Texas Rangers: Chris Davis, Mitch Moreland and the Odd Man Out

Craig ChapmanCorrespondent IMay 27, 2011

PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 04:  Chris Davis #19 of the Texas Rangers throws the ball to first base against the Oakland Athletics at Phoenix Municipal Stadium on March 4, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
Norm Hall/Getty Images

Aside from the Michael Young position swap incident, there isn't a more interesting story concerning the Texas Rangers than Chris Davis.

Davis made it public that he has no idea what his future holds, and if the Rangers don't want to give him a shot, he wants to go elsewhere. The only problem with his statement is that he has squandered away multiple opportunities to succeed.

Let's take a trip all the way back to 2008.

Davis makes his major league debut and hits 17 home runs in 80 games. Clearly he was the favorite to start at first base and made the Opening Day roster. We then get to witness one of the worst starts to a season in recent memory as he goes down in the record books with 100 strikeouts in the fewest at-bats ever for a MLB player.

Although he hit a surprising 15 home runs, he was later sent back to the minor leagues in July only to return hitting in the low .300s. Hope and change made a comeback and fans were expecting 2010 to be a breakout season now that he had pulled it together.

Or so we thought...

2010 comes and Davis gets demoted within a month while batting in the high .100s with an on-base percentage no higher than .300. Justin Smoak takes his place, but is involved in the Cliff Lee trade so he goes to Seattle while Davis gets recalled.

Because of injuries, Mitch Moreland is eventually called up and makes a splash. He even got a huge three-run jimmy jack in the World Series. At that point, it really seemed as if Chris Davis had no spot on this team.

Even this season proves to continue the cycle, as he was promoted and demoted in accordance with Josh Hamilton being on the disabled list. Mike Napoli has been in a slump recently but it wasn't enough to keep Davis around. Davis has proven to be a quadruple-A player if you will; he can destroy pitchers in the minors but just can't do enough to stick around at the major league level.

The question needs to be asked: Does Chris Davis have a place on this roster? Let's look at some statistics.

  S-Contact% B-Contact% UZR UZR-adj WAR WPA
Chris Davis 75.3 50 -2.7 -2.3 0.1 -2.17
Mitch Moreland 91.1 72.1 0.7 2.6 1.5 1.49
Justin Smoak 85.9 57.7 3.8 5.2 1.0 -0.15

As you can see, there is clearly some separation between these three players.

S-Contact%, or the percent of balls thrown in the strike zone that are hit, and B-Contact%, or the percent of balls thrown outside the strike zone that are hit, clearly show a difference in plate discipline between Moreland and Davis. This can be attributed to Davis' horrible 2009 showing where he struck out 150 times in 391 at bats.

Ultimate zone rating of each player just correlates to whether or not a player's defense gives up or prevents runs. All of the praise Davis gets for his defense seems to be unfounded since his rating is negative. Moreland has been average in his defense which makes sense he has a 0.7 rating. UZR adjusted is just a way to compare players over a 150 game season since playing times can differ. Even then, Moreland is still doing better than Davis.

The last statistics are the most troubling for Davis, as he posts a WAR lower than Moreland and has a negative win percentage added which means his presence so far in major league games has resulted in a net loss in favor of the other team. This is the final straw in the case for Davis, as he is being outshined by Moreland in most Sabermetric stats.

Rangers management needs to figure out what to do with Chris Davis because it's clear he has no place on this team.

He needs to stay in the minors to increase his value because he isn't showing much at the major league level. Could he be another Nelson Cruz-type player that flourishes in another environment? Possibly, but he's not going to be able to advance his career with Moreland ahead of him on the depth chart.