17 August 2016

Afternoon Cup o' jO's: Chris Davis' First Plate Appearance

Chris Davis does not have to do all that much at the moment to live up to his contract.  He is being paid about 17 MM this year (let us ignore the deferred payments), which comes to an expected performance of about two and a half wins above replacement (WAR).  When he signed, the greater concern was about how much he would produce on the backend of the deal.  With six weeks to go, Davis sits at a 2.1 fWAR and a 2.2 bWAR.  He should just barely tread water, contract-wise.  Although, certainly expectations were greater given that his WAR was above five last year.

Davis' peripherals largely look the same and where things deviate from his 2015 and 2013 performances, they also do not match his struggles in 2014.  It is difficult to find a theme, except for his performance per trip up to the plate against the starting pitcher.

1st PA, SP
2nd PA, SP

There is a peculiar pattern where in 2014 and 2016, he has experienced particular trouble his first time to the plate.  As many of you know, there is a general rule that with each time a batter sees a pitcher during a game that his performance improves.  This particularly seems true for the third time the batter faces the pitcher.  However, that increase for the American League is 741, 753, and 798.  Those 2014 and 2016 seasons seem to really jump out.

Another general thought is that designated hitters and pinch hitters suffer a penalty from sitting on the bench.  This has been proven across populations, but there do seem to be some hitters who defy this penalty.  It makes me wonder if Davis may be experiencing something similar at the front end of a game.  Some think him not getting an allowance to take his prescription for some form of attention deficit disorder may have contributed to his poor 2014 season.  If so, on a limb, maybe his disposition is one where he has trouble locking into a game situation similar to most designated hitters and pinch hitters.  Maybe he needs a couple innings to focus.

It might be that with this disposition, he might be susceptible to lacking confidance in that first at bat due to his overall struggles this year.  Maybe things are snowballing.  I have no clue.  Hopefully, things right themselves and he begins to snowball in the right direction for the club's fortunes.

1 comment:

Roger said...

I wonder if this difference also applies to the field. If Davis' concentration is at a deficit because of ADD then it would affect both offense and defense whereas a DH only has to deal with the batting issue. Also, if this were true it might make more sense to play Davis at DH and Trumbo at 1B on lefty days. If we can't eliminate the "DH deficit" because of ADD, maybe we can eliminate Trumbo's DH deficit.