Batter’s Box: Khris Almighty

Jonathan Metzelaar recaps yesterday's notable offensive performances, including big games from Khris Davis, Mookie Betts, and Brandon Belt.

Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire

On the first day, God created a slugger. And he called the slugger “Chris Davis.” And he saw that it was bad, and he said, “Hm, let me try that one more time.” So on the second day he created another slugger. And he called this slugger “Khris Davis.” And he saw that it was good, and he said, “Okay, let’s forget I did that last one, I think I’m getting the hang of this now.”

That, friends, is the story of how the one true Khris Davis was born. Okay, so maybe Davis isn’t some kind of divine being, but he certainly looked that way last night when he went 4-4, 3 R, HR, 2 RBI. The performance gave him 13 homers on the season, and tied him for the second-most RBI in baseball with 38. Four of those homers have come over the past week, during which time he’s hitting .321, and it’s looking like another vintage Khris Davis season to this point. His 46.8% hard contact rate would be a career-high, yet his 22% HR/FB is below his career average. His 17 degree launch angle and 11% value hit rate tell me he could very well set a new career-high in homers this year, and once his career-low .243 BABIP starts ticking upward his .233 batting average should rise from the dead as well.

Mookie Betts (OF, Boston Red Sox): 3-4, 2 R, BB, 3 SB – It was just another incredible night for Mookie Betts, though on his third stolen base attempt he collided with the second baseman and his face fell off, revealing that he’s actually a baseball-playing android that’s engineered to dominate all facets of the game. Betts is hitting .403 over the past two weeks with five homers and eight steals. He’s batting an insane .364 this year, and is on pace for a 50/40 season. Get these androids out of our game!

Matt Chapman (3B, Oakland Athletics): 3-4, 2 R, HR, 2B, 2 RBI, BB – Speaking of robots, Chappie had himself a big game yesterday, and he needed it. After getting off to a torrid start this season, Chapman has hit just .196 in May while striking out over 33% of the time.

Matt Kemp (OF, Los Angeles Dodgers): 3-4, 2 2B, RBI Matt Kemp says he’s in the best shape of his life, but personally I thought pear was his best shape. Kemp has slowed down over the past week, hitting just .208, but his average is still at .318 on the year thanks to a career-high 47% hard contact rate, career-high 27% line drive rate, and .383 BABIP

Justin Turner (3B, Los Angeles Dodgers): 3-4, R, 2 2B, 5 RBI – In his third game back from a lengthy disabled list stint, Justin Turner reminded the Marlins that they are bad and they should feel bad. He’s back, he’s good, etc.

Yasiel Puig (OF, Los Angeles Dodgers): 2-3, 2 R, HR, RBI, 2 BB – Puig has now homered in three of his last four games and seems to be finding the groove that eluded him early in the year prior to his disabled list stint. Puig has been making more contact and spraying the ball to all fields more this year, but has just a .250 BABIP to show for it, and should turn it around soon.

Brandon Belt (1B, San Francisco Giants): 1-3, R, HR, 2 RBI – Belt has now homered in four straight games, and is hitting .375 over the past week. He’s up to 10 homers on the year, and I want to say this is the big season we’ve been waiting for from Belt, but it was recently revealed that he’s been battling some knee issues, and I’m starting to get deja vu all over again.

Xander Bogaerts (SS, Boston Red Sox): 2-4, R, HR, 3 RBI – That’s back-to-back games where Bogaerts has homered now, and he’s been crushing the ball to Casablanca lately. That’s a reference my grandpappy would appreciate. Half his six homers have come over the past week, and based on his lowerred 40% groundball rate there may be more to come this year.

Johnny Field (OF, Tampa Bay Rays): 3-4, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI – Another excellent addition to the baseball-name team, along with Homer Bailey and Catcher McSlap. Okay, I made that last one up. It was a great day at the plate for Field, who flashed mid-teens power and speed in the minors last year, though may struggle to find full-time at-bats with the Rays this season.

Matt Olson (1B, Oakland Athletics): 1-4, R, HR, 3 RBI, BB – The great Dave Cherman and I discussed Olson on the most recent On the Barrel podcast, and mentioned that we weren’t big fans. I imagine him listening to the episode at home while crying and whispering to himself, “I’ll show them… I’ll show them. He’s now homered in three of his last four games, though he’s hitting just .192 over the past two weeks and I think will continue to be a batting average liability. A poor man’s Khris Davis, if you will.

C.J. Cron (1B, Tampa Bay Rays): 2-5, 2 R, HR, RBI, SB C.J. Cron has been beating the baseball with his big wooden club like it’s a triceratops lately. I don’t know if that’s what cavemen actually used to do, I just couldn’t resist another reference to how much Cron looks like an early man. Cron has now homered in three straight games, giving him 11 on the year. Over the past month he’s batting .331 with 10 homers. His 11% whiff rate and 76% contact rate are roughly average, so don’t expect this to last forever, but enjoy the ride for now.

Ian Desmond (1B, Colorado Rockies): 0-4, R, BB  – I have a confession to make. For the past two years, I’ve been impersonating Ian Desmond. I know, I know. It all makes sense now. The lack of power, the inability to make any contact whatsoever, the masculine jawline and chiseled physique. I’m sorry I haven’t been able to fill the real Desmond’s footsteps, but he needed to skip town. Forever. And he’s not coming back. Desmond is now hitting .167 on the year and, yeah. If you’re still holding on, bless your heart.

J.D. Martinez (OF, Boston Red Sox): 1-3, R, HR, 2 RBI – I’m starting to think the “J.D.” stands for “Just Dongs.” That’s four homers in his last five games, giving him 13 on the season and tying him for second-most RBI in baseball with Khris Almighty.

