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The Chili Davis Effect

Does he hurt or help?

This is in no way meant to disrespect Chili Davis who had an excellent career in the majors and is a highly respected individual and coach. The Cubs offense has been in a downward spiral the entire season and I would like to know why. Unfortunately, for the hitting coach, the blame may just have to be placed upon him.

First, a quick background on Chili Davis. He played for six different teams between 1981-1999. During his 19-year career, Davis hit .274, had 350 home runs, and 1,372 RBIs, no small feat at all. He was also a three-time All-Star and a three-time World Series champion. The guy knows how to win.

Chili Davis first became a hitting coach with the Oakland Athletics during the 2012 season. He helped bring the Athletics from 20th in total offense in 2011 to the 4th best total offensive team during his last year in 2014. Because of this increase, the Boston Red Sox came knocking and acquired his services.

During the 2017 season, the Red Sox total offense dropped to 10th, decreasing previously from the 2016 season when they were in 1st. Because of this, the Boston Red Sox released Chili Davis from his contract. The Chicago Cubs who had just released John Mallee from their club scooped up Chili Davis believing that they just scored a John Madden size win yet again.

I dug into the cold hard statistical facts to answer my question, does he hurt or help. I compared the 2017 Red Sox and Cubs offensive stats against their 2018 offensive stats. I did not take into consideration any changes or injuries to rosters between the two years.

Boston Red Sox

  • 2017 (With Chili)—ranked 10th in the MLB in total offense. .258 AVG., 168 HR, 735 RBIs, and .329 OBP.
  • 2018 (Without Chili)—rank 1st in the MLB in total offense. .267 AVG., 199 HR, 789 RBIs, and .337 OBP.
  • The year after Chili Davis left the Red Sox batting average rose .009, HR rose by 31, RBIs rose by 54 and the OBP rose by .008.

Chicago Cubs

  • 2017 (Without Chili)—ranked 4th in the MLB in total offense.. .255 AVG., 223 HR, 785 RBIs, and .338 OBP.
  • 2018 (With Chili)—rank 10th in the MLB in total offense. .259 AVG., 163 HR, 695 RBIs, and .334 OBP.
  • The year Chili Davis came to the Cubs batting average rose .004, HR dropped by 60, RBIs dropped by 30 and the OBP dropped by .004.

Some people say a hitting coach should not make that big of a difference but I do not subscribe to that theory, then why have them to begin with. As you can see the Red Sox have significantly improved this year after Chili Davis left, and the Cubs significantly regressed this year with the arrival of Chili Davis.

I never want to place a guy out of a job but he is in a results type position, and according to the stats above his results are not great. To be fair, he had some great years with the Red Sox and improved the Athletics while with them, but it appears he may have lost his mojo during the past couple of seasons.

I hope that the Cubs can rebound just in time for the playoffs, but Cubs fans let us be honest. How many of you thought we would have rebounded already? I am not saying our year is over, far from it, I firmly believe another Championship is in view this year. I just wonder if our year could have gone smoother with a different hitting coach.