Chris Davis’ Five Most Effortless Dinger Swings of the Season

Chris Davis has had power for as long as he’s been a professional, and probably longer. His first year, in Low-A, he slugged .534. The next year he slugged .598. In Triple-A he slugged over .600. The power is what got Davis to the majors. But Davis now is taking things to new levels. It wouldn’t be right to say Davis has been hitting everything, because he’s missed quite a lot. But he’s hit more things than he used to, and that’s why he’s currently leading the majors in home runs, with 20. His isolated slugging percentage is more than double Adrian Beltre‘s career number. It’s more than double Robinson Cano‘s. It’s got 50 points on Babe Ruth‘s. If baseballs had snot in them, there would be a lot of snot on Chris Davis’ uniform.

Davis possesses what you might call “easy power.” Several people have characterized it as “effortless.” According to FanGraphs commenter farrpar, “He has the most effortless power in baseball, no doubt about it.” According to this guy, “Wow! Chris Davis! Effortless Grand-slam!!! Go O’s.” According to David Miller, “The thing about Davis is that his swing looks so effortless on homerun balls like the one he hit on Sunday.” According to OsLuvrInKy, “Gotta love it. His swings just look so effortless.” Last season, in fact, Davis hit a home run on a broken bat. Because Davis is all the some of the rage right now, I’ve decided to prepare a top-five list of his most effortless home-run swings of the 2013 season so far. One way to measure effortlessness would be biomechanical examination. Another way would be guessing.

5

DavisEffort5.gif.opt

Unseen is here is there were runners on the corners. Davis looks like he’s simply trying to shoot the ball the other way. I remember high school baseball practices in which we had entire drills where we’d try to hit the ball to the opposite field. You’d basically cut down on your swing and throw your hands at the ball, and it’s entirely possible I had some terrible high school baseball coaches. It’s something we would try to do when we were trying to make something happen and move the runners around. Davis looks like he’s participating in such a drill, except he doesn’t really get the point of it:

“Now slap the ball past the shortstop.”

“Can I just hit a dinger?”

“That’s — that’s not really….”

“I’ll try it your way.”

“Good.”

“Whoops, I accidentally hit a dinger.”

Exerts as much effort as:
Opening a can of soup, with a can opener

4

  • Date: May 24
  • Pitcher: Ramon Ortiz
  • HR Distance: 400 feet
  • HR Speed off bat: 105.8 miles per hour

DavisEffort4.gif.opt

It’s almost a swing in slow motion. Except it’s not a swing in slow motion, because Chris Davis pulled a home run. The follow-through is so calm, so composed, so steady, so gentle. It’s a beautiful follow-through. It’s a follow-through that is of beauty. And it’s hard to imagine a guy having so smooth a follow-through if he just put everything he had into a swing. No, it looks as if Chris Davis were just practicing a swing and follow-through at 50% while standing in the box — and Ramon Ortiz happened to throw a baseball that hit Davis’ bat in the barrel by coincidence.

Exerts as much effort as:
Petting a nice cat

3

  • Date: May 29
  • Pitcher: Tyler Clippard
  • HR Distance: 406 feet
  • HR Speed off bat: 102.2 miles per hour

DavisEffort3.gif.opt

I don’t even know why Chris Davis has legs. Wait, no, that’s ridiculous, that’s not what I meant. Obviously he needs to move places. But as a batter, I feel like Davis’ legs could be asleep or removed and he’d still slug .650 without breaking a sweat. This is just Davis flipping the ball to center field, completely with his arms. This is a gentle game of tennis. Were it any other batter, you’d look at the .gif and assume “shallow pop-up.” Davis cleared rows. His swing ends up with him in perfect home-run-watching position. That’s probably not a coincidence.

