Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
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Eric Davis
Eric Davis as Seen Through Player Won-Lost Records

Eric Davis was one of the most dynamic players in baseball in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The first table below presents Eric Davis's career as measured by Player won-lost records.

Eric Davis
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1984CIN22
57
6.85.40.5550.5
0.9
7.25.60.5610.61.1
1985CIN23
52
4.53.30.5810.6
0.9
5.03.40.5970.71.1
1986CIN24
127
18.613.60.5782.0
3.2
17.912.70.5852.13.2
1987CIN25
129
20.915.60.5732.1
3.6
20.014.30.5832.33.7
1988CIN26
133
20.614.20.5922.7
4.1
17.013.30.5621.42.6
1989CIN27
131
19.815.60.5591.9
3.2
17.814.20.5561.62.7
1990CIN28
127
18.914.10.5731.9
3.1
16.913.80.5491.02.1
1991CIN29
88
9.08.90.503-0.1
0.6
8.78.10.5180.20.8
1992LAN30
76
7.99.60.452-1.1
-0.5
8.08.70.479-0.60.0
31
130
15.014.60.507-0.2
1.0
15.414.00.5230.31.5
1994DET32
36
3.04.20.417-0.6
-0.3
3.13.70.454-0.3-0.0
1996CIN34
129
15.713.90.5310.6
1.8
15.112.40.5491.12.2
1997BAL35
42
4.93.60.5720.5
0.9
4.73.90.5440.30.6
1998BAL36
131
14.412.10.5440.8
2.1
14.111.70.5460.82.1
1999SLN37
57
5.45.50.495-0.3
0.2
6.16.30.492-0.40.1
2000SLN38
92
8.28.50.490-0.4
0.3
8.17.80.510-0.10.6
2001SFN39
74
4.84.90.497-0.1
0.3
4.55.20.468-0.40.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
1,611
198.5167.50.54210.7
25.2
189.5159.10.54410.624.4
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
25
2.62.50.517 0.22.02.20.476 -0.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
1,636
201.1169.90.542
25.4
191.4161.30.544 24.4


Eric Davis vs. Rickey Henderson
At his best, Eric Davis was one of the best players in baseball. Unfortunately, even at his best, Eric Davis was never able to stay healthy enough to play more than 135 games in a season. Over his 17-year career, Davis was able to play 100 games in a season only 8 times, never more than 135.

In 1987, Eric Davis became the second player in major-league history to hit 20 home runs and steal 80 bases in the same season (and the first to do 30-80). The only other player to do 20-80 was Rickey Henderson, who did so in both 1985 and 1986.

Comparing Eric Davis and Rickey Henderson is instructive, I think, for helping to give a good sense of just how good Eric Davis was.

The next table compares the career records of Eric Davis and Rickey Henderson, as measured by Player won-lost records.

Eric Davis Rickey Henderson
Season Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL
1979
 
8912.312.30.500-0.20.8
1980
 
15826.620.40.5662.44.2
1981
 
10817.713.70.5641.62.9
1982
 
14922.119.00.5391.22.7
1983
 
14520.517.40.5411.22.6
1984576.85.40.5550.5
0.9
14222.517.30.5662.13.6
1985524.53.30.5810.6
0.9
14223.015.90.5913.34.7
198612718.613.60.5782.0
3.2
15320.818.50.5301.02.4
198712920.915.60.5732.1
3.6
9513.410.80.5541.12.2
198813320.614.20.5922.7
4.1
13922.516.70.5742.64.0
198913119.815.60.5591.9
3.2
15022.617.30.5662.13.5
199012718.914.10.5731.9
3.1
13623.814.50.6214.25.6
1991889.08.90.503-0.1
0.6
13319.215.40.5551.73.1
1992767.99.60.452-1.1
-0.5
11517.912.10.5962.73.8
199313015.014.60.507-0.2
1.0
13419.116.50.5371.02.5
1994363.04.20.417-0.6
-0.3
8711.38.90.5581.01.9
1995
 
11214.912.20.5491.12.2
199612915.713.90.5310.6
1.8
14616.014.10.5320.41.6
1997424.93.60.5720.5
0.9
12011.812.20.494-0.40.7
199813114.412.10.5440.8
2.1
15218.118.40.496-0.31.1
1999575.45.50.495-0.3
0.2
12114.714.00.512-0.11.0
2000928.28.50.490-0.4
0.3
12013.914.30.492-0.60.6
2001744.84.90.497-0.1
0.3
12213.212.50.514-0.11.0
2002
 
616.66.70.499-0.20.4
2003
 
301.92.10.474-0.2-0.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS1,611198.5167.50.54210.7
25.2
3,059426.7353.30.54728.759.4


Clearly, Henderson's career was much more valuable, but that's because most of the numbers here are essentially counting stats and Rickey Henderson played in 90% more games than Davis. But look at the one pure rate stat in the above table - player winning percentage. Davis holds his own there compared to Henderson.

The next table, then, compares Henderson and Davis in career value, but per 162 games.

Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
Career (per 162 Games)
Eric Davis
162
20.016.80.5421.1
2.5
19.116.00.5441.12.5
Rickey Henderson
162
22.618.70.5471.5
3.1
22.518.50.5491.63.2
 
1984 - 1990 (per 162 Games)
Eric Davis
162
23.617.50.5742.5
4.0
21.816.60.5682.13.5
Rickey Henderson
162
25.218.80.5722.8
4.4
24.818.70.5702.64.3


Rickey Henderson stayed good longer than Eric Davis. But, in his prime, when healthy, Davis was comparable in value to Rickey Henderson. Unfortunately, Eric Davis was rarely healthy.

