Every year we hear people say, ‘don’t let so and so participate in the Home Run Derby, it’ll mess up his swing!” As a fan, that’s not what you want to hear. Fans want to see MLB‘s top players and home run hitters in the derby. This year’s home run leader going into the break was Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis – so of course everyone wanted to see how many dingers he could hit in the annual skills competition. Davis, however, failed to impress in the derby and ever since, those people that said he shouldn’t participate are looking to be more and more right by the day.
Since the All-Star break, Davis has gone 6-30 without a home run. He has MLB’s longest active steak as well, with a strikeout in 19 consecutive games. You might say, Davis is struggling just a wee bit. However it’s fair to wonder if this is more about the rest of the league catching up with him, than it is about the derby.
In hindsight, it probably wasn’t a good idea for the left-handed hitting slugger to be in the derby, because obviously that 19-game streak started well before the mid-summer classic. Davis is a career .268 hitter who’s never hit 40 home runs until this season – so it won’t really be shocking he if falls off in the second half. It’s unlikely that he’ll tank, but keeping up his torrid home run pace will be extremely challenging.
Maybe the home run derby did mess up his swing ever so slightly, but regardless of what the cause is, Davis is not the same player right now. Baseball is a streaky game and he’ll probably pull out of it before too long, but I’m predicting we’ve already seen the best of Chris Davis in 2013.
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