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Chris Davis, Orioles first baseman

Orioles slugger Chris Davis struggled and then was suspended in 2014 after his 53-homer campaign in 2013.
Orioles slugger Chris Davis struggled and then was suspended in 2014 after his 53-homer campaign in 2013. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

There's no Oriole who will scrutinized more closely in 2015 than slugger Chris Davis. It's really not a stretch to think his performance will go a long way into determining the direction of the 2015 Orioles.

Davis was on top of the baseball world in 2013 when he hit a majors-best 53 homers and finished third in the American League MVP race. That world crashed last year, when he batted .196 and was suspended in September for testing positive for an amphetamine (the ADD drug, Adderall, for which he did not have a therapeutic use exemption).

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Davis, who turns 29 in March, will be a free agent after this season. He is looking at a huge payday if he can re-create his 2013 season. On the flip side, he could be in a different uniform in July if he is not producing or if the Orioles are struggling.

The sting of missing the playoffs last year will stick with Davis throughout next year. According to his manager, Buck Showalter, Davis has obtained a TUE for Adderall, so that shouldn't be an issue in 2015. The question is whether he can bounce back from a nightmare 2014 and again be the player that became a fan favorite, team leader and imposing offensive force.

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(Connolly's pick for 2014: Nick Markakis)

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