November 21st, 2011
2012 marks the RoughRiders’ 10th season as a franchise, all as the Rangers’ Double-A affiliate. Since 2003, there have been hundreds of talented players come through Dr Pepper Ballpark, but some have stood out more than others. With the help of Michael Damman, the RoughRiders’ Director of Statistical Research, we’ve come up with the All-’Riders Team: the best player at each position in franchise history. Today we continue with the RoughRiders’ all-time best first baseman.
Michael Damman’s Take:
The second part of a murderer’s row that sat in the middle of Frisco’s lineup for the first half of the 2008 season, Chris Davis spent just a tad bit more time in Frisco than Max Ramirez did.
Davis came to Frisco late in 2007 after ripping through High-A Bakersfield. Texas found out then that the Chris Davis show — and enigma — was just beginning. Over 124 plate appearances in 2007, Davis connected on 19 extra base hits, including 12 home runs and posted a 1.059 OPS. He followed up with a 2008 encore where he hit 27 extra base hits, including 13 home runs over 204 plate appearances. Davis batted .319 in his time with Frisco with 21 doubles and 25 home runs over 326 plate appearances. He drove in 67 runs over 76 games as well, including 42 in 46 games in 2008.
In his 76 career games for the ‘Riders, Davis had 23 multi-hit games. When he was promoted after a May 24th game, Frisco was 33-15 thanks in large part to the help of Davis and Ramirez. In the big leagues, the first baseman has not been able to have the same kind of success that he had in Frisco and throughout the minor leagues as his career MLB OPS is .749. No longer with the Rangers, Davis was traded in 2011 to the Baltimore Orioles as part of the Koji Uehara deal. However, of the 30 rookies that had at least 250 plate appearances in 2008, a list that included 2010 NL MVP Joey Votto, Evan Longoria, and Carlos Gonzalez, Davis carried the best minor league OPS in Double-A and Triple-A into the major leagues.
Davis’ career .319 batting average ranks fifth all-time in RoughRiders’ history, but what impresses me most is that stat that Michael found regarding his RBIs. Driving in 67 runs in 76 games (and 42 in 46) is pretty amazing. The thing that we always hear managers and coaches say over and over in the minors is “consistency.” If Double-A ballplayers were consistent, they’d probably all be in the big leagues. Point being, to drive home nearly 70 runs in 76 games (over half a season), shows great consistency. This is a quality that Davis struggled with after graduating from Frisco, but while he was here, he was terrific.
You can read more from Michael Damman on his Rangers’ minor league blog, Chatter From the Pressbox. You can also follow him on twitter @pressboxchatter.
Up Next: Second Base