After he had a monster season in 2013, what should O's fans reasonably expect from Chris Davis next season?
Davis led the majors in homers, RBIs and extra-base hits. He had nine more homers and 21 more EBHs than anyone else in the game. Davis became the third player in MLB history to hit at least 50 home runs and 40 doubles in a season, joining Babe Ruth and Albert Belle. He set O's clubs records for homers and EBHs as he batted .286 with 42 doubles, 53 homers, 138 RBIs and a 1.004 OPS.
Can we expect him to do that again? Well, that certainly would be asking a lot. If there is some falloff, how much can be expected?
The psychology of being Davis is another issue. By that I mean, how much pressure can he handle? Last June, as Davis was the talk of baseball, he provided an interesting quote. Davis said he didn't feel as much pressure during 2013 to keep up that great year as he had the previous season.
"I was talking to my wife about what last year (2012) meant for me to play a full season," he said then. "I felt it was more stressful for me then because I knew it might be my last shot to prove I can be an everyday player. So when I did struggle, it was like, 'Man, I need to get out of this now.' But now I can just play the game and have fun and really let my talent take over. I haven't been thinking about what ifs, just really enjoying it. The biggest thing between here and Texas was I never really got the chance to play a full season."
Beyond getting the chance to play everyday in Baltimore, the Orioles clubhouse seems like a great fit for Davis. He is very comfortable with his teammates and he likes the city as well. His comfort level is strong here and that doesn't hurt him in terms of the stat sheet.
But will any of that change after his huge 2013? Will he get pitched like Barry Bonds from day one next season?
The key to Davis having another big year may well be the players around him. If they hold up their end of the bargain and he has to be one key piece, but is far from the only piece, the chances for Davis to have another monster year probably go up.
Davis hit .315, slugged .717 and had an OPS of 1.109 before the All-Star break last season. After the break those numbers were .245/.515/.854. But Davis still had an OPS over 1.000 for four of the season's six months. Even the great Miguel Cabrera did that in only four months as well.
We can probably expect Davis to have another strong season for the Orioles, but just how good it is may depend on others in the lineup as well.