The KC Royals defeated the Mets by a score of 7-2 on Sunday night to capture their first World Series title since 1985. This year’s team was special; we always knew that and we knew that they would make a run, but this year’s team put together one of the most amazing runs in the history of the sport. Catcher Salvador Perez won the much deserved World Series MVP, but one man has been more consistent than Alcides Escobar, Sal Perez, Eric Hosmer or even the clutch Chris Young; the cyborg’s name is Wade Davis.
Davis was born just before the Kansas City Royals won their last World Series title in 1985 and was drafted by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the 4th round of the 2004 amateur entry draft with the 75th overall selection. Davis made his major league debut as a starter in September of 2009, when he tossed a solid seven innings against the Tigers. By July of 2010, Davis was awarded the Rookie of the Month and had a solid reputation in the Majors. Davis eventually moved to the Rays’ bullpen in 2012 and posted strong releif performances.
On December 9, 2012, Wade Davis was traded from the Rays to the Kansas City Royals with James Shields in exchange for Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi, Mike Montgomery and Patrick Leonard. Little did Davis know that three years after the trade, he would be one of the best set up men/closers in the league.
Davis spent some time in the Royals rotation in 2013, but eventually found his home behind the right field walls of Kauffman Stadium. 2014 was a dominant year for Davis as he monopolized seemingly every appearance he made, using his lively cutter/fastball/knuckle-curve mix to send batters back to the dugout shaking their head in disbelief. The Royals fell short of a World Title in 2014 as they lost Game 7 of the Fall Classic to Madison Bumgarner and the San Francisco Giants.
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Davis sought redemption after the 2014 heartbreak and nobody was to deny him anything short of an astonishing season. During the 2015 regular season, Davis posted a 0.94 ERA, good for first among all league relievers with a minimum of 40 innings pitched, and he continued that domination through the postseason and the World Series.
In Game Six of the ALCS, he allowed the tying run to reach third base in the top of the ninth inning, but Davis struck out two and got one to ground out, ending the threat and sending the Royals to their second straight World Series. Throughout the entire 2015 postseason, Davis was tasked with 39 batters and he allowed just 9 of them to get on base. WadeBot dominated and seemed to get better and better as the postseason went on.
Manager Ned Yost seems to feel comfortable with Davis no matter the situation; his uses ranged from being down by a run to keep the damage to a minimum or to being up by seven runs in Game 5 of the World Series. Quite simply, Davis did it all.
In Game 1 of the World Series, Davis was entrusted with the 10th inning of a game deadlocked at 4. He faced a total of 3 batters and stuck out (you guessed it) all three. Though it was not a save situation, he still continued to do the unfathomable.
Game 4 of the Classic brought about a greater need for the immortal as the Royals were already up 2-1 in the series and had just come back to take a 5-3 lead in the eighth inning. With a 3-1 series lead on the line and the fear of the Mets tying the series, Yost called the bullpen and phoned in for his big reliever to once again come up clutch. Davis entered for his second 2 inning save of the postseason, a feat that he had not attempted during the regular season.
The Cyborg dominated the eighth inning by striking out Wilmer Flores and inducing two ground balls to bring the Royals closer to yet another postseason victory. The ninth inning started no differently as the red-hot David Wright found himself cutting and missing on an 86 MPH knuckle-curve. Daniel Murphy, who went the entire World Series without a long ball, singled and was followed by Yoenis Cespedes, who knocked a ball into right field to put runners at first and second with one out. Though Royals fans were nervous and tension began to grow, it was Wade Davis, and he was going to come up clutch as he always does.
Sure enough, Lucas Duda lined a ball to third baseman Mike Moustakas, who tossed an easy ball to Hosmer at first to double off Cespedes and end the game while giving the Royals a commanding 3-1 World Series lead. Wade Davis had once again given a lights out performance that was to be matched by none other.
While the Royals scored 5 runs in the 12th inning of Game 5 to almost ensure themselves of a World Series title, a KC season and an outstanding Fall Classic would not be complete without the incredible Wader personally handing the Mets the check. He was nothing short of incredible as he finished out the 2015 season. Despite allowing a two out single, Davis fittingly struck out the side to secure the Royals their first World Series crown in 30 years.
It could be argued that the entire bullpen deserved the MVP award, but the World Series MVP honor has not gone to a relief pitcher since the great Mariano Rivera captured it in 1999. Just 5 starting pitchers have been awarded the endowment since 1999.
Davis did not allow a single run to cross the plate during the postseason, despite facing power punchers like Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista as well as speed demons like Ben Revere and Curtis Granderson. Some say that he is half robot while others say that he’s a god, but I say that Wade Davis is Wade Davis, and he absolutely dominates.
When Davis was lifted off his feet by backup catcher Drew Butera after the final strike on Flores, the feeling of his first World Series Championship rushed through his veins/circuits and we can only imagine the relief that engulfed him as he had just completed the best season of his MLB career.
Davis’ final postseason line: 10.2 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 18 SO, 0 HR. He struck out at least one batter in each of his postseason outings.
While Davis will not become an unrestricted free agent until after the 2017 season, when he will likely be flooded with offers and contracts that could bring him the bank that he deserves. The KC Royals can only hope that once that time comes, Davis will have a set home in KC and will be very hesitant to leave. Meanwhile, the Royals have just won the World Series and will look to repeat in 2016. Celebrate this team and celebrate this season.
Somewhere between Rivera and Ruth stands this truly unbelievable group of men, now known as World Champions.