Wade Davis, What a Relief He Is

Little did Rockies pitching coach Steve Foster realize that a decision he was a part of with the Royals back in the spring of 2014 – moving Wade Davis into a full-time role in the bullpen – would become an asset for Foster and the Rockies.

It was the spring of 2014 and the Royals had reached a point where decisions needed to be made on how to align their pitching staff. And Davis, who had been turned into a reliever with Tampa Bay in 2012, but split time between the bullpen and rotation in 2013, was a center of the conversation involving Foster, the Royals pitching coordinator/assistant to the general manager at the time, Royals general managed Dayton Moore and pitching coach Dave Eiland.

“We were talking about what we were going to do with Danny Duffy and Yordano Ventura and Wade,” said Foster. “We discussed how they best fit our team, giving us the opportunity to be the best team possible, one that could win a World Series.”

Wade Davis

By the end of spring training the decision was unanimous. Davis had bounced back and forth long enough. It was time to put him in the bullpen. He played a key role for the Royals in advancing to the 2014 World Series as the setup man for Greg Holland in 2014 and winning the World Series in 2015, Davis have stepped into the closer’s role with the in-season loss of Greg Holland to Tommy John surgery.

He also was the closer for a Cubs team that won the NL Central in 2017.

“We felt he had been success in the past, but he had never been in the (bullpen role) and stayed there,” said Foster. “It’s a difficult thing to do, go back and forth from the bullpen to the rotation. That’s a great quality to have, the versatility, but we felt if we left Wade in the relief role, based on his pitch mix, the body type and the calm demeanor he would fit the bill.

“I don’t think anybody saw him became, but we certainly thought he was a back-end guy who could help a team win a world championship.”

Foster and the Rockies are banking on Davis helping a second team – the Rockies – claim a world championship.

Top Relievers Since Davis 1st Save Sept. 4, 2014

Player G IP Sv SvOP SV% ERA AVG
Zach Britton 179 178 102 109 93.6 1.52 .207
Kenley Jansen 200 198.1 129 138 93.5 1.72 .166
Wade Davis 184 179.2 79 85 92.9 1.70 .178
Craig Kimbrel 192 188 110 120 91.7 2.35 .158
Mark Melancon 196 190 116 127 91.3 2.27 .220
Aroldis Chapman 186 184.1 98 108 90.7 1.95 .174
Greg Holland 115 108 77 86 89.5 3.50 .204
Cody Allen 215 213 102 114 89.5 2.75 .206
Raisel Iglesias 118 249.2 34 38 89.5 3.14 .218
Andrew Miller 197 206 51 57 89.5 1.62 .149

 

The resume is impressive, which is why the Rockies gave him a three-year, $52 million deal, the richest annual average value for a reliever in MLB history.

Davis Year by Year as a Reliever

Year Team W L Sv Opps G IP H R ER HR BB SO ERA AVG
2012 TB 3 0 0 of 1 54 70.1 48 20 19 5 29 87 2.43 .189
2013 KC 2 1 0 of 0 7 10 3 1 1 0 4 7 0.90 .094
2014 KC 9 2 3 of 6 71 72 38 8 8 0 23 109 1.00 .151
2015 KC 8 1 17 of 18 69 67.1 33 8 7 3 20 78 0.94 .144
2016 KC 2 1 27 of 30 45 43.1 33 9 9 0 16 47 1.87 .210
2017 ChC 4 2 32 of 33 59 58.2 39 16 15 6 28 79 2.30 .186
Totals W L Sv Opps G IP H R ER HR BB SO ERA AVG
Career 28 7 79 of 88 305 321.2 194 62 59 14 120 407 1.65 .171

 

And he has been dominate since been given his chance to save games.

Top Relievers Since Davis 1st Save Sept. 4, 2014

Player G IP Sv SvOP SV% ERA AVG
Zach Britton 179 178 102 109 93.6 1.52 .207
Kenley Jansen 200 198.1 129 138 93.5 1.72 .166
Wade Davis 184 179.2 79 85 92.9 1.70 .178
Craig Kimbrel 192 188 110 120 91.7 2.35 .158
Mark Melancon 196 190 116 127 91.3 2.27 .220
Aroldis Chapman 186 184.1 98 108 90.7 1.95 .174
Greg Holland 115 108 77 86 89.5 3.50 .204
Cody Allen 215 213 102 114 89.5 2.75 .206
Raisel Iglesias 118 249.2 34 38 89.5 3.14 .218
Andrew Miller 197 206 51 57 89.5 1.62 .149

 

While Foster doesn’t claim he knew Davis would become a dominate ninth-inning arm, he was confident that Davis had what it took to work in late-inning pressure situations. And he isn’t surprised to see Davis move into that 27th out pitcher.

Steve Foster

“It’s that pitch mix and demeanor,” said Foster. “It’s that sixth sense, that extra element. You can talk about stuff, but there is something within the human being that separates them from the fold. They swim upstream.  Everybody else is downstream.

“They think differently. It’s all about winning. It’s not about how nasty their stuff is. It’s about the ‘W’ and getting those last three, four, five outs, whatever it takes. “

Now comes a new challenge for Davis – Coors Field. He has pitched one inning in the ballpark – in 2014 – and struck out two of the three batters he faced. Foster has no doubts Davis will deal with it without a problem.

“He pitches are perfect for Coors,” said Foster. “If I could pick a closer at our ballpark, he has the equipment I would want. He has that 94, 98, wing and miss velocity. He has that downer 12-to-=6 hook, and a low 90s cutter.

“If he stays healthy, I like what he does for us.”

And the rest of the Rockies organization does, too.

They showed that with the record-setting investment the franchise made in Davis.

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