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

USATSI

Khris Davis, who led Major League Baseball in home runs with 48 during the 2018 season, has 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, has not been heard from since he split last season between the Texas Rangers and Oakland Athletics. In 42 contests, he batted .206/.272/.363 (76 OPS+) with three home runs across 114 plate appearances. Those efforts marked Davis’ third consecutive underwhelming season, a stretch that saw him post an 81 OPS+ and homer just 28 times in 205 games.

Prior to that three-year span, Davis had been one of MLB’s premiere sluggers. Indeed, in the three previous seasons before that, he hit for a 131 OPS+ while launching 133 home runs in 454 games. Davis even earned MVP consideration for his performances in both 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, evidently unable to land a minor-league contract from a MLB organization, will attempt to salvage his career with a spin on the independent league circuit.

The Atlantic League has long been held as the top indy league in the United States, a capable springboard for veteran or otherwise unheralded players who want to land with or find their way back into a big-league team’s farm system. In recent years, the Atlantic League has become affiliated with MLB, a relationship that has, at times, tested the patience of the league’s players as the league’s purpose has seemingly shifted from being a feeder system for talent to one for rule tweaks.

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