Exerts as much effort as:
Almost getting up off the couch, then not

2

  • Date: May 23
  • Pitcher: Brandon Morrow
  • HR Distance: 390 feet
  • HR Speed off bat: 109.2 miles per hour

DavisEffort2.gif.opt

This is a swat. This is what a swat is. Broadly, swat is used to refer to any kind of home run. Were it used to refer to a specific kind of home run, though, it would be this kind. This is Chris Davis swatting at the baseball like one might swat at unwelcome mosquitoes near a lake. It’s as if Davis didn’t like the baseball being so close to him, so he used his hands to bat it away. It went screaming down the line for Davis’ second-fastest home run this season. Look at the catcher’s head. Tell me if he expected that to happen.

Exerts as much effort as:
Listening to the wind

1

  • Date: April 28
  • Pitcher: Sean Doolittle
  • HR Distance: 419 feet
  • HR Speed off bat: 104.3 miles per hour

DavisEffort1.gif.opt

Gary Thorne:

0-2 delivery, had to reach for that off the end of the bat, and look how far he hit it[…] one-handed, off the end of the bat.

I’ve accepted the fact that this home run is never going to make sense to me. I mean, I see everything happen. I trust my eyes, but I don’t understand how the first process leads to the ultimate result. I mean, for God’s sake:

daviseffort1

What is that? A Texas-Leaguer to shallow center, right? A swinging bunt to the first-base side of the mound? A soft comebacker to Doolittle? No, stupid, that’s a 400-plus-foot home run. Davis was behind in the count 0-and-2, and Doolittle threw a breaking ball too close to take. Have to protect, yes? Davis protected, and he looked as if his entire mission was to make contact with the baseball, somehow, no matter how gently. So he reached out and tapped the ball and it went out of the ballpark. Even Davis must have been surprised by this home run. In the Ken Griffey Jr. game for N64 there was a cheat code such that Griffey would homer every time he came up. This swing is that cheat code in real life. Davis doesn’t have a game named after him, but he might soon, at this pace. And he won’t need a code to hit home runs, because he’ll just hit home runs, all the time, normally. If you look at the screenshot it’s like Davis literally swung in his sleep.

Exerts as much effort as:
Watching someone blink

—–

Sometimes pitchers will pull back on their fastballs to get better command. At less than full effort, they figure, they’ll be better equipped to hit their spots. To the eye, it looks like Davis is taking this approach with his bat. It’s like he never swings 100% because he knows he doesn’t have to if he wants to hit the ball hard. At well below 100%, he can actually make a reasonable amount of contact. God help us if Davis ever does swing at 100% and he makes contact. We know Davis has never gotten all of a baseball because Davis has never caused a baseball and the surrounding baseball stadium to explode. It would be nice if things were to remain that way, even if it means my curiosity is left unsated.

Chris Davis is why that one strikeout-prone power prospect is still in your favorite team’s system. Most of the time, you end up with a guy who strikes out too much. Every once in a while, though, you’re left with someone able to amaze. No one in baseball makes homers look easier than Chris Davis. And now he’s decided he wants to hit more of them.



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Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.


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FREDTERP
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FREDTERP
2 years 11 months ago

Lefty always said it like it was. And you know what, he is right. FREDTERP

Hieronymous
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Hieronymous
2 years 11 months ago

Clippard’s reaction gif to that shallow pop-up home run is priceless

NatsFan73
Member
NatsFan73
2 years 11 months ago

That’s what Clippard looks like for every single fly ball he gives up. It’s almost as if he is both surprised and entirely UNsuprised to give up a home run, at the same time.

Hieronymous
Guest
Hieronymous
2 years 11 months ago

I actually meant this:

“No fucking way, man”

NatsFan73
Member
NatsFan73
2 years 11 months ago

That IS a nice one :)

RNT
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RNT
2 years 11 months ago

.725 OPS ceiling

Mr. Jones
Member
2 years 11 months ago

D-pad Left Left Right Right Right Left Left

payroll
Guest
payroll
2 years 11 months ago

One thing I have always wished we could learn as fans is what kind of bats guys are swinging. Wood, length, weight, primarily. Hollowed end, or rounded? I see guys like Davis and Josh Hamilton flip their hands and drive the ball 400 feet and immediately assume “he’s swinging a 38 ounce bat” but have no way of confirming that. Alternatively, I think that’s an untapped area of analysis, because bat dimensions have a direct relationship with bat speed and handling, and therefore everything else that goes along with the physics of hitting.

matt
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matt
2 years 11 months ago

I was thinking the same thing–that must be one heavy f’n bat. It reminds me of guys who flick a 16-lb bowling ball down the lane and the pins just explode.

toleterito
Member
toleterito
2 years 11 months ago

Yeah, I was thinking heavy bat and exceptionally strong wrists/forearms.

