Khris Davis, MLB’s 2018 home run king, signs with Atlantic League’s Kentucky Wild Health Genomes


Khris Davis, who led Major League Baseball with 48 home runs during the 2018 season, signed with the Kentucky Wild Health Genomes of the Atlantic League. The team also announced a deal with former big league reliever Gabriel Moya.

Davis, 34, hasn’t been heard from since parting ways last season between the Texas Rangers and Oakland Athletics. In 42 games, he batted .206/.272/.363 (76 OPS+) with three home runs in 114 plate appearances. Those efforts marked Davis’ third straight disappointing season, a streak that saw him post an 81 OPS+ and home run just 28 times in 205 games.

Prior to that three-year span, Davis had been one of MLB’s top hitters. Indeed, in the previous three seasons before that, he hit for a 131 OPS+ while throwing 133 homers in 454 games. Davis was even considered an MVP for his performances in the 2017 and 2018 seasons: he finished 22nd in 2017 and eighth the following year, the same seasons in which he won the home run crown.

Davis, obviously unable to land a minor league contract with an MLB organization, would try to salvage his career with a rotation on the independent league circuit.

The Atlantic League has long been considered the best indy league in the United States, a capable springboard for veterans or unheralded players who want to land or find their way back into the farm system of a big league team. In recent years, the Atlantic League has become affiliated with MLB, a relationship that has at times tested the patience of league players, as the league’s purpose has apparently shifted from a system of talent feed to a system for rule adjustments.

The Genomes, for their part, employed a number of former big league players in their inaugural season, including Chris Shaw, Jimmy Paredes and Félix Pié.

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