Wade Davis Goes The Distance Against The Baltimore Orioles

How does a guy who is 6’5″, 220 lbs respond to getting roughed up in Fenway Park against the Boston Red Sox? He pitches a complete game shutout in his third major-league start against the Baltimore Orioles.

I finally got to watch heralded prospect Wade Davis pitch last night as the Tampa Bay Rays took on the Orioles at Camden Yards. The first thing I thought to myself when I saw Davis in the first inning was, man this guy is a big dude.

Wade Davis

Wade Davis

Between Davis and Jeff Niemann (6’9″, 280 lbs), the Rays have their version of Akeem and The Big Boss Man — AKA: The Twin Towers. That being said, Davis was extremely impressive last night.

He was mixing up his pitches well and most importantly was throwing first-pitch strikes. Out of the 31 batters Davis faced, he throw first-pitch strikes to 20 of those batters. Life as a pitcher is much easier when you get ahead of the batters.

Here is what I loved most about last night’s game. Despite being over 100 pitches heading into the ninth inning (Davis threw 124 pitches total last night), Joe Maddon let Davis finish the job. Letting a pitcher finish a game builds confidence.

Good job by Maddon last night.

It has taken Davis a little longer to reach the majors than the Rays had hoped, but you can see why they would trade Scott Kazmir to make room for him.

Here are some other facts about Wade Davis…

Age: 24

College: None. Went to Lake Wales High School in Lake Wales, Florida

Drafted: Third round of the 2004 draft

Minor League Stats:

2004 Rookie: 3-5 with a 6.09 and 38 K’s in 57.2 IP

2005 Low Single A: 7-4 with a 2.72 ERA and 97 K’s in 86 IP

2006 Single A: 7-12 with a 3.02 ERA and 165 K’s in 146 IP

2007 Single A & Double A: 10-3 with a 2.50 ERA and 169 K’s in 158.1 IP

2008 Double A & Triple A: 13-8 with a 3.47 ERA and 136 K’s in 160.2 IP

2009 Triple A: 10-8 with a 3.40 ERA and 140 K’s in 158 IP

Keith Law Ranking and Analysis

Ranking: No. 33 out of 100 best prospects in baseball

Analysis: “Davis’ stock slipped a little this year with a mid-summer lull where his velocity was down and he changed his own approach, throwing too many two-seamers and ignoring his own destiny as a power pitcher. He did recover the lost velocity and improved his pitch selection in the second half of the season, carrying it through a promotion to Triple-A in July.

Davis sits 92-95 with two good breaking balls, a hard downer curveball and a sharp slider with good tilt in the mid-80s. His changeup has improved but still is below-average, and he has a tendency to pitch around lefties rather than go after them, which could be the result of a lack of confidence in the changeup.

Like a lot of young power guys, his command and control lag behind his stuff, and he wasn’t challenged enough at lower levels to have to improve them. A good half-year or more in Triple-A should help, and the Rays are fortunate enough to have the depth to allow Davis to develop on his own schedule.”

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