#3 is my favorite. He’s just so indifferent to this whole enterprise.

Shlum
Guest
Shlum
2 years 11 months ago

THIS is a pressing matter. Research drones GO

Jeff Long
Member
2 years 11 months ago

I’ve tried to do this but it’s nearly impossible. Little data is publicly available, and many players change bats frequently.

For every player like Braun or Cabrera (who use the same SamBat models every game) there’s an Adam Jones who uses 30+ models over a season.

jon
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jon
2 years 11 months ago

Chris Davis swings a 35 inch bat 33 ounces.

Brandon
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Brandon
2 years 11 months ago
Benzedrine
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Benzedrine
2 years 11 months ago

3.5 WAR already and signed to a $3.3 million deal. Probably will be the bargain of the year.

Daniel
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Daniel
2 years 11 months ago

Um. Trout

playingwithfire
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playingwithfire
2 years 11 months ago

Can’t count pre-arb guys in those cases.

HOLLA(R)
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HOLLA(R)
2 years 11 months ago

All that I can think after reading Davis’ conversation with his coach.

HEY GUYS IT’S CHR

CHRIS DAVIS.

d-mac
Guest
d-mac
2 years 11 months ago

JI

JIM DAVIS.

Seriously, why doesn’t this comment have more up votes? Or are we the only two who remember JI

JIM THOME.

Max
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Max
2 years 11 months ago

I don’t. Link/explanation?

majnun
Member
majnun
2 years 11 months ago

Yes please

HOLLA(R)
Guest
HOLLA(R)
2 years 11 months ago

It’s a lot to explain, but this might help:

http://withleather.uproxx.com/2011/10/the-dugout-jim-thomes-backyard

Sadly, I believe the majority of the archives are disappeared into the internet.

Philbert
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Philbert
2 years 11 months ago

It’s weird to compare two huge power hitters like Davis, who seems like he wants to gently place the ball twenty rows deep without making too much noise, and Bautista, who looks like he’s trying to send the ball into orbit every time he swings the bat. It’s amazing how productive two players can be while looking so completely different at the plate.

Jose Bautista's scale
Guest
Jose Bautista's scale
2 years 11 months ago

Joey Bats weighs about 45 lbs less than Davis.

filihok
Member
2 years 11 months ago

Exerts as much effort as:
Watching someone blink

David Cameron excepted

tehzachatak
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tehzachatak
2 years 11 months ago

So seriously, why is this possible? Not just #1, but these in general. What’s the explanation? Does Chris Davis use some special type of bat? Is he generally just amazing at lining up the ball EXACTLY with the sweet spot of the bat? Is his bat really, really heavy? Is his bat speed ridiculous?

His swing does not look that fast, although I do not have a great eye for that, so I am baffled as to how the ball comes off the bat on all of these going at roughly warp speed despite zero visible effort on Davis’ part.

rustydude
Member
rustydude
2 years 11 months ago

Big guy, big arms, reasonably fast swing = momentum. I’d imagine all of his size and strength are imparted to the bat, and once a decent sized part of that bat contacts the ball, the ball doesn’t have many choices on which way it can go. A fast swing from a guy with smaller/weaker arms just isn’t going to have the same effect.

CMG8462
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CMG8462
2 years 11 months ago

As shocking as this may sound, momentum/weight transfer to ball means nothing. The article on Frazier is a good one where his hands are not on the handle of the bat at the moment of contact: http://baseball.physics.illinois.edu/
http://tangotiger.com/index.php/site/comments/how-many-feet-and-hands-do-you-need-to-hit-a-hr

Bat speed and meeting the bat with the ball in the appropriate place is the only thing that matters. your hands don’t even have to be on the bat at the moment of contact.

