Zach Davies

From BR Bullpen

Zachary Ryan Davies

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Biographical Information[edit]

Starting pitcher Zach Davies began playing in the Baltimore Orioles minor league system in 2012. He was taken by the club in the 26th round of the 2011 amateur draft. Scouted by John Gillette, he signed for a $575,000 bonus.

Davies pitched for the Delmarva Shorebirds in 2012, going 5-7 with a 3.86 ERA in 25 games (17 starts). ranked him the Orioles' 16th-best prospect entering the 2013 campaign. That year, he went 7-9 with a 3.69 ERA in 26 starts, striking out 132 batters in 148 2/3 innings for the Frederick Keys. He began 2014 with the Double-A Bowie BaySox.

On July 31, 2015, he was traded straight up to the Milwaukee Brewers in return for starting major league outfielder Gerardo Parra. He was brought up to the majors for the first time in September of that year and made 6 starts, going 3-2, 3.71 and pitching 34 innings for the Brewers.

Davies played his first full major league season in 2016, making 28 starts and going 11-7, 3.97 for Milwaukee, with 135 strikeouts in 163 1/3 innings. While his season did not receive much publicity, it was quite solid given the Brewers finished 16 games below .500. With the team much improved in 2017, he emerged as one of two pitching aces on the team, alongside Jimmy Nelson, and took over that mantle by himself when Nelson went down with a season-ending shoulder injury on September 9th. The next day, he took over the major league lead for wins that season by recording #17 in a 3-1 defeat of the Chicago Cubs as Milwaukee was in a tight race for a postseason slot, vying either to overtake the Cubs for the NL Central title, or to qualify as the second wild card team. He finished the campaign at 17-9, 3.90, leading the National League with 33 starts and logging 191 1/3 innings.

The Brewers were hoping for big things out of Zach in 2018, but he had a disappointing season. He started the year slowly and was just 2-5, 5.23 in his first 8 starts before going on the disabled list on May 30th with inflammation in his right shoulder. He only returned on September 2nd, with the Brewers once again in the middle of a playoff race. He pitched better over his first 4 starts after coming back, but all he had to show for it was an 0-2 record in spite of an ERA of 3.32 over 19 innings. He finished the year at 2-7, 4.77 in 13 starts. he appeared just once in the postseason, pitching a scoreless inning in relief in Game 5 of the NLCS, a 5-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. In 2019, he was healthy the entire season and made 31 starts, going 10-7, 3.55 and logging 159 2/3 innings. He was not used in the Wild Gard Game, which the Brewers lost to the Washington Nationals. On November 27th, he was traded to the San Diego Padres, alongside young OF Trent Grisham, in return for P Eric Lauer and IF Luis Urias.

Although he was not the Padres' most heralded pitcher in 2020, given the emergence of a number of promising youngsters such as Dinelson Lamet and Chris Paddack, and the mid-season acquisition of Mike Clevinger, Davies was the most reliable one, building a record of 7-4, 2.73 in 12 starts. He pitched 69 1/3 innings and allowed just 55 hits, while striking out 63 and walking 19. He was completely back to the form that had seen him win 17 games in 2017, but the Padres did not see him as an ace, largely because his style was not that of a dominant ace starter overpowering everyone in site, but rather that of a control pitcher exploiting his opponent's weaknesses to frustrate them. The Padres finally became a winning team after a few tantalizing season when they could not get over the hump, and made it to the postseason. With both Lamet and Clevinger sidelined with health issues, Davies started Game 2 of the Wild Card Series against the St. Louis Cardinals on October 1st in a must-win situation, but he was rocked for 5 hits and 4 runs in 2 innings and was long gone by the time the Padres pulled out a spectacular, come-from-behind 11-9 win. He returned to the mound to start Game 2 of the Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on October 7th, and while he lasted longer, he gave up 4 runs on 9 hits in 5 hits to be charged with a 6-5 loss. On December 28th, he was the lone player with major league experience to be sent to the Chicago Cubs in a blockbuster trade for P Yu Darvish and C Victor Caratini; accompanying him were four prospects, Reginald Preciado, Owen Caissie, Ismael Mena and Yeison Santana.

Davies was one the key members of a strong Cubs starting rotation in 2021. On June 24th, he pitched six hitless innings in a start against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. He was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the top of the 7th, having already thrown 94 pitches. Manager David Ross explained after the game that his pitch count was simply too high for him to continue: "The hard part is taking out a guy that hasn't given up a hit [but] I didn't see him going nine for sure." The Cubs' bullpen had been outstanding all season and that game was no exception, as Ryan Tepera, Andrew Chafin and Craig Kimbrel each pitched a hitless inning to complete the combined 4-0 no-hitter, the seventh of the season. Interestingly, the four pitchers did not give up a hit, but allowed 8 walks to their opponents in the game, and the 5 walks issued by Zach contributed to his high pitch count.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 15 Wins Seasons: 1 (2017)

Further Reading[edit]

  • Megan Garcia: "Cubs combine to throw record-tying no-hitter",, June 25, 2021. [1]
  • Jesse Rogers: "Chicago Cubs' Zach Davies, three relievers combine for MLB's 7th no-hitter",, June 25, 2021. [2]

Related Sites[edit]