One of the biggest storylines heading into the 2013 season was whether the Baltimore Orioles could repeat their shocking run to the playoffs last season. Well, if Chris Davis keeps up his brilliant start to the campaign, the Orioles first baseman/designated hitter may carry them to the postseason by himself.
The 27-year-old Davis socked a grand slam in Baltimore's 9-5 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Friday, extending his streak to four consecutive games with a home run and setting a jaw-dropping record. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Davis' 16 RBI in the season's first four games are the most in Major League Baseball history:
To put Davis' historic start into further perspective, he's one game away from becoming the first player since the 1930s to have a home run and three-plus RBI in five straight games, per ESPN Stats & Information:
Chris Davis has a HR and 3+ RBI in 4 straight games. Only players to do that in 5 straight are Lou Gehrig (1931) and Bill Dickey (1937)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 6, 2013
Thanks in large part to Davis' hot start, Baltimore has looked great thus far. The Orioles have a 3-1 record, which puts them in a tie with the Boston Red Sox for first place in the American League East.
Chris Davis: Just a hot start or superstar in the making?
Davis has historically been a player whose peaks are ascendant and valleys are nearly as low. That likely means this small sample size is just an anomaly—an extremely impressive one at that.
Nevertheless, one has to wonder whether Davis is finally harnessing his abundant skill set. Davis hit 33 home runs and drove in 85 RBI last season, both career highs, while keeping his average at a very respectable .270. His uptick in play was a big reason Baltimore was able to capture its first postseason berth since 1997.
No one expects Davis to keep his current pace. Even with today's technology, hitting 162 home runs with 648 RBI and a .600 batting average seems just a little unrealistic.
That said, it's not out of the question that Davis has morphed into one of the American League's most fearsome sluggers overnight.