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Khris Davis is the best home run hitter in baseball

He hits the most, and he hits ‘em when they matter.

Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

He did it again on Friday. Khris Davis hit two more home runs, and they made all the difference in an Oakland A’s victory. This time he got the scoring started in the 1st inning with a two-run blast, and then finished it in the 10th with a walk-off dart just to the side of the tall jagged edge in right-center.

Davis has been doing this all year. It was his second walk-off, but really it was his sixth game-winning homer — thrice he’s powered the A’s to a lead on the road in the 9th inning or later, and once he hit the go-ahead dinger at home in the 8th off David Price. He doesn’t just rack up big numbers, he also hits them when they matter most for a team headed toward the postseason. That’s why he received “M-V-P” chants on his way toward home plate after his most recent masterpiece, even though he’s nowhere to be found on the WAR leaderboards.

“I was one of those (chanting),” said manager Bob Melvin. “You look at his numbers and what he’s meant to this team, yeah, he definitely needs to be in the conversation.”

Those numbers paint a clear picture: Khrush is the best home run hitter in baseball right now. Some dinger facts:

  • Most HR in MLB last 3 years (130)
  • Most HR in MLB this year (45)
  • Most HR in MLB in 2nd half (24)
  • Most multi-HR games in MLB this year (7)
  • 4th-most HR in a season in Oakland A’s history
  • 6th-most HR in a season in A’s franchise history

Set the goalpost anywhere you want, and Khrush is the leader. Long-term over the last three years, or just this season, or more recently just since the All-Star break, or even hitting a couple in one single game. He’s consistently the best. Making it even more impressive is that he plays his home games in the Coliseum, which usually eats power for lunch. Davis, though, is strong enough that he can stand there in the 10th inning on a chilly late-September coastal evening and just flick his arms without using his lower body and still send it out 400 feet to the opposite field.

The race for the MLB lead is pretty much down to Khrush and J.D. Martinez of the Red Sox, who stands at 41 entering Saturday (four behind). In the bigger three-year picture, Giancarlo Stanton is nine back at 121. Khrush is one of the best at barreling up the ball, according to Statcast, and his average exit velocity is up there with just about anyone.

We’ve already talked about how he’s having a career year, and pacing the league, and how he’s the first player in Oakland history to hit 40+ in three straight seasons. Now he’s made the career-high official, as he’s jumped from 42 in 2016, to 43 last year, and now 45 this summer. As for that part about being sixth in franchise history, here’s the updated list, with eight games still remaining for him to continue climbing:

1. Jimmie Foxx, 58 (1932)
2. Mark McGwire, 52 (1996)
3. Mark McGwire, 49 (1987)
4. Jimmie Foxx 48 (1933)
5. Reggie Jackson, 47 (1969)
6. Khris Davis, 45 (2018)

Power has become a prevalent commodity in today’s game, but Davis takes it to another level.

“He’s as good a power hitter as anyone in the game,” said Melvin. “And the effect of this ballpark, not too many guys are hitting ’em out like that, especially the opposite way. It’s one-of-a-kind power.”

Indeed, the slugger’s spray chart is always a joy to behold. He truly can hit it out anywhere in the park.

via FanGraphs

Baseball analysis has come a long way from just handing MVP awards to the hitter with the most homers and RBI, and Khrush doesn’t offer any other tools besides his thump — he doesn’t play defense at all as the designated hitter, he’s not a threat on the bases, and he’s within a few points of his customary .247 batting average. But he’s so game-changingly elite in the one dimension he does possess that it’s easy to understand how he could get a stadium to chant those three letters in his honor.

He even talks like an MVP.

“It’s a number. I don’t keep score. I like to just play, and whatever comes, comes,” Davis said about his league-leading total. “First and foremost, I want to get deep in the playoffs and get there. That means a lot more.”

What else can you say about a guy who keeps coming through, time and time again, year after year?

”I’m at a loss for words,” said teammate Mark Canha after Friday’s walk-off. “He does that, though. He does things that just leave you speechless.”