For my first minor league game of the year I headed up to Frederick to see RHP Zach Davies on the mound against the Winston-Salem Dash (CHW).
Davies is a small framed pitcher, barely weighing 160 lbs. He was easily the smallest person on the field. Size does not always matter though.
Davies displays a quick arm, really making it feel like he throws faster than the radar gun says. He works quick and has a fluid delivery without many moving parts.
On this date, Davies pitched extremely efficiently and effectively. He was able to keep roughly 80% of his pitches below the top of the zone, which is important considering he does not have great “stuff”. He was able to pound the lower half of the zone at an exceptional rate.
His 4-seam and 2-seam fastball were commanded well the entire night, often spotting them on the outside corners. The Change was extremely effective tonight, as he was able to record both his strikeouts on them and I recorded 10 swings-and-misses on the 19 he threw. This was probably the best I have ever seen his change. When they were not missing the change, they were rolling over on it. Davies recorded 12 ground balls during this game, which is a terrific number through 6.0 innings (18 outs recorded).
His only true mistake on the night was a high fastball that was rocketed for a HR. I have circled this pitch in red on the chart below. Otherwise he was very productive with very few hard hit balls. Another note of importance was that Davies gradually used his secondary pitches more with each inning that passed (the 2nd and 3rd times through the lineup). He was mostly throwing fastballs beforehand.
Overall, Davies has not changed much since the last time I saw him. He still has very good command and really knows how to use his arsenal. His “pitchability” is high. I love how he attacks hitters, which sometimes is funny to think about considering some hitters are 50-100 lbs heavier than him. I still question his ability to get deep into games down the road, but he was impressive on this date.
FB: 87-91 mph with good movement and some late life. 2S tails away and ranges around 86-89 mph.
CH: 75-79 mph that he hides well and “pulls the string”. Plays well with his 2S Fastball.
CU: 73-75 mph with big tilt and 11-5 break
SL: 82-83 mph with some sweeping movement
1st: 22 pitches
2nd: 12 pitches
3rd: 12 pitches
4th: 14 pitches
5th: 18 pitches
6th: 10 pitches
Total: 88 pitches, 52 Strikes, 61 FB, 19 CH, 5 CU, 3 SL
Key Stat: 12 Ground Ball Outs
Delivery Times Recorded: 1.37, 1.47, 1.44, 1.41, 1.41
Final Line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 2 K
Tucker Blair was born and raised in the Baltimore area and currently lives in Elkridge, Maryland. He graduated from York College of Pennsylvania with a B.S in Entrepreneurial Studies and is currently a Project Analyst for a Management Consulting Firm in Federal Hill, Baltimore. Tucker was previously the Managing Editor at Orioles Nation, where he worked on prospect lists, reports, and analysis on the Orioles minor league system. He also previously wrote his personal blog, The EntreprenOriole.