The Baltimore Orioles‘ first baseman, Chris Davis, is currently on the 15-day DL with an oblique injury and the general expectation around the Orioles is that their power-hitting first baseman won’t be ready to return when he’s eligible to come off the DL.
Chris Davis is coming off a year where he led the MLB in home runs (53) and RBIs (138). Davis was the heart and soul of the Orioles’ offense. So now, with his injury, how is it that the Orioles’ offense will be fine without him?
Well, for starters, the 2014 Chris Davis is not the 2013 Chris Davis. He just wasn’t off to a very good start. In 22 games, Davis is hitting .250/.372/.382 with only two home runs and 13 RBIs.
Davis’ injury will also allow the Orioles’ organizational depth a chance to prove that it’s much improved from the dreary days of Baltimore baseball throughout most of the 2000s.
Steve Pearce will likely get the majority of Davis’ playing time for the time being; Pearce, historically, is a very streaky hitter and if he gets hot, he could put up some outstanding numbers in limited time. In Spring Training back in 2013, Pearce got hot, blasting seven home runs and driving in 18 runs while hitting .340 to hit his way onto the team. While he never really reproduced those stats during the regular season, he was battling injuries and struggled to find consistent playing time. Now, with consistent playing time on the horizon, he could make an impact.
Luckily for the Orioles, Pearce looks like he could get on a similar hot streak. In his first game as Davis’ replacement, he went 3-for-4 with two RBIs. While that’s an extremely small sample size, it only takes one good game to give Pearce the confidence he needs to get hot.
Manny Machado’s return will also play a role in softening the blow of losing Davis to injury. All season long, Baltimore has been without their young double-hitting phenom batting second. Machado’s return will allow Nelson Cruz to slide into Davis’ usual No. 4 spot in the lineup, which will help create a much more balanced lineup.
The Orioles’ offense will be a lot better when Chris Davis returns to the active roster — there’s no doubt about that — but until then, they’ll be fine. In part because Davis really hasn’t helped all that much this season, but mostly due to Machado’s return and the overall depth of the Orioles’ organization.