2016 Orioles preview: Chris Davis

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With Opening Day less than a week away, we’ll take a look at a member of the 2016 Orioles every day as they try to return to the playoffs for the third time in five years this season.

March 1 – Adam Jones
March 2 – Chris Tillman
March 3 – Jonathan Schoop
March 4 – Brad Brach
March 5 – Nolan Reimold
March 6 – Yovani Gallardo
March 7 – Matt Wieters
March 8 – T.J. McFarland
March 9 – Dariel Alvarez
March 10 – Brian Matusz
March 11 – J.J. Hardy
March 12 – Mychal Givens
March 13 – Ryan Flaherty
March 14 – Ubaldo Jimenez
March 15 – Mark Trumbo
March 16 – Darren O’Day
March 18 – Pedro Alvarez
March 19 – Oliver Drake
March 20 – Mike Wright
March 21 – Zach Britton
March 22 – Caleb Joseph
March 23 – Dylan Bundy
March 24 – Christian Walker
March 25 – Chaz Roe
March 27 – Manny Machado

1B Chris Davis

Age: 30

Contract status: Under contract through the 2022 season

2015 stats: .262/.361/.562, 47 HR, 117 RBI, 100 R, 2 SB, 670 PA

Why to be impressed: The left-handed slugger has averaged just under 40 home runs per year over the last four seasons, an incredible run that earned him the richest contract in franchise history. Davis also posted a career-best 12.5 percent walk rate and fared much better against the shift in 2015, posting a .319 batting average on balls in play compared to his .242 mark in 2014.

Why to be concerned: Davis continues to pull the ball more and more and did it 10 percent more than he did in 2013, a trend that doesn’t age well and makes him easier to defend when he’s not hitting the ball out of the park. His strikeout rate (31 percent) improved from his career-worst level of 33 percent in 2014, but his contact rate (64.4 percent) was still down significantly from his 2012 and 2013 levels.

2016 outlook: We’ve seen Davis at his best and at his worst all in the last three years, making it difficult to know what to expect from the slugging first baseman. You always wonder how a player will respond to having long-term security, but I’ll bet on Davis being motivated to prove he’s worth the lucrative contract, even if it will be difficult to hover around the 50-homer mark for a third time in four years.

2016 not-so-scientific projections: .254/.355/.537, 39 HR, 101 RBI, 94 R, 2 SB, 648 PA

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