A monumental discussion coming into the 2020 offseason, as it has been for the last couple years, is Chris Davis.
Will he retire? Will he ever regain his 2012-15 success? Will he ever surpass a .200 batting average again? As spring training has started, we know the answer to one of these three questions. He isn’t retiring, or not yet at least
As for the other questions, Davis took an unexpected step in answering them. During this offseason, Davis hit the weight room, gaining 25 pounds of muscle. More so than just gaining the extra strength, the muscle gain translates to a rise in confidence.
At the end of last season, Davis weighed 212 pounds, which is tiny for him. Was it a problem of being able to hit the ball far? No. Was it a problem of the confidence in the ability to do so? Absolutely.
In an article posted by Roch Kubatko on MASNsports.com, Davis was quoted saying, “I felt like I was just too cautious, and that’s just not who I am. That’s not the way I play the game. That’s not the way I felt like I’m supposed to play the game. And this year, that was a point of emphasis coming in. Let it fly.”
This shows really well the head space Davis was playing in and how it translated to not being able to produce the way he’s meant to.
Even before the extra 25 pounds of muscle, it’s no question Davis is as strong as anyone reading this. Building a gym in his garage this offseason allowed him to workout the way he wanted to and build that extra strength, which leads to confidence on his own accord.
Although a small sample size, the beginning of spring training has shown improvement. Davis historically does well in spring, then seems to disappear by April. However, this first week of spring has shown Davis with his extra muscle being able to relax himself at the plate, evidence of a higher confidence and mental being than we’ve seen in recent years.
In his first four games, Chris Davis is 4-for-5 with two walks, two home runs and three RBI. The extra strength came in handy in the game against the Rays, when Davis launched a two-strike pitch to deep left field for a powerful opposite field home run. The approach brought to the plate by Davis in that two-strike situation is something we haven’t seen from him in years.
As spring training lasts for another 25 days, it will be interesting to see how Davis will work to continue his early success. From what we have seen thus far, it would be a dream come true to see that success carry over to the season opener at home against the New York Yankees.
What are your thoughts on Chris Davis’ start to spring training, following a gruesome offseason? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!