Jonathan Metzelaar

Jonathan Metzelaar is a writer, content manager, and podcaster with Pitcher List. He enjoys long walks on the beach, quiet dinners by candlelight, and essentially any other activity that will distract him from the perpetual torture of being a New York Mets fan. He's written for Fangraphs Community Research and created Youtube videos about fantasy baseball under the moniker "Jonny Baseball."

20 responses to “Batter’s Box: Khris Almighty”

  1. Southern Marylander says:

    Do you think Austin Meadows will have as rough of a start as Dustin Fowler? They strike me as similar players with good contact (if not spectacular), okay patience, okay power, and very good speed.

    Also, I’m back on the Duvall train in my OF, having added him to my Acuna, Fowler, Franmil, Hanson (DL), Williamson (DL) mix. Save me from myself.

    • Jonathan Metzelaar says:

      The tools are definitely there for Meadows, he’s just struggled with so many injuries and so much inconsistency that it’s hard to pin down what he is. I think his ceiling is higher than Fowler, but I don’t see how he gets in the lineup once Marte is back.

      I gotta say, I kinda dig that outfield. If it’s bad it’s gonna be realllllly bad, but if a few things break right it could be a ton of fun to own those guys.

  2. Ionescorhino says:

    Need a Marte replacement (Util)— Josh Bell, Austin Meadows, Kemp, Smoak, Hosmer, Dahl, Conforto, or Franchy Cordero? 12-team redraft OPS

    • Jonathan Metzelaar says:

      I’d go Smoak there. Franchy is a solid option too if you want to replace some of the speed you’re losing with marte.

    • Matty B says:

      Wow, what league is this? I want in. Smoak is a top 100 hitter, and the more I’ve been looking at it lately, he’s a potential top 8 finish for First Basemen.

  3. Jack says:

    the eternal question: drop Olson for Josh Bell? last couple weeks say yes. but, overall baseball cards say flip a coin.

    • Jonathan Metzelaar says:

      I think I’d hold Olson, unless I really couldn’t stomach the batting average. I think the 26 HR from Bell last year were an aberration, and that he’s more of a 20 HR guy over a full season.

  4. Launch Angle says:

    Was offered Betts for Trout straight up. Would you take that deal? So far, I’ve got all “no” answers.

    • Jonathan Metzelaar says:

      I still think the Betts side would have to include another piece to make that work. Betts has been unreal but literally NOBODY has done what he’s doing for an entire season.

  5. Launch Angle says:

    Andrus worth a DL stash? What would you expect from him if he returns 6/15 ROS? I currently have Semien and Bregman for my SS’s.

    • Jonathan Metzelaar says:

      Yeah, I’d stash him. Not sure how to project the power since it’s an elbow injury, but maybe something like 8 HR/15 SB with a good average from 6/15 onward.

  6. Tom says:

    ” I’m starting to think the “J.D.” stands for ‘Just Dongs.'” Do you also write for Razzball or do you borrow? Grey’s been using that one for awhile. …Cust Kayin’.

    • Jonathan Metzelaar says:

      I know this is crazy, and something I should be deeply ashamed of, because by all accounts they’re amazing, but I don’t read Razzball and had no idea. I hereby renounce ownership of “Just Dongs” and concede all intellectual property rights to Razzball!

  7. Play Ball says:

    I wanted to revisit your opinion that you would take Mazara over Eddie Rosario for the power and AVG upside. I mentioned that Mazara puts the ball on the ground 54.7% of the time compared to 34.7% for Rosario and Mazara’s HR/FB rate is a high 35.7% compared to 16.1% for Rosario. Looking at MLB.com Mazara’s launch angle is a paltry 5.6% compared to a high 23.15% for Rosario. With that low of a launch angle and unsustainable HR/FB % why do you think Mazara has the higher power upside ROS?

    • Play Ball says:

      Also, the Rangers lineup isn’t as good compared to the Twins for R/RBI producing ops.

    • Jonathan Metzelaar says:

      Hey, you might be right about Rosario. I think what it boils down to for me is, Rosario seems to be absolutely maxing out his power potential right now by pulling the ball in the air so much (about 52% pull and 46% flyball). It’s worked for him so far, but I think that either A) he continues down this path and hits 30 home runs but his batting average comes crashing way down, or B) he reverts back to spraying line drives more to all fields and maintains a higher average at the expense of a lot of those homers.

      Flyballs are the worst kind of batted ball if you don’t have the power to make them leave the yard on a consistent basis, and Rosario’s hard contact rates have been average-to-below average until this season. Maybe he keeps up this 37% hard contact rate, but I think in all likelihood it settles closer to his career norms. Add this to the fact that he has terrible plate discipline (41% O-Swing) and whiffs more than average, and I just feel like there’s a lot more volatility there.

      Meanwhile, with Mazara, I just don’t see that 54.7% groundball rate sticking. Part of that’s because of his pedigree, part of that’s because he’s never been a groundball hitter to that extreme, and part of that’s because I feel like I can invest more in skills growth for a guy who just turned 23 than I can for a guy who’s 26. I also put a lot of weight in plate approach, because being able to work counts and wait for your pitch is something that gives you a serious edge as a hitter, and I think Mazara is the more advanced player in that regard.

      Like I said though, you could be (and probably are) right. The stats to this point are definitely on your side, I just see a positive correction coming for Mazara and a negative correction coming for Rosario. That’s a bit of a cop-out, but sometimes you gotta go with your gut.

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