Chris Davis: Legitimate Late Round Sleeper?

By the time you reach the last few rounds of your draft, your remaining options can look pretty scary.  Some people are grabbing middle relievers and potential save vultures, some people are picking up middle infield depth, and some are just stockpiling minor league players hoping that if you throw enough against the wall, something’s bound to stick.  For you, there can be another option and given the fact that we’re so far into the draft, the risk is minimal with a potentially enormous upside.  Laugh if you will, but Baltimore’s Chris Davis can make for an outstanding late round sleeper pick this year.

In looking at the recent ADP numbers on Mock Draft Central, Davis has a ranking of 267.81 which translates to a early to mid-22nd round selection in your average 12-team league.  He may have seen a 35.1% increase over the last two weeks, but that just means he went from being completely undrafted to warranting consideration with one of your final picks.  He is still an overlooked player and can be yours for a song.

Now I’ll admit, he’s still a sink or swim-type player.  Basically it’s either a home run or a strikeout as evidenced by his 31.3% career strike out rate and his .196 ISO.  But if you find yourself in need of some extra power and think you can afford to eat some batting average, then he could be a nice choice.  Unlike the last year and a half in Texas, there will be a major opportunity to play regularly this season in Baltimore.

Between third base, the corner outfield positions, and DH, the Orioles don’t really have too much they can plug in there.  Nolan Reimold should handle left field, Endy Chavez looks like he is the temporary replacement to Nick Markakis to start the season in right (so much for my Matt Angle sleeper pick for now), Wilson Betemit will now play third which leaves Davis to handle full-time DH duties.  There’s a possibility that the O’s bring in another bat, but that will likely just push Betemit to the bench as the team likes Davis’ power potential.

Much in the way the Charleston Chiefs took the Federal League by storm with a return to the days of Eddie Shore and old-time hockey, so too are the Orioles with their return to the days of Earl Weaver and the three-run homer.  When Weaver was managing, he went against the small ball mentality and refused to implement the sacrifice bunt, the hit and run or the stolen base.  “If you play for one run, that’s all you’ll get” and “On offense, your most precious possessions are your 27 outs” were notable Weaver-isms.  Well, the O’s seem to be built with that standard in mind.

Between Davis, Reimold, Mark Reynolds, and even Matt Wieters and J.J. Hardy, the Orioles seem to be playing for the long ball.  They have made it abundantly clear that they will follow Weaver’s old game plan, whether you agree with it or not, and preach “patience” — “waiting for the home run” as Weaver used to say.  Batting average be damned.

So if the Orioles are going to play ball like that, then Davis is a fantastic fit for them this year and a great option for you late in your draft.  He’ll be plugged into the bottom end of the lineup, act as a second cleanup hitter, and with potentially 450-500 plate appearances, he can easily jack you 25-30 HR and rack up some solid RBI totals in the process.  Just don’t expect an average north of .250 and enjoy the strikeouts.

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Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over 10 years on a variety of websites. In addition to his work here, you can also find him at his site,, Fantasy Alarm, RotoWire and Mock Draft Central. Follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or for more direct questions or comments, email him at

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Dave’s a killer!

Like the call, and it does seem that the O’s are stuck with Davis as the DH even if he flounders. That makes me feel better about burning a late rounder on him. What the heck, I picked Jake Fox in the last round when he tore up spring taining and wasn’t guaranteed a spot, so Davis seem less risky than that. Which is nice.