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Demilio: Time For Pirates to Promote Henry Davis — to Pittsburgh

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Henry Davis

Spare me talk about service time, super two, catching opportunities, etc. for a moment. I understand all that comes into play in decisions like this, but in my eyes, it’s time.

It’s time for the Pittsburgh Pirates to promote catcher Henry Davis. No, not from Double-A Altoona to Triple-A Indianapolis, but from Altoona to the big leagues.

Skipping Triple-A, what? Yep, that’s right. And in this case, it just might make sense.

In the past, Pirates general manager Ben Cherington has said how he views Double-A and Triple-A similarly in terms of a player’s development. Plus, there are players currently in the big leagues who skipped Triple-A entirely.

Davis has proved that the pitching competition at Double-A has been no match for him. It’s time to challenge him.

And no, this isn’t a rash decision for me based on the Pirates going 1-10 in their last 11 games. It’s based on Henry Davis and what he has done.

After collecting two more hits for the Curve on Friday night, Davis is currently slashing .313/.462/.687 with five doubles, one triple, eight home runs, 17 RBIs and five steals in 23 games.

He has been on an absolute tear at the plate for much of the season for Double-A and with Endy Rodriguez handling the catching duties at Triple-A, Davis’ next at-bat should come in a Pirates’ jersey.

The 2021 first-overall pick is ready for the call. Sure, he needs to continue to fine tune his defensive abilities, but why not do that with the big league coaching staff and someone like Austin Hedges to get to work with and talk to every day?

Hedges has had a brutal start to the season at the plate. He’s hitting just .136 with a .391 OPS on the year, good for a 12 wRC+.

Jason Delay, while he has been a nice story to start the year, is likely not going to sustain the success he has had at the plate for the rest of the season. Because of this, getting Davis reps behind the plate should not be a major issue.

Additionally, Davis has gotten time at other positions, including starting the last two games for Altoona in right field.

Because of Davis’ potential defensive versatility, the Pirates can afford to carry three catchers on their 26-man roster and can get creative in getting Davis regular at-bats.

Regardless of where he will play in the field with the Pirates, Pittsburgh would benefit from having Davis’ bat in the lineup. The offense is in need of a spark as they have not reached four runs in a single game in the month of May.

For those afraid that promoting Davis now could result in having one less year of control over him, that should not be a concern.

When it comes to good players, the Pirates should be looking to extend the pieces that will help them win past their contractual control — just as they did with Bryan Reynolds and Ke’Bryan Hayes.

To me, it’s a win-win situation to promote Davis. For the 23-year-old, he will get a chance to work on the things he needs to continue to work on under the guidance of a veteran catcher in Hedges and the major league coaching staff. At the same time, he will get a chance to face the top competition possible in the midst of a personal hot stretch at the plate.

For the Pirates, they have a chance to add a spark at a time when they desperately need one.

It’s time for Davis to be able to call himself a big leaguer. He has shown he’s ready and he deserves a chance to try and prove that.

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