Chris Davis: Fit at First Base for Colorado Rockies?


With Chris Davis set to become a free agent this offseason, should the Colorado Rockies pursue the first baseman for 2016 and beyond?

The Colorado Rockies explored numerous options at first base in 2015, using Justin Morneau, Ben Paulsen, and Wilin Rosario. None of the aforementioned players took the position over and ran with it, resulting in a committee approach at first base for the Rockies. Justin Morneau came off of a 2014 campaign that resulted in him leading the National League in batting average; however, injuries plagued the former MVP in 2015. Morneau played only 49 games in 2015; thus, the Rockies decided to let him go.

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Neither Ben Paulsen nor Wilin Rosario looked good at first base in 2015, and the Rockies even sent Rosario down to the minor leagues on multiple occasions. Rosario, a one-time catcher, struggled with his development behind the plate, forcing him to shift to first base. As an offense-first player, Rosario offers very little outside of his above-average bat. With Rosario’s continued struggles and Morneau’s injuries, Ben Paulsen assumed the near-everyday role at first base. Paulsen produced the most offensively out of the bunch.

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In Paulsen’s first full season with the Rockies, he played in 116 games, hitting 11 home runs, driving in 49 RBI, and owning a .277/.326/.462 slash line; however, the Rockies need more production out of an offensive-heavy position. Thus, the Rockies may want to hit the free agency market to fill their hole at first base. With Chris Davis as an option, the Colorado Rockies need to pursue his services for the team in 2016 and beyond.

Since becoming a regular for the Baltimore Orioles, Chris Davis registered 26 home runs or more in every season, with a career-high 53 home runs in 2013. Besides a down season in 2014, Chris Davis posted no lower than a .262 batting average. Chris Davis produced monster numbers in three of his four seasons with the Orioles, but his 2014 season brings doubt to some people’s minds. In 2014, Chris Davis hit 26 home runs with 72 RBI. Although those numbers are considered to be solid, his .196/.300/.404 slash line was horrendous. Also, Chris Davis strikes out a ton.

Since the 2012 season, Chris Davis’ strike out totals have consistently risen each season, going from 169 in 2012 to 208 in 2015. However, most power hitters strike out a good bit of the time, but the Rockies might find it troubling that Davis struck out over 200 times last season. But, if the Rockies want to rejuvenate their offense with another power bat, Chris Davis is their guy. Chris Davis comes off of an impressive 2015 campaign, leading the American League with 47 home runs. Also, he drove in 117 RBI while hitting .262.

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  • Despite Chris Davis’ high strike out totals, his walk rate increased every season since becoming a regular for the Orioles. He nearly doubled his walk rate from 2012 to 2015, increasing from 6.6 percent to 12.5 percent. The downside to Chris Davis is that he enters his age-30 season in 2016, and it is tough to predict how players perform after hitting the 30 year mark. Also, Chris Davis is due a large contract because of his impressive power, but the Rockies might hesitate offering big money to a soon-to-be 30 year old.

    However, signing Chris Davis is a worthwhile risk. If Davis suits up for the Colorado Rockies, he is almost a lock to lead the National League in home runs for years to come. Moreover, he provides protection in the lineup for Nolan Arenado now that Troy Tulowitzki is gone. With a lineup consisting of Chris Davis, Carlos Gonzalez, and Nolan Arenado (not to forget Charlie Blackmon and Corey Dickerson), the Rockies are a force to be reckoned with.

    Next: Colorado Rockies: Sign an Ace, Win the West?

    If the Rockies decided to sign Chris Davis and improve their pitching, a playoff-push is not out of the question. The National League West is open for the taking in 2016, and it is anyone’s division to win. Likely, Chris Davis seeks a 4-5 year deal for over $100M. The Rockies probably do not want to offer that type of money to a free agent, but Chris Davis can turn the Rockies into a contender. Look for the Rockies to shop the free agent market this offseason. Hopefully, they pursue an impact, power bat and some front-line pitching. Rockies’ fans are tired of mediocrity.