Many of you will recognize the name Front Row Amy right away, but others of you will need some assistance. Front Row Amy is one of the foremost Brewers fans out there. You can usually spot her behind home plate, keeping score and rooting for her boys. Now, I could tell you her last name…but why do you want to know it? You should just suck it up and call her Front Row Amy, like every other self-respecting Brewers fan. She has become such a big deal, that she has her own website opening up soon: frontrowamy.com . Amy and I recently bonded on our contempt for future HOBWWM nominee Mike Gonzalez. She agreed to help me with this fun little project. Be sure to like her Facebook page and follow her on Twitter.
Nominee: Doug Davis
I was on the fence when Doug Melvin signed Doug Davis as a starting pitcher for the 2010 season. On one hand, he had done alright with the Brewers from 2003-2006 and was touted as a durable innings-eater. On the other hand, he led the league in walks in 2009 and was turning 35 in 2010. Turns out my trepidation was warranted as he was absolutely terrible during his short time in the Brewers starting rotation. I looked back in my 2010 score book to see if I could find a specific game Davis pitched that stood out for me, but there wasn’t one. Every single Davis outing in my score book is an atrocity. Now I do give him the benefit of the doubt. He ended up having elbow problems and a heart condition ended his season in May. Perhaps injury hindered his game. But still, he was one Brewer I won’t miss.
Where to even begin?
Doug Davis was an average pitcher, with average stuff, and an average story. He grew up in California, was drafted by the Angels out of High School, but decided to go on to prestigious schools like Diablo Valley College and City College of San Francisco. After college, the Rangers drafted him in the 10th round of the 1996 draft. He eventually broke into the major leagues during the 1999 season and it is easy to see how he got there so quickly.
Davis’ minor league stats were out of this world good: 67-34, 3.25 ERA, 780 K, 327 BB, 58 HR, and 829 innings pitched. So it is no wonder he flew through the minor league system.
Things only got worse from there. Davis was a serviceable pitcher during his time in Texas, but never quite as good as he was for them in the minors. So when the time came, the Rangers allowed Davis to hit the free-agent market.
Enter the Brewers and what began their long-standing love affair with overpaying below average pitchers. Doug Davis was signed by the Brewers for what ended up being about $24 million over 3 plus seasons.
In his first full season, Doug looked like he might have been worth the money. The guy went 12-12 with a career best 3.39 ERA. In fact, based solely on statistics, 2004 was his best season as a professional. Then he followed it up with a fairly similar line in 2005, going 11-11 with a 3.84 ERA.
Things really took an unfortunate turn in his final (at the time) season as a Brewer. While his record remained consistent (11-11) his ERA catapulted to a 4.91, his walks were up and his strikeouts were waaaaaay down. In fact, he struck out 50 less batters in 2006 then he did in 2005, while walking a dozen more. Luckily, the Brewers had higher hopes of signing worse pitchers…so they traded Doug Davis. In a unique bit of serendipity, the D’Backs sent us fellow HOBWWM 2013 nominee Johnny Estrada in exchange for Doug Davis.
So, if you base your decision to induct Davis into the Hall of Brewers We Won’t Miss off of what I have presented above, you might feel like he doesn’t belong. That is because you haven’t heard about the return of Doug Davis…
In 2010, the Brewers thought it would be a good idea to put Doug Davis, Jeff Suppan, and Randy Wolf together in a pitching rotation. It wasn’t, but that is a topic for another day. Upon Davis’ return to the Brewers, he performed…dismally. In 8 starts, he went 1-4 with a 7.51 ERA. He was on the DL for the majority of the season, but that small sample size was enough for the Brewers to not pick up his option. He was paid $4.25 million dollars for that 1 win.
There are 3 categories that define a true HOBWWM nominee. Here is how Davis shapes up:
Stats – Very Bad: 38-40, 4.11 ERA, and averaged just under a hit per inning (.964)
Money/Contract - On average, the Brewers paid Davis $750,000 for every win he recorded. OUCH!!!
Likeability – Very nice guy. Had to deal with thyroid cancer. He beat it and came back to win his first game after the procedure. Hard to not root for him with that little jazz cafe soul patch.
Now it is up to you. When it comes time to cast your vote…is Doug Davis a player you Won’t Miss for all of eternity? Or is he just that guy who was just ok at everything? You will have to decide soon enough.
And another special thank you to our guest nominator, Front Row Amy. You are the best, thank you!!!!