Athletics

A's slugger Khris Davis discusses his consistent .247 batting average

A's slugger Khris Davis discusses his consistent .247 batting average

OAKLAND -- One thing synonymous with A's designated hitter Khris Davis -- well, besides home runs -- is the .247 batting average he cannot seem to escape.

For each of the last four seasons, the 31-year-old has finished the season with a .247 batting average. And at one point recently, this happened:

Of course it did. 

I was curious to know what he thinks of it all. Multiple members of the media have told me he would joke about it, but with all the hoopla surrounded around it, does he even care?

"I try not to think about it too much," Davis told NBC Sports California. "But it's kind of a weird coincidence, I suppose. No one's ever done it, so it's kind of a proud accomplishment."

"But at the same time, I wish it was higher," he laughed. "But at least it's consistent. It's just one of those weird things that's kind of fun to talk about."

He doesn't think about it when he goes up to the plate either ... at least he tries not to, he said. And with baseball being obsessed with the numbers game, he's liking the relationship between him and that number to a certain extent. 

"It's brought some conversation, but yeah I'm glad they know who I am."

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And they certainly do.

Davis signed a two-year, $33.5 million extension with the A's last week, keeping him in Oakland through the 2021 season. And as fun as the .247 average is, many, including him, are hoping he can finish with a higher average this season.

How A's slugger Matt Olson is beating shifts with bunting ability

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NBC Sports California

How A's slugger Matt Olson is beating shifts with bunting ability

OAKLAND — When you think of the MLB leaders in bunt hits, A's slugger Matt Olson probably doesn't come to mind.

At 6-foot-5, 230 pounds, Olson is not exactly fleet of foot. He's also one of the game's premier power hitters, launching 58 home runs in his first 250 games, an average of 38 per 162 games.

Yet here we are, nearly a third of the way into the season, and Olson is tied for the American League lead with three bunt hits. And he has done it in just 19 games.

Olson laid down his most recent bunt single in Saturday's 6-5 win over the Mariners, beating the shift in the first inning.

"Honestly, I think it's always in play unless it's kind of late in the game and I'm a tying or go-ahead run, something where driving the ball would be big for us," Olson told NBC Sports California. "Other than that, it's free reign in my mind. As long as I keep getting shifted, I'm going to keep taking those free hits and see how the defenses adjust to it."

The 25-year-old has seen a steady diet of infield shifts since he rose to prominence last season. For the most part, opposing defenses will leave the entire left side of the infield open, almost daring Olson to bunt.

"Any time you have the ability to lay a bunt down to scoot the field back over, I think it's going to play to his favor," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "I mean, they play everybody on the other side. They even had four outfielders on him (earlier this season), just giving up that side of the field. He's done it with one strike too.

"A lot of times, it's, throw a strike and then everybody moves back. He's done it a few times. The more he does that, the more honest they're going to have to play him."

[RELATED: Melvin expects Rodney to keep pitching after A's DFA'd him]

Olson laughed at the idea that he's an elite bunter. He works on it occasionally, but when the infield shifts are that extreme, he doesn't have to be anywhere near perfect to get the job done.

"Maybe once in a blue moon, I get out off the machine and just see some velocity and do it," he said. "It's something that I want to continue to do. As long as they're giving it to me, which I'm sure they will continue to do, I'm going to take advantage of it."

Why A's want surging Josh Phegley to keep hitting at bottom of lineup

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USATSI

Why A's want surging Josh Phegley to keep hitting at bottom of lineup

OAKLAND — Josh Phegley is off to the best start of his career. Entering Saturday, the A's catcher was slashing .276/.317/.474 with five home runs and 28 RBI.

Phegley's .276 batting average leads the team and his 28 RBI are tied for second, behind only Khris Davis. The 31-year-old has arguably been Oakland's best hitter this season, and he has done it from the number nine spot in the order.

That begs the question, should the A's move Phegley up in the lineup? Bob Melvin says no, at least for now.

"The way everybody's been swinging recently, I think just leave him there and let him do his thing," the A's manager said. "We've been winning games with the bottom of the order at times. ... I think the balance in the lineup is great."

Melvin has a point. Jurickson Profar and Ramón Laureano have also been swinging hot bats at the bottom of the lineup. Profar has five home runs and 13 RBI this month, while Laureano is on a seven-game hitting streak, batting .357 during that stretch.

"I feel like our lineup works well the way it is," Phegley told NBC Sports California. "I kind of take pride in seven, eight, nine in our lineup. There's no easy spot in our order for pitchers. They get down to seven, eight, nine, and they know they still have to have it locked in. There are no easy outs. We're doing it one through nine and I'm happy with where I'm at."

[RELATED: Melvin expects Rodney to keep pitching after being DFA'd]

It certainly makes sense to leave the lineup alone during this current seven-game winning streak. As the old saying goes, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

However, it's certainly an idea worth revisiting later this season, especially if anyone starts to slump. Phegley has looked more like a cleanup hitter than a No. 9 option, but for now, he's a terrific luxury at the bottom of the lineup.