A Quick Thought on Chris Davis

Note: This is me bloviating on a non-Phillies topic. You may close your browser now.

Orioles first baseman Chris Davis hit his 31st home run of the year last night, putting himself in rarefied air through 83 games. The power surge has prompted many to seriously link Davis to former Oriole Brady Anderson, who after hitting between 12-21 home runs in the previous four years smacked 50 home runs in 1996. Others have been more explicit with their suspicions of Davis using performance-enhancing drugs. This happens every time a player unexpectedly puts himself on the map; Jose Bautista experienced the skepticism several years ago. Because players figuring it out simply never happens, right?

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Jimmy Rollins Wasn’t Disappointed with Team’s Play in L.A.

After taking two of three in a hard-fought series against the Padres in San Diego, the Phillies wrapped up their West coast road trip by dropping three of four to the Dodgers. Despite winning one game by a 16-1 score, it was a frustrating series for the Phillies, who lost games in the clumsiest of ways. They are now 9.5 games out of first place in the NL East as we enter July, and the more the Phillies play mediocre baseball, the more likely it is they will emerge as sellers after the All-Star break.

Shortstop Jimmy Rollins, though, wasn’t disappointed by his team’s play in Los Angeles. Via Jim Salisbury:

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Cliff Lee On Pace for Historic Season

On Saturday at the Sweet Spot blog, Christina Kahrl noted that lefties Clayton Kershaw and Cliff Lee are both on pace for historically-great seasons, going by Baseball Reference’s version of Wins Above Replacement:

3. Just one pitcher in 10 years has produced a season worth 9.0 WAR or better

And that would be Zack Greinke for the Royals in his Cy Young season of 2009. But this season two pitchers might challenge that mark: Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers (4.5 WAR) and Cliff Lee of the Phillies (4.6 WAR and counting).

For pitchers, piling up big stacks of value from on-field performance is tough, especially in today’s workload-conscious era as teams mitigate risk. But even allowing for that, while there have been 182 pitching seasons worth 9.0 WAR or more, just 30 of those seasons have come since divisional play started in 1969. Or about one every three years in each league, only it’s happening even less frequently these days.

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