It was another dazzling performance by Tucker Davidson on Wednesday for the Atlanta Braves proving that he deserves more recognition.
Coming into this season everyone was talking about Bryse Wilson, Kyle Wright, and Huascar Ynoa battling for that final spot. There was very little mention of Tucker Davidson.
And going back even before that, while he was dominating Double-A to a turn of a 2.03 ERA in 110.2 innings with 122 strikeouts, all of the talk was about his rotation mate, Ian Anderson.
That’s certainly for good reason as Ian has gone on to prove he’s a very good big-league pitcher.
But still, Davidson has seemingly been overlooked as a prospect his entire pro career.
We were screaming on here all of last season with the Braves’ rotation being decimated to give Davidson a chance.
They finally did in the last series of the year when things were wrapped up, and it didn’t go so well. And then he only got to pitch 2 innings in Spring Training for whatever reason.
He went to Triple-A to start the 2021 season and allowed just 2 earned runs on 8 hits and 4 walks over 20 innings with 23 strikeouts. That’s after he posted a 2.84 ERA in 4 starts with Gwinnett to end the 2019 season.
It’s still a pretty small sample size at Triple-A, but he’s been impressive.
The Braves decided to give the 25-year-old another shot at the big league level on May 18 and he put together a quality start against the Mets.
He was sent back down, but then called back up on June 3 to start against the Nationals and he pitched 5.2 scoreless innings allowing just 1 hit — but he did walk 5.
And then in his most recent start, he was incredible against the Phillies with 6 shutout innings allowing just 3 hits and 1 walk with 4 strikeouts.
In three starts now this year he has allowed just 3 earned runs on 10 hits and 7 walks with 14 strikeouts in 17.2 innings pitched.
There is some obvious regression coming for him, but I do think — and always have thought — Davidson will be a solid middle-of-the-rotation starter.
He’s primarily a two-pitch pitcher throwing the fastball and slider 80 percent of the time while mixing in a good curveball as a put-away pitch. He’s not someone that’s going to overpower you and throw high velocity, but he’s been successful at every level along the way.
Sometimes we get caught up in getting excited about the possibility of an ace — and the Braves have had a nice run of those prospects in Mike Soroka, Max Fried, and now Anderson.
But you also need guys like Davidson who can back them up in the middle. Something prospects like Kyle Wright, Bryse Wilson, and Touki Toussaint haven’t been able to do at this point.
What Davidson has done is really impressive and I hope he sticks in the rotation — even that means moving Drew Smyly to the bullpen.