Is Khris Davis Worth a Sixth-Round Pick in Fantasy Baseball?

The Oakland Athletics' slugger had a breakout 2016. Is he worth the inflated price tag in 2017?

Oakland Athletics slugger Khris Davis is shooting up draft boards pretty quickly as we get ready for 2017 season.

In fact, per consensus rankings from our friends over at FantasyPros, Davis is the 25th outfielder off the board and going 65th overall. That's good for a mid-sixth-round round pick in a standard 12-team mixed league.

But is Davis, who plays half his games in a very spacious park, worth the price? Was last year for real or a mirage?

Let's dig in and find out.

Khris Davis Is a Bad Man

Davis ripped the cover off the ball a year ago, and he almost did it in reality off of Justin Verlander in late-April. This blast was indicative of Davis's season as he mashed 42 homers. This mammoth shot was estimated at 449 feet.

Last year was by far the best season of Davis' career. Long known for his insane power, Davis posted career highs in jacks, runs scored and runs batted in. In Davis' third full season, he also posted his best ISO at .277. He has yet to post an ISO under .214 in any season, and he put up a mind-boggling mark of .316 in his 153 plate appearances in 2013 in a cup of coffee with the Milwaukee Brewers.

The dude has some serious pop.

All of this production came as Davis was a late-round fantasy pick in many 2016 drafts. Using draft data from NFCB in 2016 drafts, Davis went 165th, or at the back end of the 14th round. Not a bad pick for the man with the third-most homers in the league.

To Infinity and Beyond

While those gaudy numbers are great, they won't help us at all in fantasy baseball in 2017. The goal is to pay for what a player will do, not what they've done.

There are four other outfielders who fit a similar mold to Davis -- power guys who don't contribute in a ton of other areas while posting middling on-base percentages (OBP). Using Steamer projections from FanGraphs, let's see how Davis stacks up to those similar folks who are also ranked inside the top 25 outfielders.

NameOF RankRunsHome RunsRBI'sOBP
J.D. Martinez11782683.337
Justin Upton19782784.338
Matt Kemp23672483.320
Khris Davis25743089.313
Mark Trumbo27713088.314

The biggest takeaway is that Davis still appears to be undervalued. He's projected to lead this group in home runs and runs batted in, but he is a step back from the rest in OBP.

In fact, let's compare Davis to J.D. Martinez in head-to-head fashion. Martinez is the 11th outfielder off the board and currently ranked 35th overall. While Martinez has a slim lead in projected runs scored, Davis edges him in home runs and RBI's while Martinez has a healthy cushion in OBP. All in all, their production isn't too dissimilar, and Davis is going two full rounds later.

The only member of this group who provides some measure of speed is Justin Upton, and that shouldn't be ignored. Upton's seasons of 20-plus swipes seem to be a thing of the past, but he will chip in a handful of steals, and that does provide some additional value Davis -- and these other sluggers -- probably can't provide.


If you jumped on the Davis train last year, you were wildly rewarded with some impressive numbers in a career season. Despite a home park which severely depresses home runs, Davis bashed 42 of them last season.

When comparing Davis to his peers for 2017, he's being drafted after some similar types of performers while being projected for nearly the same production. And his ceiling to his projection may be the best of the group -- only Mark Trumbo can boast a season of 40-plus homers, which he just put up in hitter-friendly Camden Yards in 2016, and he's currently a free agent.

Davis had an impressive season while maintaining a batted-ball profile that was nearly identical to the previous season -- his fly ball rate was almost the exact same (40.3% in 2015 versus 40.2% in 2016), and the only noticeable change was an increase in hitting the ball harder as his hard-hit rate went up 4.3%.

While his home park is certainly a concern, nothing from his 2016 season hints at future regression, Not only is Davis worth a sixth-round pick, but he may present even a little bit of value at that cost.