What really strikes me is that Jackson was averaging a HR every 9.4 PA in an era that was allowing one every 45 PA, Davis is at 1 HR every 10 PA in an era that allows one every 35 PA.
Jackson is an outlier beyond Davis.
If he's clean, history tells us that he's probably a good bet to slow down considerably in the 2nd half of the season.
23 Years and Counting...
Big Klu (07-15-2013)
He's always been built like a tree, and been a modicum of plate discipline away from being a consistent 30+ homer threat. Let alone always being recognized as having the potential to be more than that.
There is a clear story to be written that this could be an example of a low probability, high ceiling guy taking time to develop. Say his "true talent" level is "only" being a 40+ homer guy... the half season sample could simply be a statistical aberration of randomness at the highest percentile of one of the game's best power hitters. I don't think it was ever a stretch to suggest that Davis had the ability to be an elite home run hitter. Half a season of unprecedented success does not suddenly mean that he has developed into a true talent 70 home run guy.
Sports aint that much fun if the first assumption we to have to make when someone does something well that he must be cheating. Isn't it possible that he's simply developed good pitch recognition skills? There were signs last season that a big breakout could be coming for Davis.
I guess what I'm trying to say is... half a season worth of a breakout simply isn't sufficient information to start playing the cheat card. If you really want to play the card, I'd at least wait a full season as what we are seeing at the moment, statistically speaking, has not had sufficient time to regress to the mean. Based on that, and Davis' build and long standing pedigree as a potential home run hitting beast, I just don't think it's warranted to suggest that the most logical assumption is that he is a cheater. There are much simpler explanations at this point, and he shouldn't be unfairly criticized purely because you didnt see his success coming (obviously nobody did to this degree).
"No matter how good you are, you're going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you're going to win one-third of your games. It's the other third that makes the difference." ~Tommy Lasorda
But what I'm saying is that without much doubt, this is not his true talent level. There is some kind of "luck" or "randomness" spike that is causing a piece of the dramatic jump.
So when we compare what he "was" before the surge and what he is "now", after the surge, characterizing him based on half a season worth of stats is not really appropriate.
Let's see what he really "is" once his stats regress over an appropriate period before we try to add proper context to his current spike. In a vacuum, yes, going from a OBP challanged .800 OPS hitter to a robot programmed to hit home runs is a pretty significant leap in such a short amount of time. But I'm not really sure what he is yet.
He might really have improved to the true talent level of .950 OPS, 40+ homerun calibre hitter on a half season of favourable randomness or whatever you want to call it. Would it have been completely shocking to see Davis jump up to being that type of hitter? Maybe. It certainly wouldn't be outside the realm of possibility after the strides he showed last season. There are guys who sustain comparable levels of performance to that from season to season. He's certainly put up a historical amount of homeruns to this point, but he's hardly the first guy to OPS 1.100 over 90 games. Davis is doing it in a very unique way that has drawn himself the extra attention. But in the end, I just don't see any 90 game sample being cause to accurately paint a guy as a cheater. He might be performance enhancing. He also might not be. I'm not a proponent of assigning accusations like that with such shoddy evidence being completely assigned a player being successful over a small stretch of time.