeout Pace

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by Harold Friend

Chris Davis is in his second season with the Texas Rangers. In 74 games, he has struck out 111 times, which is an average of 1.5 strikeouts a game. From April 21 through May 13, Davis struck out in 21 consecutive games. He is on a pace to strike out about 240 times, which would easily eclipse Mark Reynolds' record of 204 set last season.

Adam Dunn and Pat Burrell

Adam Dunn and Pat Burrell don't remind anyone of Joe Sewell, who struck out once for every 168 at-bats in 1932, but while Dunn averages 180 strikeouts a season, he also hits .248 and averages 40 home runs a season. Burrell hits .256, averaging 157 strikeouts and 30 home runs a year. Isn't it amazing that hitting .248 or .256 is almost considered a positive? (Ty Cobb: .366. Rogers Hornsby: .358)

Chris Davis' Statistics

After one and one-half seasons, Chris Davis bats .247, averages 34 home runs and 209 strikeouts a season. He averages more strikeouts in a season than Mark Reynolds' single season record, but it gets better (or worse for Rangers' fans).

This season, Chris is batting .203, with a .259 on base average and an OPS+ of 76. He reached 100 strikeouts faster than any player in baseball history, and his strikeout average of .445 is more than double his batting average.

Davis started his career in 2006 with Spokane. As a minor leaguer, Davis had 1,045 at bats. He struck out 288 times, which by modern standards is acceptable, hit .302 with decent home run power and produced a good .357 on base average.

Texas Can Lose Without Davis

The Rangers, a mediocre team, trail the Angels, a mediocre team, by one-half game in the American League's Western Division. They may win the division, but they have as much chance of winning the pennant as Barry Bonds has of setting another home run record. They can afford to send Davis to the minors to learn his trade.

Chris Davis Has Great Potential

Chris Davis has great potential. He is only 23 years old, is a fine fielder, and hits with power, but walking back to the dugout more than 200 times after striking out is not a good thing. Recently, Omar Vizquel gave Davis some advice, which Davis heeded.

Omar spoke to Rangers' hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo, who reminded him that batting practice pitches are thrown about 10 mph slower than pitches made in a game. Vizquel told Davis to try to hit the ball up the middle in batting practice instead of always going for the long ball.

"Sometimes you have to make an adjustment and you don't even know what you're doing at the plate," Vizquel said. "I just told him something to change his mind a little bit...."

High Strikeout Numbers Are Not Acceptable

No contending team can afford to have a .203 hitter who strikes out over 200 times in the lineup. There are too many negatives and almost no positives about striking out. Chris Davis must be brought along slowly, learn the strike zone, try to develop better plate discipline, and not accept striking out as something that is going to happen regardless of his hitting approach. If he does, he may become another Pat Burrell, or even an Adam Dunn.

References:

Wilson, Jeff. "Chris Davis turns tips into hits in Texas Rangers' 12th-inning win." The Dallas Morning News. 26 June 2009.

Baseball-Reference


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