Paul
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Paul
2 years 11 months ago

And momemtum/weight transfer affects bat speed. Most reasonably smart people that care enough to think about it should come to the same conclusion that bat speed at time of the pitch hitting the bat and where you hit the ball on the bat are the only things that affect distance. Everything else just affects those two variables.

All the strength v. bat speed talk is probably just based on perception of bat speed or recording of bat speed without regard to the time when the bat met the ball.

White Blood Cells
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White Blood Cells
2 years 11 months ago

It’s like Ernie Els’ famous easy swing. It looks like a slow-motion practice swing, but the ball goes 300 yards.

hp
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hp
2 years 11 months ago

Ernie Els great comparison, and then if you were to put his swing next to Nick Price, who looks like he took the quickest tempo swing of his time, you would be shocked to find that from beggining to end Ernie Els takes the club back and thru the ball faster than Price.

Paul
Guest
Paul
2 years 11 months ago

900 feet? Damn, he must have been the Sidd Finch of power hitters.

Dauber
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Dauber
2 years 11 months ago

You must not be a bowler.

Jeff Long
Member
2 years 11 months ago

It looks slow because it’s a long swing. Think Griffey. He also had a long swing with exceptional bat speeds.

Long swings traditionally generate a lot of strikeouts because the timing is difficult, but the bat speed you can generate with a long swing means a ton of power when you do make contact.

tehzachatak
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tehzachatak
2 years 11 months ago

Also, probably a good time to remind everyone Barry Bonds slugged EIGHT SIXTY THREE in 2001.

the sauce
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the sauce
2 years 11 months ago

My friends and I call it ogre strength, because his body is clearly more domesticated ogre than it is human. There are just some homers he hits that are most concisely described as being “ogred”.

Adam Dunn
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Adam Dunn
2 years 11 months ago

You were saying?

Richie
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Richie
2 years 11 months ago

that clippard gif is awesome – N effin way man…

George Resor
Member
2 years 11 months ago

Cool gifs. The really smooth slow flow through makes me think that he is doing an incredible job at transferring momentum from his bat to the base ball which is why the bats slows down after contact.
It would be really interesting to see gifs of his whiffs on pitches in the strike zone because those swings aren’t slowed down by the collision with a baseball.
just a back of the envelop calculation but the collision with the ball should slow the bat down by about 31 mph in the home run of Morrow (asummming a 32 oz bat,that the ball crossed the plate at 90% of its release velocity and that Chris Davis in no longer imparting force on the bat)

Alex
Guest
Alex
2 years 11 months ago

I’d say Miguel Cabrera rivals Davis in making it look easy — maybe not as casual but certainly the same type of balance and probably better control

Nathan
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Nathan
2 years 11 months ago

“Probably” better control? There’s no doubt about it. Cabrera will consistently be hanging around 140 wRC+ long after Chris Davis comes back to earth.

Alex
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Alex
2 years 11 months ago

Also, can’t wait for the sequel — 5 most labored homeruns of the season

atoms
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atoms
2 years 11 months ago

Do Dom Brown next!

jimbo
Guest
jimbo
2 years 11 months ago

“Whoops, I accidentally hit a dinger.”

Ha! love it.

scruddet
Member
scruddet
2 years 11 months ago

Looks effortless, but his hands fire through the hitting zone. Reminds me of Hank Aaron, who hit it out with the flick of his wrists.

Inspector Gadget
Guest
Inspector Gadget
2 years 11 months ago

Watching the umpire in GIF 1 crouch and uncrouch in exactly the same motion is kind of hypnotic.

Also, re:

Inspector Gadget
Guest
Inspector Gadget
2 years 11 months ago

QUOTE FAIL!

Re: “We know Davis has never gotten all of a baseball because Davis has never caused a baseball and the surrounding baseball stadium to explode.”

