Going into the 2019 season, it was evident that the Milwaukee Brewers pitching staff needed work. With depth lost due to injuries and the risk of going young, it was a volatile situation.
It was time for some people to step up their game starting on the mound, and Zach Davies definitely proved to the Milwaukee Brewers that he is capable of doing that.
The Brewers went into the 2019 season with Jhoulys Chacin as the opening day starter and then Corbin Burnes, Freddy Peralta, and Brandon Woodruff would follow. It was a debate between Zach Davies and Chase Anderson for that fifth spot in the rotation. Davies’s 2018 season wasn’t one that could be considered ‘fantastic’, and wanted to show that 2019 Zach Davies was a completely different pitcher from 2018 Zach Davies.
Pitching Grade: B+
As the Brewers went into Opening Day of 2019, Davies was setting expectations pretty low after his 2018 season wasn’t the greatest, mostly with battling injuries. But he turned out to be one of the most reliable options the Brewers had in their rotation. He started off the 2019 season on fire, holding a 2.43 ERA with just 15 earned runs and gave up 17 walks in his first 10 starts.
In August of 2019, he was placed on the 10 day IL due to back spasms, but quickly bounced back. Although it was obvious he hadn’t faced any major league hitters, he threw five innings and allowed two runs. Davies ended the season with a 10-7 record, making 31 starts, and a 3.55 ERA. Not something that was ideal for the starting pitcher, but definitely better than his 4.77 ERA in 2018 in just thirteen games pitched.
It was really an up-and-down season for Davies, who vastly out-pitched his peripheral stats in the early part of the season before regression set in. Through six starts in April, Davies had a 1.38 ERA. He had a 3.10 ERA in the month of May, which is where the regression started to set in, posting 4.00+ ERA in the months of June, July, and August. He rebounded with a strong September, posting a 2.31 ERA in five starts.
It definitely was an improvement from the 2018 season, and seeing Zach be the fifth starting pitcher in the rotation was something I always looked forward to. It really was hard to grade Davies for this season as he was very up and down in terms of his stats. Overall, I look forward to seeing what he brings to the 2020 season, I’m hoping to continue to see him in the starting rotation.
When healthy, Davies has proven himself to be a solid back-end rotation option. With his lack of overpowering stuff and reliance on control, Davies has a thin margin for error. With Yasmani Grandal behind the plate this year framing pitches for him, Davies had the best season of his career.
With questions surrounding whether or not Grandal will return to the Milwaukee Brewers next year, Davies is one of the pitchers that benefited from his presence and will certainly want him back.