Finding valuable players in the later rounds of drafts is crucial. I analyze the previous year to find potentially undervalued players statistically each year. Generating that list is less about scouting and more about a player’s production during limited time last year. The method isn’t foolproof but historically two-thirds of those on my list end up outperforming expectations. This year, there are potentially six hitters who make the cut and I’ll be analyzing one of them, Khris Davis (OF, MIL), today to see why he may or may not be a deep fantasy sleeper this year.
Why He’s Here
Khris Davis was drafted by the Brewers in the seventh round and opened eyes in his first minor league season where he hit .278 with 22 HR and 17 SB. After getting to promoted to Double-A, he struggled a bit but found his groove in 2012 when he hit .329 throughout the year including some time in Triple-A. Davis swung a hot bat in Spring Training in 2013 and broke camp with the team but struggled in limited time throughout April. He was demoted back to Triple-A where he hit 13 HR over about a half a season. He got another shot at the majors in July and made the most of the opportunity. Over the second half of the season, he crushed 11 homers and earned the trust of the Brewers who made some moves this offseason that open the door for Davis to be their starting LF in 2014.
|Age||’14 ADP||’13 AB||’13 AVG||’13 xAVG||’13 HR||’13 SB||’13 R||’13 RBI|
Why He Might Fail
Davis was never a touted prospect in the Brewers organization. Despite some success early on, you never found him on any organizational prospect lists. It’s hard to say exactly what the scouts didn’t like about Davis exactly but his defense is certainly a concern and that may hinder his chances of staying with the major league team if he does struggle offensively at any time.
Despite the fact that he maintained a decent AVG in the minors and majors, there has to be concern about his strikeouts and ability to make contact. Davis swings for the fences and that may end up affecting his ability to maintain a decent AVG in the year ahead.
Though Davis hit 11 HR in limited time last season, his HR/FB rate was astronomical at 29% which may be a good sign or a sign that he was a bit lucky. For reference, the other Chris Davis also had a 29% HR/FB rate and we know he was arguably the best slugger in the game last year.
Speaking of limited time, we only had Davis up in the majors for a cup of coffee last year so small sample size is a legitimate concern. We may need more evidence before we crown him as a hot commodity this year.
Why He Might Come Through
He had a respectable AVG last year but the stats show that it could have been even better given his .307 xAVG. Davis hit .288 in his minor league career so there’s certainly evidence to show that he can hit for a high AVG. We can expect this to continue and likely improve from last year.
Yes, it was a small sample size last year but Davis has always shown great power. He hit six HR’s in Spring Training last year and averaged 24 HR per 600 PA in the minors. He may not continue at the pace he did last year (which likely would have put him over 40 HR’s in a season) but expecting 20-30 HR from Davis is a real possibility. Also, for leagues where walks matter, Davis has also shown decent plate discipline with a 13% walk rate in his minor league career.
While he may not steal 20 or 30 bases in a year, Davis has also shown some speed in the minors where he stole 41 bases. The fact that he could get you 10 SB’s in addition to his power and AVG is just icing on the cake.
Early projections from Oliver and Steamer show him as about a 25 HR, 10 SB hitter with a low AVG at .255. I feel those projections may be about right but I do foresee him being able to maintain a higher AVG than that.
I think the pros outweigh the cons when it comes to Khris Davis. As of right now, I don’t even see him on early ADP results so his price tag may be quite low. If he ends up being a late round pick in 2014, I’d highly recommend taking a flier on him. If all goes well, it could be a .290/25/10 season for him.