Another week, another week at the No. 21 spot in ESPN’s Power Rankings. The Brewers just couldn’t muster enough of a performance to boost into that top-2o position they’ve been battling for all year. However, some key notes:
Zach Davies continued to show development on the track to 2017. You couldn’t really ask for much more out of Davies — he wasn’t a top notch prospect, but still highly touted in the Brewers’ eyes. His 11-7 record is quite respectable in the rebuilding year and with it, he’ll now have reason to improve next year.
And it’s that next year that will see him battle for the No. 1 spot in the rotation with Junior Guerra. Right now, you’d have to give Opening Day to Guerra with the numbers he posted this season, but Davies isn’t too far behind. Both will be dueling in spring training to separate the lead dog and it will be fascinating to watch. Let’s just hope whoever earns it has a case of the Wily Peralta’s.
When you look at Davie’s numbers in terms of development, it’s quite exciting. I know, it’s comparing it from an incredibly smaller sample size, but you have to applaud his efforts this year. He nearly struck out one of every five batters he faced (19.8 percent K%). His WHIP was reassuring at 1.25 (which was better than the likes of Marcus Stroman, Dallas Keuchel, C.C. Sabathia and others). He also threw his cutter nearly 10 percent of the time more, which is reassuring considering he’s taking this time to groom it into something more valuable next year. Development and stepping along in the process is all we can ask from the young right-hander and Brewers fans should be happy at the results he produced this campaign.
I’ll use the second part of this week’s Power Rankings to, for what seems like the hundredth time this season, give a nod to the play of Jonathan Villar. The man’s a machine. He’s currently two home runs away from 20 on the year and is at 59 stolen bases, which would pace him to be in the 20-60 club (20 HR and 60 SB). That has been accomplished only six times in the long history of Major League Baseball (Joe Morgan x2, Eric Davis and Rickey Henderson x3). Henderson was the last to reach the mark 26 years ago.
The fact that he is anywhere near this historical club signifies just how valuable Villar is to this club. It’s sad hearing some fans clamor for him to be traded for prospects. No. The Brewers are stepping out of that phase. They are now stepping towards competing, possibly as early next year for a Wild Card race. It makes no sense to trade one of their best players.
Now, could Villar get better than how he’s currently playing? There’s definitely room for improvement (baserunning ability being a major one). Now I’m not saying Villar is an MVP, but people said Steph Curry couldn’t get better and, well, we all know how that turned out. But even if Villar has peaked, he still has major value to the Crew moving forward.
I’m unsure if next week’s rankings will be the last from ESPN — the guy that takes my comment hasn’t let me know. If it is, than the Brewers have only one chance to hit the top-20. Hey, maybe it will come from a series win/sweep against the Rangers.