Chris Davis. Trevor Rosenthal. Once some of baseball’s premier and most highly coveted ball players at their respective positions. Two players who at one point each received MVP votes (Davis was third in ‘13 and 14th in ‘15, Rosenthal was 17th in ‘15), now can’t seem to do even the most basic function of their job. This raises the question: If Trevor Rosenthal were to pitch to Chris Davis, what would happen?
Major League Baseball’s record holder for the longest hitless streak is now Christopher Lyn Davis of the Baltimore Orioles. He has not recorded a hit in his last 49 at-bats, dating back to Sept. 14 of last year. However, in a matchup with the man with the infinite ERA, Trevor Rosenthal of the Washington Nationals, he would reign supreme. Rosenthal is coming off Tommy John surgery and is generating a swing percentage of 31.6 percent, which is the lowest of his career and down nearly 18 points from his 2017 campaign. In a small sample size of nine games, Davis’ hard contact rate is actually the highest of his career at 46.2 percent, according to FanGraphs. The balls just are not falling or flying. He has yet to make soft contact, but his strikeout rate is the highest of his career, despite holding two of the highest strikeout total seasons in Major League history. If Davis is able to get a hold of one of Rosenthal’s high-octane pitches, that actually is in the zone, it could go far. The question is, will Rosenthal be able to throw him a strike?
So what if Trevor Rosenthal has an infinite ERA? Other people have had infinite ERAs before, that’s nothing new. What is new is Chris Davis going 0-49, which has never been done before in the history of Major League baseball. Like, this is unprecedented how bad Davis is now. It’s a really sad fall from grace. Davis used to be one of the best players in baseball. In 2013, he led the league with 53 home runs and 138 RBIs while having an OPS of over 1.000. He would have won the AL MVP if it weren’t for Miggy and Trout. Now, he can’t even get one measly hit. Trevor Rosenthal just HAS to win by default, because no one can be as bad as Davis. Sure, Rosenthal has had some control issues as of late, but he’s only pitched to nine batters all season. Davis has come to the plate over three times as many times, meaning he has had three times as many chances to do his job and still hasn’t been able to. I bet that if you give Rosenthal 23 more chances to retire a single batter, he will. Then he will have done his job one more time than Davis.
While yes Rosenthal has had less opportunity to record an out this season, what we are considering is getting one man out: Chris Davis. Chris may be much worse than he once was, but he can still do his job. He has walked at almost a 13 percent rate this season and Rosenthal has walked 44 percent of batters faced this season. There is quite a chance that Rosenthal’s lack of control would lead to a walk in this scenario. Therefore, Davis would win as he gets on base, also known as doing his job. Whereas Rosenthal would not be executing his job of getting Davis out, just as he has failed to do all season long.
The thing with Rosenthal is that, according to FanGraphs, he has thrown the ball in the strike zone exactly 50 percent of the time, so all he has to do is get Chris to swing at the ball. Odds are he will miss, seeing as half of his at-bats have ended in strikeouts. But, if by some miracle he does make contact, well, you said it yourself. The balls are just not falling or flying for him. If Rosenthal can just keep throwing strikes at the same rate he has been all season, he should be in good enough shape to retire the worst hitter in baseball.
Mike Mavredakis is a campus correspondent for the Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Jorge Eckardt is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.