Khris Davis' 3-Homer Game Proves He's an Elite Power Hitter
Don't look now, but Oakland A's outfielder Khris Davis has become one of the premier power hitters in the American League. And on Tuesday night, he helped the A's win in a dramatic comeback.
Look, Davis is never going to win a batting title, and he's not an on-base machine. He's a career .247 hitter with a .308 OBP, and in 152 plate appearances so far this season, he's hitting .228 with a .257 OBP. Clearly not great.
But the one thing Davis does is hit the ball out of the park, which he did 22 times in 2014 and 27 times last year. And after blasting three homers against the Texas Rangers Tuesday night, he now has 11 this year.
It was that last homer, a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the ninth, that was particularly dramatic.
3-homer night: ✔️#Walkoff slam: ✔️
Khris Davis tonight: 💯 pic.twitter.com/KEGL4yUgGq
— #VoteGreenCollar (@Athletics) May 18, 2016
Davis celebrated by honoring the NBA's conference championships as he approached home plate.
Khris Davis, with the deep three! pic.twitter.com/Mp34HLzGfV
— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) May 18, 2016
Davis' blast makes him the only player besides the Reds' Joey Votto to cap a three-homer night with a walk off grand slam, and his three dingers also makes him the home run leader for the month of May with 8. But it's been even longer than that where Davis has been among the game's power elite.
MLB Home Run Leaders since Aug. 6, 2015
30 Khris Davis
29 Nolan Arenado
29 Yoenis Cespedes
28 Chris Davis
— Mike Selleck (@MikeSelleck) May 18, 2016
Last night was Davis' first-ever three-homer game, his first-ever grand slam, and his first-ever walk-off home run. And that final blast capped off a crazy ninth inning in which fortunes swung wildly for both the Rangers and A's, according to FanGraphs.
Heading into the ninth, the A's held a 4-3 lead and had a 91.8% chance to win the game. As closer Ryan Madson retired the first two batters in the inning, those odds increased to 96.6%. But a Rougned Odor single and an Ian Desmond go-ahead homer swung fortunes wildly, dropping Oakland's win expectancy from 96.6% to 17.7%.
But then it was Oakland's turn. Stephen Vogt led off the ninth with an infield single, pushing Oakland's odds up to 31.7%. Coco Crisp doubled to right, boosting the A's chances of winning up 71.2%, thanks to having runners on second and third with no out.
They dropped to 52.8% after Billy Burns flied out. Josh Reddick was intentionally walked, setting up a force out at any base or a double play, actually dropping the odds a bit more to 52.5%. And things looked bleaker when Danny Valencia struck out, putting the A's win expectancy at just 26.2%.
That's when Davis did his thing.
The 28-year-old right-handed slugger will probably never be a complete player. He's not great defensively, and he has trouble making contact. But his 2.0% walk rate this season is impossibly low and far less than his career average of 7.0%. Given his recent power surge, he'll likely begin to see more walks, which will at least help his on-base percentage.
But power is in short supply around Major League Baseball, and Davis is one the least-talked about power sources in the game.
At least before Tuesday night's heroics.