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How close is Henry Davis to The Show?

The Pirates’ 2021 first overall draft pick has shown some signs of late in the Minor Leagues, but how close Henry Davis is to coming to Pittsburgh is up for debate.

MLB: New York Mets at Pittsburgh Pirates
Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Henry Davis who was selected number one overall in the 2021 MLB first year player draft.
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Catcher Henry Davis, the Pirates’ 2021 first overall draft pick, has been making plenty of waves in Pittsburgh’s Minor League system this year. Most recently, Davis was named the 20th hottest prospect in baseball for 2022, after being selected to the All-Star Futures Game as a member of the Double-A affiliate Altoona Curve. The big question on everyone’s mind is when will Davis be assigned to the Pirates to get a taste of Major League ball?

Pittsburgh is seldom ever praised for decisions made by ownership, management, or scouts, but drafting Davis might be the best decision the team has made in the draft in a long time.

In the shortened 2020 season, Davis separated himself from the rest of the class as he really started to standout as a sophomore at Louisville. In 14 games he posted a .372 batting average with three homers and 13 RBIs, while also leading the team in an impressive OPS of 1.179.

In his last season at Louisville, Davis recorded impressive numbers for a collegiate catcher. Playing in all 50 games and starting 49 of them, Davis led the team with a .370 batting average with 15 home runs. Defensively, he continued to develop as well as he threw out better than 46 percent of potential base stealers. Davis ended his career with the Cardinals following his junior campaign after being ranked in top 10 of the ACC for batting average, home runs, hits, and RBIs.

The Pirates would then select Davis with the first overall pick in the 2021 First Year MLB Draft, and very quickly the organization has seen positive growth in the highly touted prospect.

Other than a lingering wrist injury that has had him sidelined several times for short stints, Davis has impressed on the field. In his Minor League career, Davis averages .271 at the plate, and has recorded 56 hits, 11 home runs, and 44 RBIs across 59 games played. In addition to that, Davis posts a .989 fielding percentage for his Minor League career, playing relatively mistake free as he continues to develop.

The MLB Top 100 Prospects list predicts that Davis will make it to the show in 2024. At this point in time, Davis needs as much time under his belt as a full-time starter for a Minor League team.

Since his promotion to Double-A affiliate Altoona Curve, his batting average has been down compared to his best days in college and lower leagues. In 2022, he’s hit .364 in Bradenton, .342 in Greensboro, but has slipped all the way to .189 in Altoona while battling injuries. However, few are worried about this slump, as Davis has proven he will hit.

In fact, now fully healthy, he’s shown recent signs of busting out of his Altoona doldrums, snagging two singles in his August 30 return from the injured list, while walking four times and getting multiple hits, including a two-run RBI double, over three games on September 1, 3 and 6.

The biggest knock against Davis at this point is the slightly unorthodox batting stance, but it has proven effective. Davis also needs to continue to develop defensively before he’s ready to be a full time starter in the Majors. With that being said, he has one of the strongest arms in his draft class, and continues to put in the work to be an every day Major League catcher.

It might not be today, and it probably won’t be tomorrow, but Pirate’s fans and ownership have reason to be excited about prospective catcher Henry Davis. It’d be great to see him have a full healthy season of Double-A ball, and a possible call up late next season when the Pirates are inevitably dead in the water, so look for end of 2023 for some MLB action for the youngster. Davis has high expectations to live up to, but has the skill and the intangibles to do so.