Once an Outsider, Chris Davis now Crushing Outside Pitches
Chris Davis crushed his 50th home run of the 2013 season in fitting fashion last night, depositing Steve Delabar's 88 MPH fastball on the outside corner into the left-center field seats at the Rogers Centre. That shot, which moved Davis past Frank Robinson (1966) and into a tie with Brady Anderson (1996) for the most single-season homers in Orioles history, is a prime example of why the 27-year-old has emerged as the game's pre-eminent power hitter. Once an outsider in Texas, Davis is now teeing off on pitches thrown to the outside corner.
While Davis might look like your stereotypical pull-happy slugger, he's the only hitter to launch double-digit homers to right (20), center (17) and left (13) field in 2013. He has accomplished that feat thanks in large part to his performance against pitches thrown to the outer third of the strike zone. Davis has belted 10 more homers versus pitches thrown away than his next closest competitor, Pedro Alvarez.
MLB HR leaders vs. pitches thrown away in 2013
Davis is also in a class all his own when it comes to overall slugging percentage versus pitches thrown away. He's slugging nearly double the major league average on outer-third pitches and more than 220 points ahead of runner-up Freddie Freeman.
MLB slugging percentage leaders vs. pitches thrown away in 2013
Davis is on pace to finish the year with 55 home runs, which would rank 19th all-time on the single-season list among the likes of Hack Wilson, Mickey Mantle, Ralph Kiner and Babe Ruth. That's pretty good company for Baltimore's throwback, all-fields masher.