With the Pittsburgh Pirates season coming to a close and we look towards next year, many are wondering what the team will look like in 2024. For me, I am very interested to see the plans they have in place for standout prospect, Henry Davis, as his role with the team this year has been puzzling.
For those unfamiliar with Davis, he was a top catching prospect out of Louisville, showed incredible versatility and athleticism for the position and was the first overall pick for Pittsburgh in 2021. He was ranked as one of the top 100 prospects in all of baseball, named to the Futures Game and AFL Rising Stars teams in 2022. He made his Major League debut in June this year, and has spent time bouncing back and forth between Pittsburgh and Indianapolis for rehab assignment.
Despite being one of the top catching prospects in all of baseball, Davis has not been behind the plate for most of his time with the Pirates. The emergence of Endy Rodriguez as a real talent at the position saw him get the nod over Davis when they decided to promote the pair. Even before Endy was in Pittsburgh, Davis still wasn’t getting time over guys like Austin Hedges and Jason Delay. No, instead of getting Davis some reps at his natural position, the Buccos have been sticking him out in right field and DH for a majority of his time in Pittsburgh.
With all of that in mind, it still makes me wonder why of all places they could put him, they exile him to right field. My initial thought is they obviously want Rodriguez and Davis on the field together at the same time. Of course, they cannot both play catcher unless they switched off days, and then you’re sacrificing another young batter if one of them is not in the lineup. Rodriguez has just skyrocketed up the ranks, and I don’t think he’ll be relieved of his catching duties any time soon.
I also think that Davis is too athletic to just be stuck at DH every night, as he could be used in the field... just not in right. There doesn’t seem to be a natural feel for the position, albeit it is his first time playing at right.
I think there is some innocence to the plans, as the Pirates realistically did not have enough time to have Davis learn another position since being called up in June. However, I do believe that with a full offseason and reps in Spring ball, Davis could make the transition to first base. All speculation, but I do think that Davis is athletic enough to play the position, and has always been sound defensively anyways allowing very few mistakes at catcher. Not to mention, it would fill the vacancy that Pittsburgh has at first, with a revolving door of players coming in and out since the Bucs dealt Carlos Santana.
"I always had my eyes set on Pittsburgh, but I had to do everything I could each day to get there."— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) September 18, 2023
This is Henry Davis' Road to the Show. pic.twitter.com/oeCH4TPPkv
All that being said, it’s also important to remember that Davis is only 24-years old with plenty of time to learn and develop. His time in Pittsburgh so far has had its fair share of highlights, and with a full season ahead of him there’s no telling where he can go from here... as long as it’s not back to right field.