By Nick Recchia
RHP - ZACH DAVIES
PHOTO CREDIT: SAN DIEGO UNION TRIBUNE
In November of 2019, the San Diego Padres and Milwaukee Brewers consummated a four player deal that landed SS Luis Urias and SP Eric Lauer in Milwaukee while OF Trent Grisham and SP Zach Davies heading to Petco. While most of the talk has centered around the heralded position players in the deal, the acquisition of Davies has largely been overlooked by critics of the team that wanted the rotation improved. For every herculean effort Lauer would provide against the Dodgers, he would get shell shocked against the Rockies showing an inconsistent pattern of performance.
Davies is not the pitcher who will wow you with the radar gun readings, but will entertain you in the art of pitching. He will throw to all quadrants of the strike zone, will change speeds and eye levels all while avoiding patterns for the hitter to read into. He will utilize a two seam fastball that sits in the 88-92 range with great lateral run. His change up will compete with Chris Paddacks as the best on the team at 78-81 mph while his 72-76 mph curve is a true eye level changer. His change up and cutter, which usually sits in the 87-89 range, are two useful tools he uses to keep left handed hitters off balance. His splits were about neutral in 2019 with southpaws hitting .254/.315/.436 and right handed hitters batting .258/.312/.395. His pitch usage backs up the pitchability aspect with Davies utilizing his Fastball, Cutter, Changeup mix a whopping 95.7% of the time with his curveball rounding it out. His entire strategy is throwing off hitters timing and comfort level up there since he knows he can’t wind back and throw stuff by guys at this level.
How many six foot 155lb right handers who sit 90 mph on their fastball do you see carve out a career at the Major League level? That is a testament to his pitching abilities. Having a pitcher who can carve up a lineup with guts and guile can only be beneficial to the laundry list of Padres on the pitching staff who do possess that plus stuff. To be able to match guys and guile with pure stuff is what makes pitchers like Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander and Jacob DeGrom some of the best in the business. Having an example in the clubhouse to bounce ideas off of can only be beneficial for young starters like Chris Paddack, Dinelson Lamet, and Co.
The Padres, heading into the 2020 season have some decisions to make with the starting rotation and staff as a whole but one thing is sure, Zach Davies will be in the heart of it. Having a pitcher with his moxie and guile in the middle of the rotation would be a difficult match up when sandwiched between power starters like Dinelson Lamet and Garrett Richards. Ask hitters and they will tell you a pitcher like Davies can ruin your timing (hitters clock) for a handful of games. The Padres hope his calming demeanor and “Bat Boy” nickname fit in nicely on a team with high expectations and pressured situations to come. The baby faced assassin is ready to answer the bell.
Longtime baseball enthusiast who tries to incorporate new age analytics into old school baseball strategy and how the two can coexist in winning harmony. Also a minor league aficionado who delves deep into the farm to share the love of the game from the lower rungs of the minor leagues and up. Always up for sports talk.