Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Is Chris Davis this Bad?
I was stunned the other night when Chris Davis got a standing ovation from the Rangers crowd. He was batting .354 in triple-A, but where it matters he was batting .188 in 48 at bats with no homers and a .264 on base percentage. Yet, the fans at the ballpark craved for more Chris Davis? The positive side of this is the Rangers fans. Not many places in America would a liability to a team get a standing ovation upon his return to the team unless he had just overcome a major injury or a disease. What the fans did was nice, but this was the worst thing for the fragile confidence of Chris Davis.
Just to put into perspective how bad Chris Davis has been are his stats compared to the worst hitters in baseball, pitchers. Pitchers this year are batting .131 with an OBP of .162. So Davis would be an awesome hitting pitcher with a .186 batting average and a .266 OBP (before the Detroit series). Unfortunately 1st base is where Chris Davis has to be compared and this is scary bad because on average 1st basemen are batting .271 with a .356 OBP. Davis is closer to hitting like Cliff Lee rather than Derek Lee, and Derek Lee is having a bad year.
Back to the standing ovation and why it was bad. Chris Davis can’t handle the pressure of the big leagues. Plain and simple, you can’t bat consistently over .300 in the minors and sub .200 in the bigs. There is a difference from Triple-A to the Majors but not .150 BA point difference. Davis needs to feel nobody cares because he cares way too much. Example: When you look at a player at the free throw line in basketball in the closing seconds of the game and they show a close-up of his face, can’t you see it in his eyes whether he wants to shoot the free throws or not? It’s the only time in basketball you can’t pass up the shot and in baseball you can’t pass your bat to someone who wants the challenge of beating a major league pitcher. Its not that a player doesn’t want to win, it’s just the fear of failure that gets in the way of success. Davis’ problem isn’t talent or he would hit in the low .200’s in the minors. It’s his head and when he doesn’t get the job done it hurts him to the point of giving up. Not giving up and quitting the game but giving up in the sense of mentally believing you can’t do it or just hoping you do it, rather than feeling the pitcher got lucky and I’m getting that S.O.B. the next at bat. When you cheer Davis for no reason, he now not only lets down himself and his teammates but the 20+ thousand people at the game. Then he starts thinking about his friends and family watching, because being from Longview most of these people are watching all his games.
How do I know? Who are you Bacsik? Unfortunately I went through these same pains in 2003 and those demons in your head that make everything bigger than they are. You think about how you are letting down so many people. You start looking at other guys and hoping to find somebody as bad or worse than you to make you feel you’re not the only person who sucks this bad. I remember subconsciously being happy I got sent down in 2003. Don’t get me wrong, Davis wants to be in the Major Leagues, but he doesn’t want the pressure that comes with it.
Truly the best thing that could have happened to Chris was to get traded to Seattle in the Cliff Lee trade. He needs to get away from home and Longview is close enough to feel like home. The Rangers are in a pennant race and this doesn’t help Chris either. Think about last year and when Davis looked like he was turning the corner; it was after the Rangers had fallen out of a serious playoff race. His BA went up 20 points from Sept.24 to the end of the season, .218 to .238. This will sound a little harsh but he needs to stop caring so much about his friends, family, teammates, and fans. You play for yourself.
Think of the movie ‘”Up in the Air” with George Clooney. He tells his audience at a conference to leave that backpack behind with all that baggage. It’s too much for one person to carry. Davis has way too much luggage at the plate to be successful and the Rangers will likely have to carry him all the way to the playoffs. Also, I recently heard Davis say “I don’t care if I go 0-4 as long as we win the game.” It sounds good on the surface but Davis is telling me he is in “give-up mode” on himself. I will praise him for his great defense. He doesn’t take his at bats to the field. I just hope Chris Davis realizes his career is on the line the next two and a half months. The Rangers making the playoffs does not make him a great player.
Every organization in baseball knows Chris has the talent and more time in minors at this point won’t help. He has proven he is a great Triple-A player. Now every team is starting to believe he can’t handle the Major Leagues. I hope he turns it around. All indications are that he is a great person on and off the field and nobody wants to see him be more successful than the Rangers fans. His next at bat at home I just ask you lightly clap.