OAKLAND -- For all of the positive developments in the A's 2019 season, there still is one giant unsolved mystery.
What in the world happened to Khris Davis?
After recording at least 40 home runs and 100 RBI in each of his first three seasons with the A's, while incredibly batting .247 all three years, Davis plummeted back to earth this year. The 31-year-old slashed just .220/.293/.387, all career-worsts, with only 23 homers and 73 RBI.
"I know it was frustrating for Khris," A's executive vice president Billy Beane said. "I think he probably put a lot of pressure on himself. Khris takes a lot of pride in his role on the team and being that guy who's the 40-homer, middle-of-the-lineup guy. I think he was trying to find the answer as much as anybody, and it certainly wasn't for a lack of effort on his part or the coaching staff's.
"But we expect him to come back next year and return to his annual 40-homer, .247 (batting average)."
Davis actually got off to a tremendous start this season, batting .265 with 10 home runs and 19 RBI in his first 17 games. A week later, he signed a two-year, $33.5 million contract extension. That's when everything started to go wrong.
In his next 14 games, Davis failed to hit a home run, batting a lowly .189 during that stretch. Then on May 5, he collided with the left-field side wall in Pittsburgh, suffering a left hip contusion. From that point on, Davis hit 13 long balls in his final 97 games.
"The injury kind of sidetracked him," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "He wasn't injured at the end of the year. For a guy that's used to being 'the guy' and is consistent at .247 with 40-something home runs and 100 RBI, it's hard. It's hard. You can get down on yourself and you can lose confidence.
"And then when it continues, it starts to snowball on you a little bit, and I think that was the case with him."
The question now is whether Davis can find a way to revert to the Khris Davis of old. Both Melvin and Beane are confident that he can and will.
"I expect him to come back and produce like he always has, and I know he expects the same thing," Melvin said. "Sometimes you just need a little bit of distance from a difficult year. When you look at the back of a baseball card, there's always going to be a year -- your worst year is going to be on there.
"He's been so consistent for us that it stands out, but I think he and we expect him to come back and do the things he has in the past."
Beane is on the same page as his manager regarding Davis' future, too.
"He'll come back and he should be healthier. He had some little injuries at the beginning of the year that possibly could've been a factor. He hasn't used that as an excuse, to his credit. But they were there. He had the collision with the wall in Pittsburgh and then other issues as well. Again, he didn't use it as an excuse, but it's quite possible that there were some things that happened as a result of those injuries that messed with his mechanics a little bit.
"But he's got the offseason to forget about it and come back like we know he can."