Note: This piece is a continuation of a series where I look at potential trade targets that the Marlins have reportedly shown interest. In the first part, I examined utility man Evan Gattis and how he'd fit with the Marlins.
In my time writing about sports, I've done a multitude amount of pieces where I take an in depth look. Whether it would be a thorough examinations that include video compilations or just a simple little piece following a signing or trade, I've never have had troubles when it comes to trying to decipher a particular player. That situation is going to change with this piece, as I honestly have no idea about how to predict how our current subject, Chris Davis, will be in the 2015 season and beyond.
The main reasoning behind the confusion would the complete 180 turn that Davis took after having an MVP-caliber season in 2013. During that season, Davis absolutely exploded, as he hit a league-high 58 home runs, with a stellar .634 slugging percentage. Alongside his amazing power stroke, Davis was also a pretty consistent overall hitter with the combination of a .286 batting average and .370 on base percentage.
While Davis never really exhibited this power during his three-year stint with the Rangers from '08-'11, the only thing that really changed for Davis was that his FB% started to trend upwards once he landed in Baltimore, which is apparent from the following graph. With the elevated fly ball ratio combined with the hitter-friendly nature of Camden Yards, Davis was able to get more home run opportunities once he landed in Baltimore.
Transitioning over to the 2014 season, that fate quickly changed as Davis hypothetically fell off the face of the baseball universe. Not only did his home run total (25 HR's) and slugging percentage (.404) see a dramatic decrease, Davis' solid batting percentage from the prior year plummeted as he struggled to stay above the Mendoza line (.196 batting average).
Similar to most power hitters that run into a rut after experiencing a career year, Davis' strikeout rate trended upwards. During the prior season, Davis had a league-leading 33 percent strikeout rate, which is a pretty large climb over his 29.6 rate from his MVP-caliber 2013 season.
Another factor behind his huge offensive decline is that pitchers were able to close off his offensive strengths, which pushed him to becoming a more ground-ball prone hitter. His rate of fastballs seen stood at 41 percent, which is a huge drop-off from 45.7 percent during the prior season.
With Davis' becoming more of a strikeout machine, while being unable to consistently connect with the ball, there's a lot of uncertainty surrounding what kind of player that Davis will be in 2015. While it would be optimistic to think that Davis would stay in that "happy medium" area of being an above-average power hitter that's still prone to striking out.
Even if Davis is able to recapture some of that power, he wouldn't be as effective at Marlins Park, considering that's not particularly friendly to power hitters. Per ESPN.com's Park Factor numbers, Marlins Park finished 26th in the league in the home run category.
Those aforementioned factors combined with his hefty contract, it wouldn't exactly be smart for the team to pursue a trade for Chris Davis. While he may give the Marlins another power hitter that they can put inside the lineup next to Stanton, Davis is way too much of an expensive uncertainty for the Marlins to go after.