Chris Davis vs Mitch Moreland: Settling The Debate

**ORIGINAL POSTED DATE 8/24/12**

This week the Baltimore Orioles paid a visit to Texas and, as always, a debate began on Twitter as to who was the better first baseman: Chris Davis or Mitch Moreland? A lot of fans were upset when Davis was sent to Baltimore along with Tommy Hunter last July in exchange for reliever Koji Uehara. And, after a season in which he was hampered by a nagging wrist injury, a lot of fans refused to jump on the Mitch Moreland bandwagon. Even to this day Moreland finds that he still has numerous detractors. There are some people who love Davis so much for his defense and power that they refused to take a hard deep look at the stats and realize that Moreland is better.
Well here at Shut Down Inning we like to educate the fans and that’s just what I am going to do here. I’ll start with the offensive stats.

AVG            OBP          SLG         HR         RBI         K         BB         fWAR

Chris Davis                  .251            .300           .436          20          60         131       26            -0.4

Mitch Moreland            .289            .340           .516          13          38          45        18            1.0

Okay so the first thing that a Davis fan will point out is the fact that “Crush” has more home runs and RBI than Moreland. They have to keep in mind that Moreland missed almost an entire month with a hamstring injury and has 182 fewer plate appearances. Look at the walks and let that sink in for a second. Davis has almost 200 more plate appearances and only eight more walks. Then if you do the math you’ll find that Moreland averages a home run per every 19.07 plate appearances versus Davis’ 21.5. If Moreland doesn’t miss any time then he may have between five and ten more home runs than Davis, if you account for playing time and days off.

And if you want to debate that Chris Davis has more power, well, I’m sorry.

Longest Home Run (2012)             Average HR Distance (2012)

Chris Davis                         437 ft.                                               403 ft.

Mitch Moreland                   442 ft.                                               405.2 ft.

And what about defense at first base?

E             Fielding %           UZR

Chris Davis                 4               .989                  -0.4

Mitch Moreland          1                .998                   2.5

So there you have it. Moreland is clearly the better player from top to bottom. Stats don’t lie. Now you can stop lying to yourself and enjoy Mitch Moreland for who he is. I’d like to thank fangraphs.com and ESPN’s home run tracker for the data provided.

James Holland is a Senior Columnist for Shut Down Inning. He can be reached at James.Holland@shutdowninning.com or @SDIJamesHolland on Twitter.
James Holland

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