Tonight’s game in Milwaukee was one of the biggest games that a 56 win team can have. With their September call-up Zach Davies on the hill making his debut, a picture of the future was right in front of the fans tonight. While on the surface his final numbers do not look outstanding, here is a look at why the Davies gives hope to the future.
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Pitching on a big league mound for the first time in his career, Davies allowed four runs in 4.1 innings with three walks and three strikeouts. While these numbers don’t jump out as great, Davies worked fast (even if it frustrated Pirates hitters) and was able to stay in control, especially in the early going.
Flashing a solid change-up, which he threw three straight times to strike out Pedro Alvarez, Davies was able to retire nine of the first ten Pittsburgh batters. He even was able to register a hit in his second at-bat and later come around to score a run. Though he ran into trouble, surrendering a home run to red-hot Aramis Ramirez, there was little hard contact from the Pirates off of him.
At just six feet tall and 160 pounds according to baseball reference, some question whether Davies will be able to develop into a solid starter in the major leagues, but his minor league track record is in his favor. Though he is a former 26th round draft pick, the 22-year-old has produced at every level in the minor. In his four years as a professional, he has posted a 3.55 ERA while keeping 2.70 strikeout to walk rate.
Davies isn’t going to overpower anyone, but with solid secondary pitches he can still be a formidable mid-to-backend of the rotation starter for years to come. Gerardo Parra was not going to remain with the club after this season, so getting value like this is certainly a positive for the future. If Davies can turn out to be a Mike Fiers type arm at the bottom of the Brewers rotation, the future is looking bright.