Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays: Way Too Early 2021 Free Agent Targets

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 15: Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers walks toward the dugout after retiring the side against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning in Game Four of the National League Championship Series at Globe Life Field on October 15, 2020 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 15: Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers walks toward the dugout after retiring the side against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning in Game Four of the National League Championship Series at Globe Life Field on October 15, 2020 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /
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SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 26: Zach Davies #17 of the San Diego Padres pitches in the bottom of the first inning against the San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park on September 26, 2020 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 26: Zach Davies #17 of the San Diego Padres pitches in the bottom of the first inning against the San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park on September 26, 2020 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

Zach Davies

Another arm? Like I said earlier, the Jays primary focus next offseason should be on the rotation and Zach Davies is another quality pitcher who has had some excellent seasons over the course of his career.

Davies, a 26th round selection by the Orioles back in 2011 has turned into a late round steal, posting a really nice 3.79 ERA over six seasons in the majors.  Davies has consistently gotten better over the course of his career watching his ERA decline every year except in 2017.  He had his most productive season last year with the Padres, posting career bests in ERA, WHIP and K/9.

Davies recent success can be thanks to an increase in his change-up usage.  He saw a 10% increase in changeups thrown last season going from 31% to 41%.  This allowed him to throw less fastballs as well, dropping his usage from 53% in 2019 to 42% in 2020.

Davies does not throw hard, with his fastball sitting in the upper 80’s, so using his change-up more and his fastball less seemed to keep hitters off balance, making him more effective.  We’ve seen a number of soft tossers succeed in the AL East with recent examples being Marco Estrada and Hyun Jin Ryu.  I think that Davies could be really effective against teams like the Yankees or Rays who have a ton of power bats and love to hit fastballs.

Davies was recently dealt to the Cubs as part of the return for Yu Darvish.  It will be interesting to see if he can continue to have success with his new team and if he can, there’s going to be a lot of interest in the righty next offseason, and the Jays should be a team in the mix for him.

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