February 14, 2017
Tale of the Tape
Khris Davis vs. Miguel Sano
Bret shirked his duties of feeding me an angle for this because he was drafting in mixed-league LABR or some inexcusable nonsense like that. I took off my own training wheels and immediately noticed an interesting contrast between back-to-back outfield picks who could not be more similar: Khris Davis and Miguel Sano. At 24th and 25th among outfielders, respectively, and just outside the overall top 100 with about a 10-pick cushion between them, the two are virtually perfect substitutes in terms of price and skill set. In the tale of the tape, however, one must prevail. I always head into these things with a preconceived notion, but I try not to let it color my bias. I'll be fighting it strongly this time.
If a healthy Michael Brantley is the contemporary pinnacle of contact hitting, Davis is nearly his antithesis. Yet somehow Sano is worse. Only twice in 2016 did Sano's rolling 15-game average strikeout rate (K%) ever fall below Davis' full-season 27.7% rate, if that's any indication of how whiff-happy the former is. In Sano's defense, he actually recorded fewer swinging strikes than Davis did, and he chases bad pitches very infrequently for not only his hitting profile but all hitters. Unfortunately, he made the least amount of contact on such swings, making him all but helpless against a pitch that's not, for all intents and purposes, "good." Perhaps it's ironic, then, that I wasted so much digital breath when the difference could come down to BABIP -- which, for Sano, has hovered above .350 through his first 800-plus plate appearances. All that has to happen is Sano marginally improve and Davis marginally slip, but if the last two seasons are any indication, neither will happen. Advantage: Davis, barely
This surprised me: the Twins' offense (well, and its position-player defense, too) projects to be a good deal better than Brewers. A turd painted gold is still a turd, however, and both Minnesota and Oakland should be pretty bad offensive teams. Run-scoring opportunities should come few and far between, relatively speaking, and Davis has scored more runs per plate appearance than Sano has since the latter's debut. It's Sano's double-digit walk rate (BB%), then, that gives him the advantage, however slight it may be. Just don't count on either for much in this department. Advantage: Sano, barely