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Arizona Diamondbacks All-Time Top 50: #49, Doug Davis

Appropriate, since the crafty lefty wore #49 during his time with Arizona!

NLDS: Chicago Cubs v Arizona Diamondbacks, Game 2 Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
  • Avg ranking (high/low/most common): 41.49 (16/50/50)
  • Seasons: 2007-2009
  • Stats: 93 starts, 542.0 IP, 4.22 ERA, 109 ERA+, 7.3 bWAR
  • Best season: 2007 - 33 starts, 192.2 IP, 4.25 ERA, 112 ERA+, 2.5 bWAR

Davis was the absolute model of consistency as a Diamondback. Over his three years with the team, he put up bWAR of 2.5, 2.4 and 2.4, quietly averaging 31 starts and over 180 innings of work per year. He was dealt from the Brewers in November 2008, in a six-player deal which saw Davis come to the D-backs along with Dana Eveland and Dave Krynzel, in exchange for Greg Aquino, Johnny Estrada and Claudio Vargas. I think it’s safe to say Arizona won that deal, the three players they sent to Milwaukee having been worth a total of -0.8 bWAR over the rest of their careers. The move helped shore up a D-backs rotation which had gone 55-59 in 2006, with a 4.55 ERA.

Together with Brandon Webb and Livan Hernandez, Davis was an ever-present, the trio combining for 100 solid starts and a 42-33 record. The 2007 D-backs won the NL West, and dismantled the Cubs in the Division Series. Davis started and won Game 2, a contest which will live forever in Diamondback fans’ hearts for one reason. Davis allowed a two-run homer in the second to Geovany Soto, but then kept them off the board until leaving in the sixth (above). He was charged with four runs in 5.2 innings, striking out eight. Doug pitched better still in the NLCS, holding the Rockies to one earned run over five innings, but got a no-decision as the D-backs lost in 11.

2008 was memorable for Davis - just not necessarily in a good way, for he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer during spring training. Remarkably, he made two regular-season starts before undergoing surgery on April 10. In an even more unexpected comeback, Davis was pronounced cancer-free and returned to the mound only six weeks later, tossing seven innings of one-run ball in Atlanta. He didn’t miss a start the rest of the year, and the experience inspired Doug and his wife to set up the Doug Davis Foundation, a charity which helped children with various medical, social and family needs.

In his final season here, Davis returned to being ever-present. His 34 starts led Arizona, as he pitched 203.1 innings, though his 103 walks led the NL that year [It’s also most for a season with Arizona since Webb’s 119 bases on balls in 2004] At the end of the year, Davis opted to re-sign back with the Brewers, eventually finishing his professional career in the Kansas City Royals’ minor-league system. He had 13 seasons in the majors, finishing with a 92-108 record and 4.44 ERA (102 ERA+). But Davis was also the only player in recorded baseball history with 400+ PA and an OBP below .100; his K:BB is 175:4. As of 2016, Doug was living in Bend, Oregon, and apparently happily retired.