Davis’ only breaking ball is a curveball he throws just under 20% of the time. It has a sharp 12-6 break and had the highest strikeout rate among all three of his pitches. Even still, its K% dropped 11% thanks in part to a 4.5% drop in SwStr%. The curve earned a negative pVal in 2019, but that was due to an insane .524 BABIP against it. Make no mistake, the curve is Davis’ best pitch.
Davis’ four-seamer is still his most utilized pitch, but it continues to lose its effectiveness. For the sixth straight season, his average velocity has dropped and its SwStr% was below 10% for the second straight season. The four-seamer allowed a 148 wRC+ in 2019, which is the highest in any of Davis’ previous seasons. If Davis is unable to recapture better velocity, his four-seamer will likely remain a negative pitch.
The cutter is used as Davis’ secondary fastball. He increased its usage in 2019 as his four-seamer continues to lose effectiveness. The cutter induces fewer swings outside the zone, and as a result, decreased its K-BB% by nearly 17%. The cutter has gone from near-elite to league-average over the last few seasons.
Davis’ primary pitch is his four-seam fastball. Davis saw the swings and misses against the four-seam diminish along with his velocity, which decreased for the third straight season. Despite the single-digit SwStr%, a .198 batting average provided positive value for the four-seam. Davis was very fortunate to have a .218 BABIP against the pitch. As the velocity and movement continue to decrease, Davis should decrease the four-seam’s usage and search for a new primary offering.
The cutter is Davis’ best fastball, with a 38.1% O-swing and a 17.2 SwStr%. If not for the low zone rate, Davis could turn to the cutter in place of the four-seam as his primary fastball.
Davis could benefit from using his curveball more often, following the decline in velocity of his fastball. The curveball generated fantastic results, holding opponents to just a 39 wRC+. It also got whiffs at an above-average rate and was a heavy ground-ball pitch when contact was made. The only thing holding the curve back is its low zone rate and inability to make hitters chase it.
The two-seam fastball has not been an integral part of Davis’ arsenal since 2013. With limited use in 2018, Davis was unsuccessful in throwing it for strikes. The few that were thrown in the zone were hit. Davis should eliminate the two-seamer if he continues to struggle with throwing it for strikes.