Milwaukee Brewers Rotation Battle: Why Zach Davies Deserves A Spot
The battle to make the Milwaukee Brewers starting rotation is reaching its peak right now. There are five pitchers battling for four spots. Zach Davies is one of those candidates.
The Milwaukee Brewers have a tough decision ahead of them as they try to set their starting rotation ahead of the 2019 season. There has been a battle going on all through spring training for the honor of making that starting rotation.
Zach Davies, once a possible cornerstone of this rotation, is one of those battling for a spot in the starting rotation.
The Case For Zach Davies Making The Rotation
It has been a strong spring training for Davies up until Sunday. Against the Dodgers, he gave up six runs in 2.2 innings after trying out a new “mechanical tweak” during that game. Whatever that tweak was, he should probably untweak it because he was pitching well before.
Prior to that bad outing, Davies had allowed eight runs in 13.1 innings across five games. It’s still not a spectacular set of numbers, but he looked a lot better in those outings.
Last season, Davies struggled through a number of injuries. Everytime he seemed close to returning, there was another setback that sat him down for another two weeks. He finally returned in September and was given a few starts, which didn’t go horribly. But when it came down to it, the Milwaukee Brewers wanted an arm at 100% for those crucial games late in the year.
Davies was left off both postseason rosters before replacing an injured Gio Gonzalez in the NLCS. That has left him hungry to get back into the rotation as a trusted member of the starting staff.
Keep in mind, Davies is just 26 years old, the same age as Brandon Woodruff. But Davies is entering his fifth season being in the big leagues, and fourth as a regular rotation option for the Crew. In three of his first four seasons, Davies has posted an ERA+ over 100, meaning he was an above league-average pitcher.
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Davies is a capable back-end starter. He can pitch like a No. 4 starter at times when he’s at his best, but otherwise he’s a No. 5 starter and fans should view him as such. His 17 wins in 2017 may have given some people the belief that Davies is a much better pitcher than he actually is. Pitcher wins are a dumb stat, and you can read more on why here.
Throughout his big league career, Davies has proven to be effective when healthy. Last season, he just wasn’t healthy. It caused him to struggle early on in the season and it led to his struggles when he finally came back at the end of the season. If given another chance in the rotation, Davies will be able to prove that he can make an impact as a fully healthy starting pitcher.
He’s not going to strike many guys out, but Davies pitches to contact and keeps the ball on the ground. Davies struggles at Miller Park, pitching to a 4.77 ERA in his 46 career starts inside The Keg. But on the road, Davies dominates, with a career 3.08 ERA outside of Milwaukee.
Will Zach Davies Make The Rotation?
Davies hurt his chances of making the initial rotation with his poor outing on Sunday. That being said, I still think he winds up in that initial starting five. But I’m not as sure of that outcome as I was a few days ago. The mechanical tweak he was trying serves as a decent explanation for that poor outing, but it doesn’t help his case to make the team.
For Davies, I think his chances are improved by the fact he has pitched the last four seasons in the big leagues and has been effective previously. Last year was a down year for him, but he’ll get an opportunity to rebound before the Crew moves on to the hot shot rookies completely, I would guess.
It’ll be tightly contested, and Davies is likely battling for that last spot in the rotation. His experience should help him get a leg up over the rookies battling for that same spot.
The Milwaukee Brewers are sticking with a lot of depth in their starting rotation as opposed to a lot of star power. Time will tell if that is the right call, but it allows for someone like Davies to remain in the rotation mix.