Is it fair to say the Kyle Davies experiment is over?
No, probably not – Davies, who seems to be well liked within the organization, could quite likely stay in the Royals’ rotation all season unless he is injured. This, despite a fascinating story over at Royals Authority which pointed out that Davies has the worst career ERA of any starting pitcher who has thrown over 700 innings since 1901.
The article gives lots of other statistics proving Davies’ badness, all leading up to the money quote: “It is quite possible that every time Kyle Davies takes the mound we are witnessing the worst starting pitcher in the history of the game.”
And yet every five days, Kyle Davies is sent back out there. The reason is because Davies occasionally shows flashes of brilliance (one could say the sun even shines on a dog’s rump once in a while, or a broken watch is right twice a day, etc.) and the organization hopes one day it will all click and the flashes of brilliance will become the rule instead of the exception.
But by now, Davies has proved this is not going to happen.
At least, not as a starter.
Here’s a wacky idea: the Kansas City Royals should send Davies down to Omaha and convert him to closer.
To do so, Davies would need to clear waivers, and it’s likely he would (and even if a team claims him, are the Royals really losing much?) Then, as a Storm Chaser, Davies could focus on a new role and put his best pitching talents to use.
Davies has a fastball in the 93-95 mile per hour range, which isn’t bad for a starter or a closer. But the fastball works most effectively when his changeup is working. Davies also throws a curveball and a slider, but he should forget about these pitches and focus on the fastball and the changeup.
Davies did not miss a start last season, which proves the 27-year-old can hold up to the demands of being a starter. Pitching as a closer should not be a challenge stamina-wise. And it seems Davies has the grit to be a closer, too.
The biggest roadblock for Davies is that the Royals have one of the best young closers in the game at the big-league level. The move from starter to closer for Davies would mean the only chance he has to make it back to the major-league roster is as a setup man to Joakim Soria or if Joakim Soria is injured, traded or converted to a starter (which seems less and less likely as his career progresses).
But Davies is likely going to be out of baseball completely in a few years. Being the backup to Joakim Soria wouldn’t be a bad gig.
On the major league level, moving Davies to Omaha would mean an opening in the rotation. The obvious choice would be Aaron Crow, the rookie who has dominated out of the bullpen in 2011. The Royals could dedicate that spot in the rotation to Crow and other prospect-level pitchers, including Everett Teaford, Mike Montgomery and Danny Duffy.
Wouldn’t it be exciting to go to Kauffman Stadium every fifth day and watch the future of the organization take the mound in the first inning?
Matt Kelsey is a Royals writer and associate editor for I-70 Baseball. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.