Davis ready to help Frisco in title chase

Frisco third baseman Chris Davis has been one of the top players in the Rangers organization this season, as he has reached the Double-A level at age 21. Lone Star Dugout features the power-hitting third baseman, who already has two home runs in six games with the Frisco RoughRiders.


When third baseman Chris Davis was promoted to Double-A Frisco last Thursday, he became the second native Texan to make his return to the Lone Star State in a week.

"It's awesome," said Davis of returning to his home state. "It's something I've dreamed of ever since I began playing pro ball. A personal goal for me was to get back here and hopefully play in front of my home crowd."

At 21 years of age, Davis was considered young for the High-A California League. The Cal League posed little challenge for him, however, as he led the circuit in home runs (24) and runs batted in (93) at the time of his promotion.

Davis feels he matured a great deal while playing with the Blaze.

"I felt like I became more of a complete player both mentally and physically," he said. "I give a lot of credit to my hitting coach and my manager there. Obviously we would have liked to win more games, but I feel we made a lot of strides of improvement as a team."

While he was in Bakersfield, Davis tied the California League record 35-game hitting streak. Though he was hot at the time, he credits much of his streak to luck.

"It was just one of those things where I felt good on some days and I felt bad on some days," said Davis. "On days I felt bad, I just managed to get hits however they come. I just kind of got lucky a few games."

Yet another impressive stat of Davis' was his six grand slams in just 99 games with Bakersfield, a feat that no major leaguer has ever accomplished in a 162 game season. The Longview, Texas, native says he's always preferred to hit with runners on base.

"I've always liked to hit with runners on," replied the 21-year-old. "I just feel I bear down a little more and concentrate a little harder. That was just kind of a freak thing."

Davis is also quick to credit Bakersfield teammate Taylor Teagarden for taking walks ahead of him in the lineup.

"I give a lot of credit to Teagarden," Davis said of hitting with runners on base. "He was really patient at the plate and took his walks when he had opportunities to drive in runs."

Before Davis transferred to Navarro Junior College, he played with Teagarden for a semester at the University of Texas in 2005. Davis also played with the catcher at Bakersfield this season before being promoted at nearly the same time. Davis believes being able to move up with Teagarden will help him adjust to the Texas League.

"You build relationships in baseball and knowing him before I came here was a good thing," said Davis. "He's a guy a like, he's a guy I respect a lot. I'm proud to be playing here with him and the Frisco RoughRiders."

A left-handed hitter, Davis hit a whopping .340 off southpaws with Bakersfield this season. Though he isn't sure what causes it, he says he's always been successful against lefties.

"Since I was little, I've always hit left-handed pitching a little bit better," he said. "I can't really tell you why. It's not anything I do different. Maybe I concentrate a little harder knowing a lefty is up there. It's just something I've always been able to do."

Playing in the notoriously hitter-friendly California League, the Navarro product believes the league's small ballparks and big jet streams can be both beneficial and detrimental to a hitter's development.

"You hit some balls that you didn't hit as well as you thought and they still get out," explained Davis. "At the same time, there are times you know a home run would tie it up and you push a little too hard for it. I think it works both ways, for and against you."

In his first full season at the hot corner, Davis is pleased with the progression he has made in the field.

"[My defense] has come a long ways, but it still has a long way to go," he said. "I really worked hard this year with Carlos [Subero] in Bakersfield to correct my flaws. Most of it is my footwork. That's just something I'm going to have to work hard on everyday."

Many believe the jump from High-A to Double-A is the biggest in all of minor league baseball. However, Davis, who skipped Low-A ball this season, is not worried.

"Everybody said that skipping Low-A ball was going to be a big jump," said Davis, "and it was. Obviously this is another level, but I think a lot of the things are the same. It's still the same game, just with a better atmosphere and some more fans out here. I've started to tell myself it's the same game and I'm trying to do the same routine everyday."

One of Davis' few weaknesses with Bakersfield was his shortage of walks, as he drew just 22 in 99 contests. But as the 6-foot-3 slugger makes the jump to Frisco, he knows what he must do to correct that issue.

"Lately I've been trying to shrink my strike zone a little bit," he said. "I want to keep myself from chasing pitches."

Davis left a Bakersfield club that currently sits at 47-66, 16 games out of first place in the California League's Northern division. He now joins a Frisco team that has already clinched a berth in the Texas League playoffs. Davis intends to enjoy the experience of his first professional playoff race.

"It's awesome," said Davis of being dropped into the middle of a playoff race. "You get back into the mix of things, guys are working hard, and you have something to play for. It's a good thing to be a part of."


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