Three Up, Three Down: Khris Davis Homers Into History
Khris Davis, Athletics
Not even Reggie Jackson, Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco or Jason Giambi did what Davis accomplished. Davis hit 43 home runs this season to become the first Oakland Athletics player ever to post back-to-back 40 home run seasons. The only other player to do it in franchise history was Jimmie Foxx with the Philadelphia Athletics from 1932-34. Davis’ 43 home runs were a career-high and part of his best full season yet. He hit .247 for the third consecutive season, but posted his highest on-base percentage (.336) and slugging percentage (.528) since his 56-game stint as a rookie.
Kris Bryant, Cubs
Bryant didn’t receive nearly the same attention as he did during last year’s MVP campaign, but he was actually better in some ways. His .295 batting average, .409 slugging percentage, 38 doubles and .946 OPS were all career-highs, and he was at his best down the stretch. With the Cubs trying to hold off the Brewers and Cardinals for the NL Central division title, Bryant hit .304/.405/.533 over the final month as the Cubs went 19-9 to pull away from the field.
Lucas Giolito, White Sox
The White Sox’s youth movement received numerous promising performances down the stretch, especially from Giolito on the mound. The 22-year-old righthander went 3-3, 2.38 in seven starts after being called up in late August, resembling the frontline pitcher he was long projected to be. Giolito allowed two runs or less in five of his seven starts, held opponents to a .190 average, and pitched into the seventh inning five times.
Jackie Bradley Jr., OF, Red Sox
Bradley was absolutely sensational in the field all year long, but his offensive performance the final month of the season was alarming. Bradley hit .172 with 32 strikeouts in 89 at-bats, the finishing touch on his worst offensive season since he was a rookie in 2014. Bradley’s average and on-base percentage dropped more than 15 points from a year ago, and his slugging percentage crashed from .486 to .402.
Jonathan Schoop, 2B, Orioles
Schoop was being talked about as a possible MVP candidate at one point earlier in the year, but that—along with the Orioles’ playoff hopes—went up in smoke with a horrid September. Schoop hit .230/.263/.327 in the final month of the season, putting a damper on an otherwise brilliant year. With their top performer all season struggling, the Orioles went 7-21 from Sept. 1 through the end of the year.
Tyler Skaggs, LHP, Angels
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The Angels waited three months for Skaggs to return from an oblique strain, but the stabilizing starter they thought they were getting down the stretch didn’t perform to that level. Skaggs went 1-3, 5.58 over his final eight starts as the Angels fell out of the wild card race. Opponents hit him hard to the tune of a .272/.341/.484 slash line, and he made it out of the sixth only twice in those eight outings.