A’s Khris Davis: Should Owners Chase his Power in 2017?

Khris Davis ranked as one of the best power hitters in baseball last season, and fantasy owners loved every second of it. But, can fantasy owners trust the A’s slugger next season?

One of the best parts of the fantasy baseball season is uncovering breakouts or hidden gems that prove to fantasy difference makers. Khris Davis built a name for himself with the Brewers for his pop, but he took thing to the next stratosphere last season blasting 42 HR with the A’s. Can he get anywhere close to that in 2017?

Khris Davis was a man possessed last season posting a, .247/42 HR/102 RBI/.831 OPS line. It scary to think what damage he could have done if not for a slow start in April, .221/3 HR/9 RBI, because he was a run producing machine for the rest of the season. He would go on to have at least 5 HR/15 RBI per month the rest of the season. He had a May for the ages too, mashing 11 HR and 26 RBI over 27 games.

Davis is no stranger to being a power threat, he had 60 HR in just three seasons for the Brewers, while also notching 162 total RBI. He is never going to be a great AVG guy, but the raw power is just undeniable. The 42 bombs were a 15 HR uptick from 2015, so clearly fantasy owners have to dig into the batted ball data to see what changed.

The scary part is, his batted ball data was nearly identical to his 2015 outputs.

In 2015: 17% LD, 42% GB, 40% FB, 47% Med contact, and a 35% Hard contact rate.

In 2016: 17% LD, 43% GB, 40% FB, 46% Med contact, and a 39% Hard contact rate.

It is incredible to see a guy breakout, play his home games in a much worse hitters ballpark, keep his batted ball profile nearly identical, yet have a career season. So, what gives?

The ESPN Home Run Tracker keeps track of just about every measurement of a HR that is humanly possible. Davis amazingly averaged a 406 ft. per HR, only a 5 foot dip from 2015. So with that small of a dip, the added15 more HR, Davis’ raw power is unreal.

Now the only outlier in any of his peripheral stats, is that the tracker noted that 16 of Davis’s HR had what are considered”just enough”  distance, meaning the ball only cleared the wall by less than 10 ft. Now, that does not mean that Davis went off this year is because he got a little luckier. It simply leads owners to expect some kind of middle ground or semi-regression.

Davis shapes up to be a fantasy OF2 or 0F3 next season. He still has the home ballpark working against him, and the current A’s lineup simply looks terrible for his counting stats, but he should still provide plenty of standalone value.  His AVG will over around.250, but 30-40 HR are certainly in range. You will see more teams walking him as well, so the OBP should see an uptick. His RBI total will hover in the 80-90 range unless the A’s bring in more offensive firepower.

Khris Davis will make a alot of bust lists, but astute fantasy owners will recognize that his breakout has been a long time coming. It is ridiculous to expect 42 HR/100+ RBI, but he will be one of the few true power options on draft day. Do not be afraid to draft him.

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