Last season BCB readers (sic) participated in our annual ranking of the Brewers’ prospects. Let’s review how those prospects advanced (or not) their standing in the list.
#9: Zach Davies
So this would be our biggest miss. But it was a big miss in a positive way, wasn’t it? Zach went from being the ninth rated prospect in the minor league system to the fifth most valuable player on the major league roster in one season, proving (as if it needed proof) that we don’t know nuthin’.
The things that made Zach so valuable to the Brewers can be reviewed here. I suspect that our low ranking had to do with the things that the Orioles saw when they dealt him for Gerardo Parra: lack of a big frame, less-than-overpowering stuff, reliance on control and changing speeds...we are all enamored of power arms and big guys on the mound. Pitchers like Davies remind us that there is much more to pitching than just throwing hard.
Zach gets it done by keeping the hitters off balance and the ball off of the sweet spot on the bat. He pitches with great composure, and had a few starts that started poorly but became solid starts.
Davies projection rankings gave only a few clues to his future effectiveness. On the 20-80 scale, he ranked 45-50 on the fastball; 45-50+ on the curve; a solid 55-60 on his change, with 50-55 on command. His future value charted at 50. (Rankings from 2014)
After pitching at the end of 2015 and most of 2016 in the majors, Davies has posted a 3.3 WAR and thrown 197.1 big league innings. He has a 19.4% strikeout rate, and a 6.9% walk rate. In 2016, his walk rate was 5.6%. He has allowed 1 home run per nine innings. His WHIP is 1.24. These are impressive numbers, and Zach will hopefully be a solid middle of the rotation guy for several years to come for the Brewers.
Zach Davies will not be making an appearance on the 2017 Brewers Top Prospects list. He is a solidly established major league pitcher at this point. I won’t speculate on what his ceiling is for the Brewers, but he should be a valuable part on the playoff contending clubs that we’ll hopefully be enjoying in the near future.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs