Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Chris Davis owned the first half of the season but so far the second half has belonged to Khris Davis.
No this isn't an evil twin situation or even some bizarre cloning scenario you might see in a science fiction flick. It's real life and Milwaukee left fielder Khris Davis, not Baltimore's All-Star first baseman Chris Davis, is the hottest hitter in baseball right now.
K-H-R-I-S. Not C-H-R-I-S. Everybody got it?
Davis, Milwaukee's chosen replacement for suspended left fielder Ryan Braun, has been tearing it up. During his nine-game hitting streak, the 25-year-old has hit .467 with 5 HR and 9 RBI. Two of those long balls came in a 6-4 win over Cincinnati Friday at the Great American Ballpark.
Davis won't challenge Yasiel Puig or Jose Fernandez for Rookie of the Year honors but his impact on the fantasy world might be just as great. Over the last week, Davis has been added in over 50 percent of leagues. No other player has been added in more than 35 percent (Chicago's Nate Schierholtz).
The former seventh-round pick owns a .386 average since the All-Star break, which is good for third-best in the majors over that span (minimum 35 at bats). His 1.314 OPS in the second half is 200 points higher than Miguel Cabrera's (1.114).
And if that wasn't enough crazy for you, here's another nugget for you to feast on. Khris Davis has eight homers in the second half, tied for sixth-best in the major leagues. The five guys ahead of him? Cabrera, Alfonso Soriano, Paul Goldschmidt, Jayson Werth and you guessed it, the other Chris Davis (.272, 9 HR, 24 RBI in the second half).
Davis has been especially ruthless against righthanders. Typically righthanders struggle against other righthanders but in Davis' case, he's hitting .370 against them. Meanwhile, southpaws have limited Davis to a .286 clip in 28 at bats this season.
So where did Davis come from? The short answer is Nashville. In 69 games for Milwaukee's Triple-A affiliate earlier this season, Davis maintained a .255 average while belting 13 HR and driving in 37 runs.
Those aren't exactly All-Star numbers, though it did seem like Davis was beginning to turn the corner near the end of his tenure there. In 41 July at bats prior to his promotion, Davis hit .341 for Nashville with a slugging percentage north of .700.
Let's say this hot streak is more than just a fluke. Is there a future for Davis in Milwaukee?
If there is, it probably won't be as an outfielder. Braun is under contract until 2021 and Davis isn't a strong enough defender to play center field. Plus, the Brewers already have an All-Star there in Carlos Gomez (.286, 18 HR, 55 RBI, 30 steals).
Right fielder Norichika Aoki (.282, 7 HR, 31 RBI) holds a team option for next season. Given the consistency he's shown and how little he's costing them ($1.25 million), the Brewers are likely to hold onto him.
ESPN talent evaluator Jim Callis doesn't believe Davis will be a .300 hitter in the long run but he does think 20 homers on an annual basis is a realistic expectation. If that holds up, Davis would seem to be an ideal fit to play first base. He's not an elite runner and with injury-prone Corey Hart likely leaving in free agency, there should be an opening at first base next season. Even if the team does decide to retain fill-in first baseman Juan Francisco (he's arbitration eligible at the end of this season) his ceiling wouldn't be as high as Davis'.
Of course, that's only a suggestion. Unless someone in the Milwaukee front office reads this column, moving Davis to first base full-time probably isn't something the Brewers will seriously consider. But for fantasy owners still reeling from the plethora of injuries we've seen in August (Jason Heyward and Jose Bautista both come to mind), Davis is a perfectly good option.
So by disgracing the game of baseball, it appears Ryan Braun has served a higher purpose. He allowed us to discover Khris Davis, one of the game's best young outfielders.