The Milwaukee Brewers continued their rebuilding process today, shipping outfielder Gerardo Parra to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for right-handed pitching prospect Zach Davies. Here's the scoop on the newest Brewer.
Zach Davies, RHP: The Orioles drafted Davies in the 26th round in 2011 from high school in Gilbert, Arizona. The draft position was deceptive: he was considered more of a third or fourth-round talent, but he had an Arizona State University commitment and most teams did not think he was signable. Baltimore spent $575,000 to change his mind.
Davies has been a consistent and effective performer for his minor league career. In 2014 he posted a 3.35 ERA with a 109/32 K/BB in 110 innings for Double-A Bowie. He has been even better in 2015, ringing up a 2.84 ERA in 101 innings for Triple-A Norfolk with an 81/31 K/BB and 91 hits allowed. He's been touched for just four homers this year while posting a 1.66 GO/AO ratio.
Davies is slight of build at just 6-0, 150 pounds, but he's been a durable pitcher in the pros. A three-week bout of shoulder soreness in May of 2014 is the only demerit on his health chart. He recovered from that without trouble and has been very sharp this year, making an appearance in the Futures Game.
Age 22, Davies works with a fastball at 87-91 MPH but it plays up due to the contrast with his excellent change-up and good-enough curveball. His command is sharp, he picks up plenty of ground balls, and his pitching instincts are first-class. He has little left to prove in the minor leagues and is ready for a trial in the Show.
Although his margin for error is small, Davies has made it work so far and has a chance at being a Mike Fiers-type success story, winning without big velocity.