Suppose you’re John Mozeliak, and you’ve been told you can sign a big free agent, and you’ve narrowed your choices down two players: Chris Davis and re-signing Jason Heyward.
If you sign Davis, you’re emphasizing power over defense and speed, Heyward is the opposite.
Which way to go?
Davis had a year of extremes last year: He led the league homers *and* strikeouts, with 47 of the former and 208 of the latter. He did hit .262 with a .361 OBP, so he’s not Mark Reynolds, despite the high strikeouts.
He does have a bit of a home/road split though, when it comes to his homers. He hit 29 at homer friendly Camden Yards, as opposed to 18 on the road. Busch Stadium isn’t as homer friendly, so that’s a but warning sign for me. also hit .285 at home and .241 on the road. 19 homers in 299 AB’s still isn’t bad though, but that and the lower average aren’t worth a mega contract.
As for defense, Davis was an overall -0.9 defensive WAR player, so his defense was nothing to write home about last year.
We are obviously more familiar with Heyward, but let’s recap:
He had a .293/.359/.439 slash line last year, with 13 homers and 23 stolen bases, which was a career high for him. As for splits, he hit .307 at home and .279 on the road, both better than Davis, particularly the road split. He had 90 strikeouts, admittedly high for a non-power hitter (which is what he is, admit it guys.) but nothing compared to Davis’ 208.
As for the defense, he was worth 2 WAR for his defense alone, which was down from the 2.8 WAR he posted in 2014, but still the second best in his career.
So, which way to go?
I personally would go with Heyward. He’s 3 years younger (26 as opposed to the 29 year old Davis) which means near the end of the contract he’s more likely to be productive. He’s also more of an all around player, and I really like his defense.
As always, thanks for reading.