Chris Davis is a powerful hitter, but he's not as powerful as Adam Jones
The longest Camden Yards home run by an Orioles batter this season came off the bat off J.J. Hardy, whose 432-foot homer against Texas' Colby Lewis on May 10 is tops for the O's - and third overall among all Camden Yards batters - so far in 2012. David Ortiz's 442-foot blast against Tommy Hunter on May 21 is the longest 2012 Camden Yards home run among all batters.
Which Orioles batter has the longest home run in any ballpark this year? Again, it's not Davis, who doesn't even rank in the top five in the category. Adam Jones has three of the five longest Orioles home runs this season: 452 feet, 434 feet and 432 feet. The two remaining spots in the top five belong to Matt Wieters (435 feet) and Hardy.
If you were picking among Orioles players to assemble a team for a home-run hitting contest, with no prior knowledge of their stats, Davis would be your first pick. At 6'3", 230 pounds, the burly left-handed batter looks the part of a power hitter. The word used to describe him most often is strong.
Here's what Jim Palmer had to say on MASN when Davis hit his longest drive of the season, a 419-foot shot against the Phillies' Joe Blanton on June 8: "Well, a big strong guy, he can hit it just about anywhere." It was the third-longest home run at Camden Yards among O's batters this season and the 11th-longest overall at Camden Yards in 2012.
Davis' strength was again front of mind when he hit a broken-bat homer against the Pirates on June 13. Said Jim Hunter during the broadcast: "On a broken bat, Chris Davis hits a home run. How strong is he?" During the MASN postgame show, Rick Dempsey suggested Davis could hit 40 or 50 home runs this season. His career high is 21.
It's not just Orioles announcers who are enamored with Davis's strength and his high, majestic homers. Davis went deep on May 25 against the Royals after losing his bat on a previous swing. At the crack of the bat, a Fox Sports Kansas City announcer said, "Uh oh, speaking of the Warehouse." The ball didn't even reach Eutaw Street. At 396 feet, it barely cracks the top 50 for longest Camden Yards home runs this season.
I, too, am smitten with Davis' power in both its real and imagined forms. I have a Crush on Crush. I haven't been this excited about a lefty slugger since Sam Horn (minus 64 games in 1996 when Steady Eddie returned to town). I said to myself during that June 13 broken-bat game, "This is the guy who's going to hit the Warehouse." I still believe that even after looking at the actual long ball numbers.
However, what the numbers have forced me to acknowledge is that while Davis is undoubtedly powerful, his is not the most powerful bat in the Orioles lineup. That honor belongs to Mr. Jones (hat tip: Joe Angel).
Jones leads Davis in overall home runs by six, and the gap between the distances of their longest long balls this season grows even wider. Jones' longest home run, a shot off the third-deck facade in Toronto, went 452 feet. That's 33 feet longer than Davis' longest homer in 2012. Overall, Jones has five home runs this year that have traveled a longer distance than any one of Davis' moon shots.
None of these facts dampens my enthusiasm for Chris Davis. I'll continue to enjoy every moment of him raining home runs on Orioles opponents this season. However, I'll now be more deliberate in saying this of Adam Jones after his home runs: "He's strong." Because that is reality.