What does Baltimore Orioles slugger Chris Davis have in common with Brennan Boesch? Well, they are both tall, powerful left-handed hitters in their late 20s who were bitten by tough luck early on in their careers. The difference is that Davis eventually went on to become an All-Star player. Boesch has not — yet.
This spring, Boesch was attempting to crack the Los Angeles Angels‘ 25-man roster and was performing rather well, but he was demoted to triple-A this weekend when the Angels made their final round of roster cuts. He can now opt out of his minor league contract if he has a major league offer on the table. Hopefully, a MLB team does pick him up as the soon-to-be 29-year-old is certainly worthy of being a starting outfielder in the big leagues.
Boesch, like Davis did last year, has the ability to put up a monster season that will initially shock the baseball world. However, a closer look at his track record will reveal that the potential for him to do so was always there, and therefore it will not be so shocking to everyone.
Boesch showed many flashes of power during his three-year stint with the Detroit Tigers, as did Davis during his early days with the Texas Rangers. However, injuries have prevented Boesch from maximizing his full potential.
Boesch’s best year came during his sophomore campaign of 2011. He finished the first half of that season with a slash line of .306/.360/.490 with 12 home runs and 44 RBIs. However, his second half was marred by a thumb injury which eventually caused him to be shut down. Nevertheless, Boesch still ended the season batting .283 with 16 HRs. He would have easily eclipsed 20 long balls if he would have stayed healthy.
The following season was an uphill battle for Boesch. His problems most likely stemmed from not being fully recovered from his injury and putting too much pressure on himself to match the offensive output of his teammates Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder.
Down the stretch in 2012, Boesch began losing playing time to players such as Andy Dirks, Quintin Berry and later the young phenom Avisail Garcia. He was given his release from the Tigers the subsequent spring.
Boesch was then picked up by the New York Yankees, but later began experiencing trouble with his shoulder, and only played in 23 games before ultimately being given his release in July of 2013. However, in those 23 games, he had a solid slash line of .275/.302/.529 with three home runs and eight RBIs.
Boesch might be knocking on the door of 30 now, but the guy can still hit. Although others may have begun doubting his ability, it is imperative that he does not begin to doubt himself. If he keeps a good attitude and continues to show that he can perform, somebody is going to give him a chance one of these days. When that happens, we could very easily see the Davis story unfold in front of our eyes once again.
It is also important to note that when Davis joined the Orioles halfway through the 2011 season, he was a career .248 hitter with 42 home runs. Right now, Boesch has a lifetime .260 average with 45 home runs. Although Boesch may not hit 53 homers in a single season as Davis did last year, he could very easily have a few seasons with 25-30 home runs and 100 RBIs ahead of him.
Over the next few days, it will be interesting to see if Boesch gets another big-league opportunity. Although a reunion with Boesch would make sense for the Tigers, it appears that they are going to give the 23-year-old Tyler Collins a chance to show what he can do before making a move for another outfielder.
Hopefully, Boesch does not land with another AL Central team. The Tigers are already going to have to deal with another one of their former players in Garcia haunting them over the next several years while wearing a Chicago White Sox jersey, and Ryan Raburn, their former utility man, has really rejuvenated his career with the Cleveland Indians as well.