How the Khris Davis Trade Affects the Athletics, Brewers, and Fantasy Value
Oh no, those tanking Milwaukee Brewers are at it again.
Oakland has acquired power hitting outfielder Khris Davis from the Brewers, sending catching prospect Jacob Nottingham and pitcher Bubba Derby to Milwaukee. The deal works out for both sides.
The A's get a right-handed hitter with some pop in the deal. While he doesn't do much in terms of batting average -- just .247 last year and a career .250 in 1142 plate appearances -- Davis is a good source of power from the right side of the plate, mashing 27 homers in just 440 plate appearances last season. Projected over a 550 plate appearances season, he would have had 33 dingers.
Davis hit 22 bombs in his first full season as a regular, totaling 549 plate appearances in 2014, so the power is there. He had a good walk rate late season of 10.0%, enabling him to put up a respectable .323 on-base percentage (OBP), and he slugged .505.
Among NL players with at least 400 looks at the plate last season, here is where Davis ranked in a number of categories.
The .258 isolated power (ISO) is particularly impressive, a measurement of slugging percentage minus batting average, designed to show how many extra base hits Davis hit last year. Only three players had a better ISO in the NL in '15: Bryce Harper, Nolan Arenado and Carlos Gonzalez.
There is no doubt he is one of the most underrated power hitters in the game.
Fewest AB per HR- NL in 2015
Bryce Harper 12.4
Carlos Gonzalez 13.9
Khris Davis 14.5 (traded to Athletics)
>> Minimum 350 AB
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 13, 2016
last three years, hard-hit rate on non-grounders:
Khris Davis, 51%
Chris Davis, 51%
— Jeff Sullivan (@based_ball) February 13, 2016
In other words, when Davis gets the ball in the air, it's usually hit hard and it usually travels over the fence. His home run per fly ball rate (HR/FB) of 24.5% was fourth-best in the NL last season (only Pedro Alvarez, Harper and Gonzalez had a higher rate).
However, Davis' power numbers could take a hit in 2016. He is moving from the best ballpark for power in baseball to one of the worst.
Last season, Miller Park in Milwaukee was ranked first in ESPN's Park Factors in terms of homers per game (1.432 HR/game). Now Davis will play 82 home games in Oakland's O.co Coliseum, which ranked 27th in terms of homers per game (0.777). Oakland is also known for its spacious foul territory, which undoubtedly costs batters outs during the course of a season.
It's a definite concern for a player whose value is largely dependent on his power, and could affect his fantasy value a bit.
In addition, his defensive metrics show Davis is a below average player in the field, which held down his fWAR last season at 1.3.
But this deal is a worthwhile gamble for the A's. Davis is still a year away from arbitration and cannot become a free agent until after the 2020 season. It also allows Oakland to move Coco Crisp to center field, with Davis joining him and Josh Reddick to form a solid outfield trio, when healthy.
As for Milwaukee, they get a catching prospect that performed well at the plate in High-A minor league ball last season, but is still a year or two away from playing Major League ball. And while the Brewers are said to be listening to offers for their incumbent catcher, Jonathan Lucroy, it's unlikely this deal is hastening Lucroy's departure any faster.
But Nottingham is insurance for the day when the Brewers do unload their former All-Star backstop.
For the rebuilding Brewers and the A's, the deal makes a lot of sense. Milwaukee got younger and the A's got a productive player who doesn't cost much. Steamer projects Davis to hit .245/.313/.446 with 23 homers, a wRC+ of 110 and an fWAR of 1.3.
He's not a player that makes Oakland contenders in the AL West, but he does make them better.