On a cold drizzly night in Boston in May 2005, Kyle Davies made his major league debut, and it was a gem. Facing a line-up featuring Johnny Damon, David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Jason Varitek — all in their primes — Davies pitched five shutout innings, striking out 6.
Four nights later he tossed 5-1/3 shutout innings vs. the Mets. He shut out the Pirates through 7-2/3 two starts later, beating #19 on this list, Mark Redman.
After four starts the kid from Stockbridge boasted a stingy 0.77 ERA, providing hope that he would be the first homegrown pitcher since Kevin Millwood to thrive in Atlanta. Instead his career is all but over at age 29.
No one can say he didn’t get a fair shake. Despite a poor finish in 2005, Davies entered the ’06 season as one of the Braves’ five starters. His first two outings were forgettable but in his third start Davies pitched a complete game three-hitter against the Mets. He followed that up with seven strong innings vs. Milwaukee.
Then the roof caved in. Davies posted an ungodly 8.38 ERA in 14 games, all starts. He didn’t make it past the third inning in 4 of those starts, giving up 90 hits in 63.1 IP for a 1.942 WHIP.
But the Braves weren’t ready to give up on him. Davies started 2007 in the Braves rotation, showing some improvement from the previous year. But when a 5.76 ERA represents improvement, your days are numbered. In July JS shipped him to Kansas City for Octavio Dotel, where he toiled for four mostly forgettable years.
As a Brave, Davies was 14-21 with a 6.15 ERA and 1.713 WHIP. Five of those wins came against the Mets and Pirates.