MILWAUKEE -- Zach Davies was an "anchor" of the Brewers' starting rotation in 2016 despite beginning the year at Triple-A, manager Craig Counsell said Friday after deeming Davies' first extended Major League season complete.
Davies won't start any of the Brewers' remaining eight games, Counsell announced after a 5-4 win over the Reds at Miller Park. Davies worked five innings, marred late by Jose Peraza's three-run homer, but finished as the Brewers' most valuable pitcher by FanGraphs' version of wins above replacement, at 2.8. He went 11-7 with a 3.97 ERA in 28 Major League starts and 163 1/3 innings, with a 3.55 strikeouts to walks ratio that led the staff.
"He's been an anchor for us, he really has," Counsell said. "He's been consistent. He gives us a chance to win every single time out.
"He's still a young pitcher. We've talked a lot about [position players like Jonathan] Villar and [Keon] Broxton and Hernan Perez ... but this is another player who's a building block. He's still 23 years old, who's a quality Major League starter."
Davies logged a career-high 172 1/3 innings in the regular season, including his two starts at Triple-A Colorado Springs before his callup to Milwaukee. Last year, he worked 162 1/3 innings during a whirlwind season that included a July 31, 2015 trade from Baltimore to Milwaukee for outfielder Gerardo Parra, and ended with Davies' Major League debut as a September callup.
He is all but assured a spot in Milwaukee's starting rotation next year. Depending on their offseason moves, the Brewers could face some decisions in that department, given the positive contributions of rookies Davies and Junior Guerra and the return of more established pitchers like Matt Garza, Jimmy Nelson, Wily Peralta and Chase Anderson. Another potential starter, Taylor Jungmann, will start in the big leagues on Saturday for the first time since April, and he is also a question mark for next year. Top prospect Josh Hader finished the year at Triple-A and will be an option at some point in 2017, as well.
"It's definitely been a huge learning experience for me," Davies said. "I was glad to get almost a full season up here and to go through the season fully healthy and finish the year off. I've been very pleased with some of the things I've learned and I've done but at the same time, you can see there's still work to do."
Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.