Tucker Davidson impresses in spring debut with new pitch

Feb 25, 2023; Peoria, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Tucker Davidson (32) pitches
Feb 25, 2023; Peoria, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Tucker Davidson (32) pitches / Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Angels have an open competition for their sixth starter spot. Griffin Canning feels like the odds on favorite because he has the most experience, but he hasn't pitched since July of 2021. When he was last seen he struggled mightily and was sent down to the minors. He got hurt in his first start back in AAA.

Pitchers like Jaime Barria and Chase Silseth also have a really good shot at this sixth starter spot. A pitcher who was looked at as a guy on the outside looking in with a lot to prove was Tucker Davidson. In his first start of the season, Davidson got off to the start Phil Nevin would want him to.

Angels pitcher Tucker Davidson makes strong first impression in Saturday's start armed with a new pitch

Tucker Davidson was acquired in the Raisel Iglesias trade which essentially was a salary dump. Jesse Chavez was acquired alongside him, but struggled so mightily as an Angel was released and ended up back in Atlanta. So the deal was essentially Davidson for Iglesias straight up. Not great. Davidson responded by posting an ERA that approached seven as an Angel and walked nearly as many batters as he struck out in his starts.

Davidson used what's being called a sweeper slider by manager Phil Nevin. Davidson says it's Shohei Ohtani's grip. It looks like a curveball but is deemed a slider. He used it in his first start of the Spring and got some strike calls with it as well as a whiff.

The southpaw pitched two innings in his spring debut against the Mariners and really impressed, striking out three and retiring all six batters he'd face. He was sitting in the low 90s with his fastball. He averaged 93.2 last season, we'll see if he can get a velocity increase later in the spring.

It was encouraging to see Davidson not walk a batter after he walked 22 batters in 36.2 innings pitched as an Angel. He was able to get into good counts and put hitters away, things he really struggled to do.

He was facing a rather poor Mariners lineup and it's just his first start, but this was the best Davidson looked as an Angel. Davidson is out of options so if he doesn't make the roster in some capacity, he'll have to be DFA'd. The Angels should and will take a good hard look to see if he's actually worth rostering.

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