SEATTLE — There was little indication, given his struggles with the Texas Rangers, that Baltimore first baseman Chris Davis would emerge as baseball’s top slugger this season, one who hit his major league-leading 36th homer and drove in his 89th run in Saturday’s loss to Toronto.
Sure, Davis had plenty of raw power, but his .248 average and inability to make consistent contact in 3 1/2 seasons (2008-2011) with Texas got him demoted to triple-A several times and eventually traded to the Orioles for reliever Koji Uehara in 2011.
But when asked whether Davis had this kind of season in him, Angels right fielder Josh Hamilton, a former Rangers teammate, said, “Absolutely. Defensively, I think he’s one of the best first basemen I’ve seen in either league. His offense has been hit or miss, but I always knew what kind of potential he had.”
The difference, Hamilton thinks, is Davis’ attitude and approach.
“You know what you’ve done your whole life, you know what you’re capable of, it’s almost like the best thing you can do is just relax, have fun, go play and enjoy it,” Hamilton said. “I think he’s at that point now.
“He’d always go down and rake in the minors, come back up, hit a few home runs and struggle with his average. Now, I look at him and he’s relaxed, having fun, just enjoying the game. I can see it in his countenance. It’s fun to watch. Sometimes it takes a change of scenery.”
With Saturday’s shot, Davis is on pace to hit 61 homers.
“I hope he hits 80,” Hamilton said.