Though some of the top free-agent pitchers have been coming off the board, many of the elite hitters are still available. Chris Davis, who has established himself as one of the game's best home run hitters in recent seasons, is among the most sought-after position players on the market. Davis, who will turn 30 in March, is the latest player to be featured in an ongoing series highlighting five key stats for each of this year's top free agents.
Here's a closer look at five facts and figures that may help indicate what Davis' 2016 club can expect from him.
Not only was Davis the only player in the past five years to hit at least 45 homers in a season, but he did so twice during that span. He hit a Major League-best 53 dingers in 2013, then once again led the Majors with 47 this past season. Davis' 159 home runs since the start of '12 are the most during that span, despite the fact that he played only 127 games in '14.
Davis has absolutely feasted on the first pitch of an at-bat throughout his career, hitting a jaw-dropping .437 (156-for-357) with 49 home runs. His 1.384 OPS when putting the first pitch in play is easily the highest on record among all players with at least 100 such plate appearances. The next-highest mark belongs to Khris Davis at 1.288. That trend held especially true this past season, when Davis hit .486 (36-for-74) with 11 home runs and a 1.554 OPS on the first pitch.
Davis has a career .294/.369/.554 batting line for the month of September, each of which is a personal-best for any one month. His .923 OPS for the month of September also easily exceeds his second-best mark of .867 in May. Davis also has hit 40 home runs and 42 doubles in the final month of the season, both of which are his highest totals for any month.
Despite being selected in the fifth round of the 2006 Draft, Davis currently has a higher career WAR (14.8) than any other player taken in the second, third, fourth or fifth rounds of that same Draft. There are also only four first-round selections from that year -- Clayton Kershaw (48.5), Evan Longoria (42.7), Max Scherzer (31.6) and Tim Lincecum (22.7) -- who currently have a higher career WAR than Davis.
Ace in the hole?
Although he's obviously known for his bat, Davis also has an unblemished 0.00 ERA to his name, thanks to tossing two shutout innings against the Red Sox on May 6, 2012. Making the feat all the more impressive, however, is Davis actually entered in the 16th inning of a tie game and ultimately finished it out for the victory. He tallied two strikeouts in his two innings of work, which he capped off by inducing a game-ending double play.
Paul Casella is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.