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With such ease. It really doesn’t take max effort for him to hit a homerun. Chris Davis is having a historic start to the season. So the question is whether you should sell high or enjoy the entire season’s ride. Let’s delve.
Courtesy of Fangraphs, here was Chris Davis’ 2012 5×5 line and Balls In Play data:
515 AB: 75r-33hr-85rbi-2sb-.270avg
39.3 Ground Ball %, 37.5 Fly Ball % and 23.2 Line Drive % with a 25.2 HR/FB % from a 297.01 average flyball and homerun distance in Baltimore (1.11 Park Factor for Left-handed homeruns). Others with an average distance within a foot of Chris Davis:
Giancarlo Stanton: 28.9% HR/FB; .97 Park factor for Right-handed Homeruns
Justin Maxwell: 22.8% HR/FB; 1.04 PF for RH HR
Garrett Jones: 17.1 HR/FB%; 98 PF for LH HR
Billy Butler: 19.9 HR/FB%; .95 PF for RH HR
Robinson Cano: 24.1 HR/FB%; 1.16 PF for LH HR
Carlos Beltran: 19.9 HR/FB%; .91 PF for L/R HR
Prince Fielder: 17.9 HR/FB%; 1.06 PF for LH HR
and Buster Posey: 18.8 HR/FB%; .96 PF for RH HR
Prior to the season, I went with the following projection for Chris Davis:
506 AB*68.1 Ct%*38.25 FB%*19.50 HR/FB%=26 HR with a .264/.468/.791 avg/slg/ops. I am still pretty comfortable with the contact rate (up to 70%) and FB% which I looked at as a trend (35.8>36.8>37.5% the past three years). At 27 with a full season finally under his belt, he should continue to lift the ball. The 25.2% HR/FB should regress slightly, but Camden should keep it inflated, so I am inclined to up his HR/FB% a bit.
New Homerun Total Projection:
Let’s say he does amass a few more at-bats this year and project 520. If he can keep his Ct% at 70%, lift the ball to a 38.25% clip with a 21.18% HR/FB ratio (averaging the above list), then we should see 30 HR again. At this point a repeat of his HR & RBI total is likely.
Batting Average Projection:
Chris Cwik on Chris Davis’ FanGraphs+ profile (requires subscription), mentions that he has a .335 batting average on balls in play, which is high for a player like him. Looking at his BIP data, his batting average based on his 2012 balls in play was as follows:
Ground Balls: .226
Fly Balls: .344
Line Drives: .790
In general, only 23% of GB, 22% of FB and 72% of LD become hits so Davis was well above average from fly balls and line drive perspectives. Using Davis’ AB, Ct% and the above balls in play hit expectancy, it outputs the following:
520 AB * 70 Ct% = 364 Balls In Play
364 BIP * 38.25 FB% = 139.23 fly balls * .344 (FB Hit Expectancy) = 47.9 FB hits
364 BIP * 39.25 GB% = 142.87 ground balls * .226 (GB Hit Expectancy) = 32.3 hits
364 BIP * 22.5 LD% = 81.9 line drives * .79 (LD Hit Expectancy) = 64.7 LD hits
…Which totals 145 hits/520 AB = .279 batting average
5×5 Projection using this hit expectancy:
520 AB-78r-30HR-90rbi-2sb-.279 batting average, which would jump him up up my rankings making him the 11th best 1B.
I think he winds up closer to this line at this point so enjoy the ride.