Written by Tony Pente
|Zach Davies - RHP|
|6-0||165||R||R||2/7/93||26th Rd (2011)|
Scouting Grades - Definitions
|Major League Target Date||2015|
2012 Stats - Full stats
Bio: When the Orioles drafted this short, skinny right-hander in the 26th round of the 2010 draft and then paid him $575,000 to give up his commitment to Arizona State, they had visions of another outstanding Arizona State pitch in Mike Leake. But as one American League scout said, "there are not a lot of Mike Leake's." That of course is true, but when you consider that Leake put up very similar numbers at the same age as Davies at Arizona State (3.49 ERA, .254 OAVG, 8.6 K/9, 1.6 BB/9) against far inferior competition, the similarities should begin to get Orioles fans excited. Despite the jump in competition, Davies' peripherals improved as his K rate went up (8.0 at Frederick vs 7.2 at Delmarva) and his BB and HR rates went down (2.3 BB/9 vs 3.6 BB/9 and 0.6 vs 0.9 HR/9).
Stuff: Davies' strength is his ability to command all of his pitches within the strike zone. His fastball sits 89-92 mph with some good arm side run. He can sink it as well and can bore it in on right-handers at times. His change up improved so much that it became a swing and miss pitch and his most consistent off speed offering. He shows good arm speed on the 79-82 MPH pitch and gets good fade and sink. In addition, he tightened up his curveball and at times it can be a plus pitch. He'll also mix in a slider/cutter on occasion. Overall, Davies has two plus offspeed offerings at times and commands his fastball well enough in all quadrants of the strike zone that he's able to have success without premium velocity. The book on small pitchers as that they won't hold their stuff, but Davies is able to keep his stuff to 100 pitches on most occasions.
Pitchability and Intangibles: Davies impresses scouts the most with his ability to command all his pitches. He has excellent feel for pitching with a clean, repeatable delivery that suggests injury concerns are at a minimum. He's fearless on the mound and goes right at hitters with what one insider called, "An ultra-competitive edge." He holds runners well (only 11 SBs against) and is a good fielder.
Conclusion: If Davies was 6-foot-4 with his same exact repertoire he would be on everyone's top prospect list. Since he looks closer to the batboy than Ace, many observers underestimate him, but more and more scouts are starting to believe in him. Most feel he's a fourth starter or swingman at worse, but some are starting to think he's going to move fast due to his advanced feel for pitching. There may be pitchers in the system with better overall stuff, but none can command as many pitches as he can. Though he's the same age (two months older) than fellow O's prospect Eduardo Rodriguez, and despite the fact he put up very similar stats at Frederick, he doesn't get nearly the publicity as the Southpaw. Davies should spend 2014 in Double-A though if he pitches well enough, it would not be surprising to see him end the year in AAA at 21-years old. Davies' most likely role will be as a number four starter but his upside is a 3rd starter if he can hold up over an entire season. Don't count out this kid reaching his upside.
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