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Who Is Khris Davis? (Not an Ayn Rand Character)

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Khris Davis (R) is greeted at home plate after hitting a home run
Khris Davis (R) is greeted at home plate after hitting a home run

The Milwaukee Brewers have finalized their roster, announcing yesterday that outfielder/first baseman Khris Davis has made the team.

Who is Khris Davis?

Khris Davis is not a conventional prospect by any means; he's a lone hero type, fighting the system against all odds. Here is his background from the 2013 Baseball Prospect Book, followed by additional updated commentary.

Khris Davis, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
Bats: R Throws: R HT: 6-0 WT: 195 DOB: December 21, 1987
2011: Grade C; 2012: Grade C

Aside from 35 games in Double-A in 2011, Khris Davis has done nothing but mash in pro ball, hitting for power and average at all levels, with good plate discipline. Despite being hampered by injuries, he continued raking last year, hitting .350/.451/.604 in 82 games after recovering from a calf injury. A seventh round pick from Cal State Fullerton in 2009, Davis has tightened up the long swing that scouts critiqued in college and is earning grudging respect for his bat. The rest of his tools don't stand out. His speed, arm, and defensive skills are all mediocre/fringy, but if he keeps hitting someone will find a spot for him. I don't know if those gaudy batting averages are going to hold up against better pitching, but Davis should continue to produce power at least. Grade C+.

Davis was effective this spring, hitting .262/.303/.574 with six homers and 16 RBI. Although I recognize his limitations, he's been a personal favorite for a couple of years and always seems to do something productive when I see him: go 3-for-4 against a good pitcher, or crush a long home run, or something. He'll chase a breaking ball occasionally or get overpowered by something up and in, but he will also murder mistakes and he makes a good-faith effort to control the strike zone. His swing is notably shorter than it was when he first came into pro ball.

Davis' mediocre defensive tools have kept him off many prospect lists, and being a right-handed hitter could limit his at-bats if he gets stuck in a platoon and pinch-hitting role. That said, he has nothing left to prove in the minors and he's deserved more attention than he receives. I wouldn't expect Davis to hit .300+ in the majors, but I bet he can hit .250-.260 with enough power to be useful, making a career for himself as a solid role player.