Baltimore slugger Chris Davis said Monday that he considers the single-season home run record to be Roger Maris' 61, rather than the official mark of 73 set by Barry Bonds.
Davis is on pace to hit 62 this year. How convenient.
Actually, he was referring to the widely held belief that Bonds' number was enhanced by steroids and Maris' was not.
Either way, Davis could find himself in some pretty lofty company by the end of the season. But will he reach any of the magic numbers? Will he stay on pace and surpass Maris? Will he pick it up a couple notches and threaten Bonds' mark? Or will he level off at some point?
Writers from around the Tribune Co. will predict how many balls Davis will hit out of the park this year. You can join the conversation by voting in the poll and leaving a comment of your own.
Ron Fritz, Baltimore Sun
Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles will flirt with Roger Maris’ 61 home runs but ultimately end up with 59. That’s pretty amazing for a guy whose previous high for a season is 33. He has 66 games left, so hitting 22 the rest of the way seems about right.
Teams are going to start pitching him differently even though he hits balls on the outer half of the plate into the left-field stands just as easily as he pulls the ball to right field. Plus, he had an ugly streak in June when he couldn’t make contact with the ball let alone hit a home run.
Some managers will figure out that Matt Wieters, hitting .232 with a .408 slugging percentage, usually hits behind Davis and they would rather take their chances with Wieters. That’s the route I’d take instead of taking a chance with Davis.
Davis also has played in 95 of the Orioles’ 96 games and his career-high in games played was last season’s 139. At some point he’s going to get tired. So he’ll reach 59, a new team record, but short of the all-time sluggers. No one will be crushed with that number.
Phil Rogers, Chicago Tribune
Chris Davis is taking dead aim at Roger Maris, if not Barry Bonds. He says 61 is still the “real’’ home run record and would celebrate if he reached 62. That’s exactly how many he projects to hit after a burst leading into the All-Star break, but odds are stacked against him getting there.
The higher the homer total gets, the fewer pitches he’ll see. Division rivals like the Red Sox, Rays and Yankees will work him especially tough. I think he’ll do well to homer once every five games the rest of the way, and that gets him 13 more, which leaves him with an even 50.
[Updated at 11:03 a.m.:
Jeff Schuler, Allentown Morning Call
Going by his pace so far, Chris Davis should have 25 home runs over Baltimore's final 66 games. But as Reggie Jackson found out in 1969, that's easier said than done.
Jackson had 37 home runs through Oakland's first 92 games that season, mounting the first serious charge at Roger Maris' 61. But with the pressure of the chase, not to mention a pennant race, growing, Jackson hit just 10 over the A's final 70 games.
Davis doesn't face the Maris chase but the Orioles are in a pennant race, and Davis likely will be pitched differently. I'll give him 50, give or take a couple either way.]