It has been nigh on impossible to hit Wade Davis this season. Even though he gave up a surprising run on Tuesday, Davis has put together a truly spectacular season, posting a 9-2 record with a 0.94 ERA and a 0.851 WHiP. Davis has struck out 99 batters in only 67 innings of work. He has allowed all of 35 hits this season. By almost any metric, Davis has been excellent this season.
How good has Davis been this season? Well, he has the lowest ERA of any pitcher with a minimum of 60 innings pitched this season. The next lowest mark? Dellin Betances at 1.33. Davis is seventh in WHiP, fourth with a 13.30 K/9 and has the lowest defense independent ERA. Davis has held the opposition to a .403 OPS, giving up all of four extra base hits this season. None of those extra base hits has gone for a home run. Only teammate Kelvin Herrera has also gone all season without giving up the longball. Davis is also second amongst relievers in WAR at 3.6, ranking ahead of such pitchers as Jeff Samardzija, Stephen Strasburg and Jered Weaver.
It may be argued that Wade Davis has not just been the best reliever in baseball this season, but possibly the best pitcher in the game. Aside from that blip on the radar the other day, Davis has been a truly dominant force on the mound since the end of April. In fact, aside from Alex Gordon, Davis may be the Royals MVP.
Typically, relievers have difficulty getting recognition for awards at the end of the season. Even during his record setting season, Fernando Rodney finished fifth in the American League Cy Young vote. The last closer to win the Cy Young was Eric Gagne back in 2003. In the American League, you have to go all the way back to Dennis Eckersley in 1992 before finding a closer who won the award. Given that struggle to e recognized as a closer, a setup man would have no chance at getting any recognition.
If a setup man was to get a vote or two in the Cy Young ballot, Wade Davis deserves a look. Chances are, the Cy Young will go to either Felix Hernandez or Chris Sale, but Davis may pick up a third place vote here or there. Given his performance, Davis certainly deserves a look.
Wade Davis has been not just one of the best pitchers in baseball this year, but he may be one of the most important. Hopefully, Davis will get a bit of recognition in the awards voting this year.