- Full name Zachary Ryan Davies
- Born 02/07/1993 in Puyallup, WA
- Profile Ht.: 6'0" / Wt.: 180 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Mesquite
- Debut 09/02/2015
Drafted in the 26th round (785th overall) by the Baltimore Orioles in 2011 (signed for $575,000).
View Draft ReportAnother Arizona State commit is righthander Zach Davies, who got multiple Mike Leake comparisons from scouts and college recruiters. Like Leake, Davies has a medium build at 6 feet and 165 pounds and shows good athleticism. When he's not pitching, he plays shortstop. Davies doesn't have huge stuff but knows how to pitch and has four pitches that should be at least average: fastball, curveball, slider and changeup. He doesn't have Leake's fastball movement, but the similarities with his athleticism and feel for pitching are obvious.
Organization Prospect Rankings
When the Brewers traded outfielder Gerardo Parra to the Orioles to acquire Davies in July 2015, the move went against their track record for trying to acquire big, hard-throwing pitchers. The slightly-built, 6-foot Davies is anything but that, but the club's analytics department rated him highly, so the Brewers made an exception. Davies had performed well at Triple-A Norfolk in the Orioles system, but after struggling to a 5.00 ERA in five starts at Triple-A Colorado Springs after the trade, Brewers weren't sure what to expect. But when Davies joined the rotation in September, he quickly found his confidence and finished on a roll with 15 straight scoreless innings. While he does not throw hard, averaging 87-90 mph with his sinking fastball, he knows what he's doing, using sound mechanics, precise location and a devastating changeup to keep hitters off balance. Davies pounds the lower portion of the zone with sinkers, hitting the corners, pitching to contact and inducing groundballs at an elite rate. His third pitch is a curveball that is average but effective. While Davies probably fits best at the back of a rotation, he doesn't hurt himself with walks or home runs and will receive a long look during 2016 spring training.
Davies got a $575,000 bonus despite his low draft round in the last year under the old draft rules when the Orioles signed him away from his Arizona State commitment. Buck Showalter picked him to make an exhibition start against the big league club in March, and Davies struck out J.J. Hardy and Chris Davis with changeups in the first inning. Davies is a strike-thrower with a plus pitch, his changeup. He throws it with such good arm action that one scout said he had to look at his radar gun to be sure it was his changeup. One club official cited his delivery as the best in the system'smooth, free and easy, repeatable--leading to good command of his sinking 86-91 mph fastball. Davies' curveball is his third pitch, and it's solid-average as well. He's slightly built, leading to consistent durability concerns, and he missed most of May with shoulder tendinitis. He pitched well after returning, but at his size, he has little physical projection left and likely has maxed out his fastball velocity. Davies got to go home to Arizona to pitch in the Fall League, seeking to make up for lost innings and get more upper-level experience. He should re-join Tim Berry in the rotation, this time at Triple-A Norfolk, in 2015 and likewise projects as a back-of-the-rotation starter
Davies signed for an over-slot bonus of $575,000 out of the 2011 draft, and so far he has lived up to it. He ranked 10th in the low Class A South Atlantic League in ERA in 2012 (3.86) and 10th in the high Class A Carolina League (3.69) last year. He also ranked second in strikeouts (132) and fourth among starters in walk rate (2.3 per nine innings). Scouts long have compared Davies with Reds righthander Mike Leake for his slight build, plus athleticism and command of four pitches. He impressed the Orioles with a strong pitching IQ and his ability to read opponents' swings. His fastball sits in the 87-91 mph range with solid-average life. He uses it to set up an advanced arsenal of offspeed stuff, starting with a plus changeup that he sells with excellent arm speed. Davies throws both a slider and a curveball, with the curve flashing above-average. The Orioles hope he adds velocity as he fills out, but he never figures to pitch with a plus fastball. Davies proved durable in 2013, taking every turn and logging nearly 150 innings. He'll head to the Double-A Bowie rotation for 2014.
As an undersized righty with a strong commitment to Arizona State, Davies was overlooked coming out of high school in suburban Phoenix. The Orioles took a chance on him in the 26th round of the 2011 draft and signed him for $575,000. Aggressively assigned to low Class A for his 2012 pro debut, he more than held his own as one of the South Atlantic League's youngest pitchers. Davies doesn't overwhelm with his stuff, but he does just enough for scouts to buy into his package. Some see him as another Mike Leake because he's athletic with a four-pitch mix and has feel for his craft and a competitive edge. Only 6 feet tall, Davies has a slight frame with room to fill out, though he needs to work to create plane for his pitches. He has a simple, repeatable delivery and a quick arm action that allows his fastball to operate at 88-91 mph. Davies' secondary stuff is improving. He has a 73-75 mph curveball with good 12-to-6 shape and depth, but he struggles to throw it for strikes. His fading changeup could be an average offering, and he also has a slider that he rarely uses. Davies has No. 4 starter upside, but he's a long way from reaching it. He'll make the jump to high Class A at age 20.
Former Orioles scouting director Joe Jordan was fond of taking late-round fliers on players who were either under the radar or had fallen down draft boards because of injury or signability questions. His last such pick was Davies, an Arizona high school standout who was an all-state pitcher for Mesquite High in Gilbert, going 12-0, 1.68 with two saves as a senior. Davies was committed to Arizona State and most scouts thought he would end up there, so he fell to the 26th round, but Baltimore signed him just before the Aug. 15 deadline for $575,000. Davies was also a four-year starter at shortstop for Mesquite and batted leadoff for a team that was ranked No. 1 in the Arizona 5-A ranks for most of last spring before getting upset in the playoffs. He draws comparisons to Mike Leake, a California native who played at Arizona State, for his smallish frame and athleticism. Davies' fastball registered in the high 80s and low 90s in high school, and while it may settle into the low 90s as he matures he'll never be overpowering. He has a good knack for pitching and has used a curveball, slider and changeup. He has good control and feel for a teenager. Davies signed too late for a minor league assignment in 2011, though he was invited to instructional league and made a good first impression. He'll start his career in extended spring training before an assignment to short-season Aberdeen in June.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Control in the Baltimore Orioles in 2014