BALTIMORE (CBS Local)- The Baltimore Orioles set a franchise record for most losses this season with 115, and first baseman Chris Davis set a record-low of his own in the process, posting a .168 batting average over the course of 128 games and 522 plate appearances. That batting average is the worst for any qualified hitter in Major League Baseball history since the league adopted the current 162-game schedule.
As we detailed back in June, the previous worst batting average for any hitter that had qualified for the batting title (more than 500 plate appearances) was .200, set by Don Wert in the 1968 season with the Detroit Tigers. Davis’ .168 mark shatters that and leaves plenty of questions about his future with the team considering that he still has four more years and $92 million left on his contract that he signed in 2015.
Manager Buck Showalter told the Baltimore Sun this week that Davis needs to go back to the basics this offseason in order to try and regain his old form.
“Reboot,” Showalter said to the Sun. “Start over. Actually, Chris, we’ve had a number of conversations this year, and I had one with him here recently a day or two ago, where he was talking about this time — the first time other than the time he took some time off to try to restart a little bit [in June], how he sees some things.”
Davis sat out the team’s final two series of the season against the Red Sox and Astros as the team decided to give him some more time away from the every day lineup to try and figure things out. It wasn’t just Davis’ batting average that suffered. He hit just 16 home runs, which is the fewest since he became a full-time player with the team in 2012. The 49 RBI that he recorded is the lowest total of any season in his career in which he’s played at least 80 games. While Showalter attempted to put a positive spin on things in speaking with the Sun, even he is unsure of whether Davis will be able to return to form.
“People say, ‘I’d love to have a job with a week off and get paid X amount,” said Showalter. “But I think he’s able to really reflect on a lot of things. Now, does he still have the talent or whatever, the skill set to do those things again? We’ll see. But it’s been a long period of tough times for him and those pulling for him.”