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Khris Davis is 5th Oakland A’s player to hit 40 home runs

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Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland A’s outfielder Khris Davis hit his 40th home run of the season on Sunday, off Rangers reliever Keone Kela. That makes Khrush the fifth player in Oakland history to reach that mark, joining some names you might recognize: Reggie, Mac, Jose, and Giambi.

The last A’s player to reach 40 was Jason Giambi back in his MVP season of 2000. Mark McGwire leads the way with three seasons of at least 40, including his rookie record of 49 back in 1987, and he also had two more seasons with 39 that just miss the cut. Also just missing the list: Frank Thomas (39 in 2006) and Matt Stairs (38 in 1999). Davis’ season is the eighth total 40-homer campaign by an Oakland slugger.

If you expand out to all of franchise history, then there are two old-timey Philadelphia names to add to the list: Jimmie Foxx and Gus Zernial. Hall of Famer Foxx did it three times (in three consecutive seasons), including a total of 58 in 1932. Zernial hit 42 in 1953.

Leaving them aside, though, here is the full Oakland 40 list (bold means he led the league):

Name HR Year
Mark McGwire 52 1996
Mark McGwire 49 1987
Reggie Jackson 47 1969
Jose Canseco 44 1991
Jason Giambi 43 2000
Jose Canseco 42 1988
Mark McGwire 42 1992
Khris Davis 40 2016

Davis’ 40th came as part of a two-homer day, his fifth multi-dinger outing of the year. The first came off Colby Lewis, pulled way out to LF. The second came off Kela, and in what is becoming Davis’ signature move he blasted it the other way down the right-field line (video) -- it’s the fourth time he’s done that this year.

His spray chart illustrates how Khrush is a threat to go deep absolutely anywhere from pole to pole (black dots are homers; doesn’t include the two from Sun.):


Source: FanGraphs

Davis is now tied for third in the AL this year, and he’s not far off the lead:

43: Mark Trumbo, Orioles
41: Brian Dozier, Twins
40: Khris Davis, A’s
40: Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays
38: Chris Davis, Orioles (lol)

A few more facts about Davis’ dingers:

  • He didn’t hit his first until the team’s 16th game of the season (his 14th game).
  • He’s the first player ever to hit 10 in a season against the Rangers (via John Blake).
  • He hit three off Cole Hamels, and also hit two against Hisashi Iwakuma, R.A. Dickey, Matt Shoemaker, and Nate Karns.
  • One of them was a walk-off grand slam.
  • He entered the season with 60 for his career, which means he finished Sunday at an even 100.

As icing on the cake, pitchers are finally starting to take notice of Khrush’s power. Since Aug. 17, he has drawn 18 walks in 120 plate appearances (previously: 17 BB in 444 PAs). That’s a 15% walk rate (previously: 3.8%), and while that Aug. 17 beginning point is somewhat arbitrary to maximize the effect of the split, it did come soon after Davis went on one of his three-straight-days, every-game-of-a-series dinger sprees. It makes sense that opponents would start taking him a bit more seriously by mid-August.

His OBP is still only .309, but that’s higher than it’s been most of the year and it gives hope that he can add a third option to his current Two True Outcomes profile. It’s an astounding coincidence that a guy whose name (Khris) starts with K and HR would turn into a premier strikeout-and-homer guy.

Congrats on 40, Khrush! We salute you!

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