4. Wade Davis
Major League Career: 11 years (4 w/ Rays)
Career rWAR: 11.6 (3.1w/ Rays)
Wade Davis was drafted in the third round of the 2004 draft by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
Davis debuted in the 2009 season at age 23 with the Rays. He appeared in six games making six starts. As a starting pitcher, he pitched to contact in his first three seasons. In that time, he accumulated a 4.22 ERA with 254 strikeouts in 388.1 innings pitched. He was a pretty decent innings-eater. I don’t think many people knew he would become one of the game’s elite closers.
This is one of the few top prospects of yesteryear that actually accumulated more WAR on another team rather than with the Rays.
However, the Rays moved him to the bullpen in that fourth season. He made 54 appearances and excelled with a 2.43 ERA in 70.1 innings. In 113.2 innings less than the previous season, he struck out just 18 fewer strikeouts. Davis struck out 87 batters in 70.1 innings in 2012 once he moved to the bullpen.
Two seasons later, Davis would finish eighth in Cy Young voting as a reliever. He pitched 72.0 innings earning only three saves, but his 1.00 ERA and 109 strikeouts caught the attention of the voters. He was truly incredible, posting a 3.7 rWAR as a relief pitcher.
The following season he proved that it wasn’t a fluke as he LOWERED his ERA to .94 and earned 17 saves with the Royals. In 2016 he posted his third consecutive season with a sub-2.00 ERA registering a 1.87 over 43.1 innings.
Davis struggled last season in Colorado but looks to bounce back in 2020 at age 34.