(watch GIF)

Daniel Schwartz
Member
2 years 11 months ago

I just said the same thing via Faketeams and Rotobanter using that first GIF

http://rotobanter.com/ChrisDavis

http://www.faketeams.com/2013/6/3/4392460/chris-davis-27-the-magical-mystery-kind

It really is just a routine fly ball for him validated by your Baseball Heat Maps average distance leaderboard which i reference all too often. Thanks for that!

Jose Whales
Guest
Jose Whales
2 years 11 months ago

Chris Davis is why that one strikeout-prone power prospect is still in your favorite team’s system.

These are damned lies, Sullivan. Crush doesn’t hit these bombs at home in Arlington anymore. Your comment cuts deep.

brian
Guest
brian
2 years 11 months ago

Something I figured out that is probably common sense. Most power hitters are tall big guys. But mainly just tall.there are short guys who can lift the same in weight room but can’t hit nearly the amount of homeruns as the taller guys who have longer arms. Longer arms means faster bat speed capabilities. Its like a ceiling fan. If u watch it when it spins. The farther part of the blade from the center has to rotate a lot faster because it is making a bigger circle than the part of the blade closest to the center which makes a smaller circle. Thats why adam dunn has hit a 500ft homerun

Adam Dunn
Guest
Adam Dunn
2 years 11 months ago

I also weigh 300 lbs.

Nathan
Guest
Nathan
2 years 11 months ago

“Chris Davis’ Five Most Effortless Dinger Swings of the Season”

Why no NSFW tag in the headline?

Nick
Guest
Nick
2 years 11 months ago

“Exerts as much effort as:
Watching someone blink”

This is potentially a lot of effort if the someone in question is Dave Cameron.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
2 years 11 months ago

This has got to be my favorite Chris Davis home run:
http://wapc.mlb.com/play/?content_id=22261517&c_id=mlb

Nearly sent a teammate to the disabled list.

Joe
Guest
Joe
2 years 10 months ago

My favorite home run of his was the one down in Tampa Bay that was to dead center. Landed on the roof of the restaurant, and also was the game winning hit as they won 1-0.

James S
Guest
James S
2 years 11 months ago

Interesting discussion. The Hank Aaron comment is especially relevant. Frank Howard once said that he picked up Mr. Aaron’s bat and noticed that all of the marks made by the bat contacting the ball were grouped very tightly while the marks on his bat were all over the place. No one hit the ball harder than Mr. Howard. (For provenance, refer to Mr. Brooks Robinson’s tale when he was in the field against the “Capital Punisher.) So, that indicates that consistency to the “sweet spot” is critical. Also, if you can find a copy, read through Ted William’s The Science of Hitting.

Lots of other Hardhitting
Guest
Lots of other Hardhitting
2 years 11 months ago

Harmon Killebrew also hit pretty hard.

Ruki Motomiya
Member
Ruki Motomiya
2 years 11 months ago

That last HR swing is unreal.

colorado golf coupons
Guest
2 years 11 months ago

Davis has finally relaxed and realizes he is good enough to belong in MLB. No need to worry or press, he is now comfortable and is just now coming into his own. He has the ability…and the park to do it in…to be the first non-roid ballplayer to break 61 HR in a season, which is what I maintain is the REAL season HR mark….or even do it in 154 games, like Ruth did when hitting 60

Giancarlo Stanton's genes
Guest
Giancarlo Stanton's genes
2 years 11 months ago

I am far more likely to break that record than this measly little fellow.

Dave
Guest
Dave
2 years 11 months ago

Honorable mention (though it was from last year): His broken bat homer against the Pirates.

WebTechAds
Guest
2 years 10 months ago

His swing is very reminiscent of Jim Edmonds. The approach, how he’ll stay back on even a good fastball and it to pop opposite field. Always seemed like a routine fly but they hit it so high it just carried. Their swings, and you could say their body types, are very similar.

Train
Guest
Train
2 years 10 months ago

That bat has GOT to be corked.

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