Hypothetical Healthy Eric Davis
One thing that I like to do with Player won-lost records is to project how players' careers might have looked with better health or luck. Eric Davis seems like an obvious candidate for such a look.

Eric Davis's career spanned 17 seasons in 18 years (he missed the entire 1995 season). Using 18 as the denominator, Davis averaged 90 games and 341.5 plate appearances per year. His career highs were 135 games (in 1988) and 562 plate appearances (in 1987).

What if that 135 games was his career average rather than his career high? Over 18 years, that would work out to 2,430 games and approximately 9,200 plate appearances. A career total of 2,430 games played would rate 75th all-time, falling between Chili Davis (2,436) and Willie Davis (2,429). It certainly seems reasonable to think that a healthy Eric Davis could have had a career length similar to these other Davises.

Looking at Eric Davis's career record, it seems likely that his injuries affected not only the quantity of his career but also the quality of it. This seems to be most significantly true in 1992 and 1994.

So, putting all of that together, here's what I did.

  • I added 45 games per year to Davis's career (810 games total)
  • For seasons in which Davis played fewer than 110 games, I simply added 45 games to his total
  • For seasons in which Davis played 110 or more games, I capped his full-season total at 155 games
  • Approximately 60% of the leftover games from this capping (165 games total) were added to his 1994 and 1995 seasons to give him 106 games played in 1994 and 125 games played in 1995 (these end up, then, being mostly full, but strike-shortened, seasons)
  • For all seasons except for 1992, 1994, and 1995, I simply increased his Player won-lost record proportional to the increase in his games played
  • For 1992, I set Davis's Player winning percentage equal to the average of his winning percentages in 1991 and 1993
  • For 1994 and 1995, I set Davis's Player winning percentage equal to the average of his winning percentages in 1993 and 1996
Putting all of that together, the next table presents the career record, as measured by Player won-lost records, of a hypothetically healthy Eric Davis.

Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1984
102
12.19.70.5550.9
1.7
12.810.00.5611.01.9
1985
97
8.56.10.5811.0
1.6
9.36.30.5971.42.0
1986
155
22.616.50.5782.4
3.9
21.815.50.5852.64.0
1987
155
25.218.80.5732.5
4.3
24.017.20.5832.84.4
1988
155
24.016.50.5923.2
4.7
19.815.50.5621.73.0
1989
155
23.518.50.5592.3
3.7
21.116.90.5561.93.3
1990
155
23.017.10.5732.3
3.7
20.616.90.5491.22.6
1991
133
13.613.40.503-0.2
0.9
13.112.20.5180.21.2
1992
121
13.313.00.506-0.2
0.9
13.312.30.5210.21.3
1993
155
17.917.40.507-0.2
1.2
18.316.70.5230.31.8
1994
106
12.611.70.5190.2
1.2
12.510.80.5360.61.5
1995
125
14.813.80.5190.2
1.4
14.712.70.5360.71.8
1996
155
18.916.70.5310.7
2.2
18.114.90.5491.32.6
1997
87
10.17.60.5721.0
1.8
9.78.10.5440.51.3
1998
155
17.114.30.5441.0
2.5
16.613.90.5461.02.4
1999
102
9.69.80.495-0.5
0.3
11.011.30.492-0.70.2
2000
137
12.212.70.490-0.6
0.4
12.111.60.510-0.10.9
2001
119
7.87.90.497-0.2
0.5
7.38.30.468-0.70.0
---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ----
Career (adjusted)
2,369
286.8241.40.54315.8
36.8
276.1230.90.54516.036.2


Obviously, that's a much better career record than the one that Eric Davis actually had. So, who would that make Eric Davis comparable to?

The next table shows the ten players most similar to adjusted Eric Davis in terms of total career value, among players for whom I have calculated Player won-lost records.

Player Games pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWOPA eWORL
Eric Davis (adjusted)
2,369
286.8241.415.8
36.8
276.1230.916.036.2
Don Drysdale
544
220.1204.717.3
35.7
223.8211.715.934.8
Bert Campaneris
2,305
288.4281.415.2
38.1
290.7284.714.837.8
Darrell Evans
2,683
302.8259.214.9
37.6
298.8256.614.336.7
Red Ruffing
729
236.2216.917.7
37.4
230.8211.817.336.5
Larry Walker
1,983
266.9214.717.2
36.3
261.8208.817.736.5
Orel Hershiser
516
195.1176.617.7
35.4
193.2178.016.133.8
Luke Appling
2,177
294.7273.813.8
37.1
298.9275.315.238.8
Rick Reuschel
569
219.9205.816.9
35.1
217.5207.314.933.0
Ron Santo
2,243
293.6258.812.7
35.2
287.0245.116.438.0
Rod Carew
2,467
295.1259.816.9
39.2
298.8263.317.039.6


That's an intriguing set of comps: three are in the Hall of Fame, and three others are in Baseball Think Factory's Hall of Merit. I also wrote an article about a seventh player from the above table, who Player won-lost records rates as one of the best players in neither the Hall of Fame nor the Hall of Merit. And an eighth player is not yet eligible for either Hall, but is likely to be an excellent candidate for both.



All articles are written so that they pull data directly from the most recent version of the Player won-lost database. Hence, any numbers cited within these articles should automatically incorporate the most recent update to Player won-lost records. In some cases, however, the accompanying text may have been written based on previous versions of Player won-lost records. I apologize if this results in non-sensical text in any cases.

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