Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Oriole #903- Chris Davis

"Crush Davis" became the 903rd player to appear in a game for the Orioles when he started at first base against the Yankees on Sunday. The Orioles had just acquired him and Tommy Hunter from the Rangers in exchange for Koji Uehara on Saturday, so it didn't take him long to crack the lineup. It seems that Chris will be the O's regular first baseman for the rest of the season since the team traded their former starting 1B, Derrek Lee, to the Pirates.

I just happened to have an autograph of both Davis and Hunter in my collection prior to the trade. Technically, this autograph was in Kalina's collection, but I stole borrowed it now that Chris is an Oriole. She's been a fan of Chris's ever since he tossed her a ball during Rangers' batting practice prior to a game in Baltimore back in 2009. He was putting on quite a show; fielding ground balls while simultaneously dancing to whatever song was playing on the ballpark's sound system. It was pretty amusing to watch. Chris didn't sign that day, so I made a trade for this card on Sportscollectors.net. I hope to get an in-person autograph of his at some point during his tenure with the team. (I'll show the Hunter autograph and tell the story about his autograph when/if he makes his O's debut.)

Chris is an intriguing player with some significant upside but has also had issues at the Major League level. In 886 big league at-bats, he has hit 42 home run (1 in every 21 ABs) but has also struck out 303 times (about 34% of the time). In 2009, he struck out 100 times in his first 219 at-bats, becoming the fastest player in MLB history to reach that dubious number. He and Mark Reynolds both seem to be in the all-or-nothing school of hacking, and I'm hoping for a lot of 'all' and not so much 'nothing'.

Davis has spent parts of the past four seasons with the Rangers, getting more extended looks in 2008 & '09 than in the past two years. He has destroyed AAA pitching every time he has been sent down, so needs to find some success in the Majors to avoid being labeled a AAAA type of player. I certainly hope that the fresh start will do him good and that he can become the O's power-hitting first baseman of the future.

Chris went 0-4, with a strikeout in his O's debut on Sunday. Now let's see that first Orioles home run!

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