OAKLAND – If you've been watching Khris Davis since his time in Milwaukee, you probably noticed a pretty drastic change in his batting stance after he joined the A's.
Davis stands much more upright now and keeps his hands significantly lower than his stint with the Brewers. He says the adjustment was inspired by a Hall of Famer.
"I think I stand a little more like Griffey now," Davis told NBC Sports California, referencing former Mariners great Ken Griffey Jr. "That's what I thought in my head when I made the adjustment. You can see my hands are a little lower. My rhythm is a little different. Whenever I made that adjustment, it clicked right away and I haven't changed much since then."
Davis was already a pretty good power hitter in Milwaukee, belting 49 home runs between 2014 and 2015. But he took it to another level in Oakland, crushing 42 homers in 2016, 43 in 2017 and 48 last season. This year, he leads the majors with 10 round-trippers through 20 games.
"I think the swing changed with the stance," Davis said. "When I had my hands higher, the doubles weren't home runs. Now, the doubles are home runs."
A comparison of Khris Davis' batting stances in Milwaukee (left) and Oakland (right). "You can see my hands are a little lower," Davis told NBC Sports California.
Added A's manager Bob Melvin: "I've seen video in the past and everybody makes adjustments from time to time over the course of their career. But what I know is what I've seen here, and it's been all pretty good. You don't need to make too many adjustments when you're hitting 40-plus home runs a year."
While Davis credits Griffey as the inspiration for his current stance and swing, NBC Sports California analyst Bip Roberts sees another former All-Star: longtime Cincinnati Reds outfielder Eric Davis (no relation).
"When we talk about throwing the bat head, Eric Davis was incredibly quick and so is Khris Davis," Roberts explained. "What they're doing is the old school way of hitting, and that's taking the bat head down to the baseball, down through it. And if they get a curveball, they can get under it because they have control of that bat head."
Davis notes that, while his current stance marks a significant change from his Brewers days, it's actually not completely new for him.
"In my head, I've done it throughout my whole life," he said. "The first time I did it when I was young, I hit a home run. That's just the one adjustment I could go to that's worked."
Perhaps the most interesting element of the adjustment is that Davis made it on his own, without the input of A's hitting coach Darren Bush.
"No, that's completely me," Davis said. "Bushy helps me more with the mental side, how to slow the game down. The swing is the swing."
And the swing is effective. Since the start of the 2016 season, Davis leads the majors with 143 home runs.
"Different stances work for different guys," he suggested. "Whatever stance you feel comfortable in is what I recommend."