Khris Davis

Matt Chapman explains what makes friendship with Khris Davis special

Matt Chapman explains what makes friendship with Khris Davis special

OAKLAND -- A's designated hitter Khris Davis is a man of few words. But not around third baseman Matt Chapman.

The power the two of them possess alone combine to make a strong friendship. You notice that anytime you look into the dugout. It's a hug, then it's KD appearing to be more relaxed.

The two are connected from before the Green and Gold days. Both attended and played baseball at Cal State Fullerton.

The Oakland third baseman grew up in the area and was even a bat boy at one point before he was on the team.

"I love me some KD," Chapman told NBC Sports California on Friday during A's Media Day. "I think he's misunderstood a lot of times, and he's a tough nut to crack -- like, not everybody fully understands Khris -- and he also keeps to himself, and I think I poke at him a lot and mess with him and he appreciates that."

Davis had a rough season in 2019, one riddled with substantial injury for the first time in his career. He hit over 40 home runs from 2016 through '18, then his numbers dipped in 2019.

[RELATED: Chappy ranks himself among elite 3B]

Nobody on the team was, or is, worried about KD.

"Me and him just have a special bond," Chapman said. "And it's fun because I feel like I can get him to branch out, so I always take pride in being able to get KD out of his shell."

AL West champions? Five A's predictions for upcoming 2020 MLB season

AL West champions? Five A's predictions for upcoming 2020 MLB season

The A's have yet to make any significant moves during the offseason. The Jurickson Profar trade was the highlight of the transactions thus far, but their needs remain in the bullpen and still finding an everyday second baseman.

With those needs in mind, the outlook for the 2020 season for the Green and Gold remains unknown. What we do know is the team desperately hopes to avoid history repeating itself.

Earlier, I tweeted a bold prediction for the A's to face the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series -- that was pretty bold ... but not necessarily out of the question. 

Here are five more attainable predictions for the A's upcoming season.

Big trade at the deadline

Remember the defeated look on Dallas Keuchel's face in 2017 when the Houston Astros didn't make any significant trades at the deadline? Then -- BOOM -- Justin Verlander was on the team a month later. Yeah, something like that -- only the A's will more than likely not acquire a pitcher like Verlander, no matter how well he pitches at the Coliseum.

It can cause some worry for those excited for the young talent if a trade would require some prospects, but A's vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane likes to keep things interesting. He's mentioned before if the team is around the .500 mark at the deadline, they will be aggressive, especially without that Aug. 31 waiver deadline. 

Here's thinking the A's are one of those aggressive teams. 

Winning the AL West

The Astros have continued to be a thorn in the side of the A's season after season. But that could change in 2020. 

With Houston saying goodbye to Gerrit Cole, who will sport pinstripes next season, that could give a slight edge for the A's to dominate the division. 

Don't worry, we haven't forgotten the fact that the Angels got the studly third baseman Anthony Rendon to assist in making that fight to the finish interesting, but neither have the A's. 

The constant headache of losing the one-and-done wild-card games is a subject A's manager Bob Melvin and general manager David Forst are tired of discussing. It's imperative the team is successful enough to win the division and forgo the game that has forced the A's to pack up and ship out early the last two years.

Just win the whole dang division so the team can skip out on the do-or-die game. 

Chappy, MVP

Matt Chapman is the best defensive third baseman in the game.  His former high school teammate Nolan Arenado has not only praised Chapman, but said the A's star probably better than him at this point.

On top of earning consecutive Gold and Platinum Glove Awards, he's been in AL MVP discussions for the last two seasons as well. That's a start.

His Steamer projections on FanGraphs has him hitting 30 homers next year and increasing his batting average. To be fair, his .249 average last season didn't characterize what he did overall. 

Luzardo, Rookie of the Year

Jesús Luzardo's pitching debut was worth the wait and anticipation. Despite a few setbacks, he owned a 1.50 ERA and 0.667 WHIP while surrendering just five hits in six big-league games and 12 innings.

Across three minor-league teams last season, he was strong as well, with a 2.51 ERA and 57 strikeouts in 43 innings. 

Fans and prospect hounds were left wanting more, and that's exactly what they'll get in 2020. 

He's already listed as the A's intriguing Rookie of the Year possibility next season according to MLB Pipeline, and should be in the A's starting rotation come Opening Day.

Khris Davis returns to form

When Khris Davis was in the midst of his slumps last season, Melvin knew the A's would pick up for him as KD did for the A's when they needed him the most. Davis fell victim to a left hip contusion when he collided with the left-field wall against the Pirates on May 5. 

He wasn't the same after that. Throughout frustrations and loss of confidence, the snowball effect occurred from then on. 

When the season concluded, Melvin and Forst doubled-down on the fact that designated hitter would bounce back. He has to.

[RELATED: Eight memorable moments that defined A's decade]

The .247 consistent hitter who is known for hitting balls over the fence signed a two-year, $33.5 million contract extension with the team last April. 

In 2018, Davis led the league with 48 home runs and now, he leaves a season behind hitting a .220/.293/.387 line with just 23 home runs. 

Watch Batting Stance Guy hilariously imitate past, present A's swings


Watch Batting Stance Guy hilariously imitate past, present A's swings

So ... I went to the World Series before the Washington Nationals were crowned champions. Specifically, I was at Game 2 at Minute Maid Park and was joined by some really cool baseball media people, including Batting Stance Guy.

Never heard of him? That's OK -- let me give you rundown.

His name pretty much says it all. He can mimic any batting stance of a player you throw out there, so I made sure to take advantage of that with some current and former A's players.

You're welcome in advance.

Matt Olson

I immediately wanted Batting Stance Guy to do an Oly impression for a number of reasons. 

For example, the A's first baseman approaches the plate with such confidence and everything managed to work for him in 2018. I noticed he has a specific way he holds the bat and is never short on a pine tar supply as well.

And yes, he earned a souvenir beer cup and used it as a bat because we couldn't get our hands on any lumber at the moment.

What do you think? 

The two-time consecutive Gold Glove Award winner finished his 2019 campaign slashing .267/.351/.545 with 36 home runs in 127 games. 

Khris Davis

This was pretty accurate with just the visual expressions Khrush makes. I'm also a bit unsure how he's able to see, but that's another article.

Still, that shimmy and the hand placement is perfectly on point.

And that swing ...

If only he had his socks up this would have been the most accurate depiction of the A's designated hitter.

[RELATED: Four A's players nominated for inaugural 'All-MLB' team]

Yoenis Cespedes

I know, probably too soon, but I needed to head down memory lane and get a Cespedes swing.

It started out beautifully and not only because he made sure the eyebrows were a prominent part of the entire impression. 

If you notice the details, he doesn't let go of the bat, a characteristic Cespedes possessed back when he was with the A's. He had plenty of time to watch the balls fly over the fence.

Across three seasons with the A's, the two-time All-Star tallied 66 home runs and 229 RBI.

Ahh ... memories. 

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