Before Ben Cherington entered the Pirates front office, many things needed to be addressed. One of the main things needing attention was the pipeline of young talent in the farm system. Over the years, the Pirates could never seem to have an influx of catcher talent, but now with the introduction of Henry Davis, things have taken a turn for the better.
Davis isn’t the only one in this mix; you have Wyatt Hendrie (another 2021 draft pick), Endy Rodriguez, Eli Wilson, Blake Sabol, Abrahan Gutierrez, Carter Bins, and a few extremely young catchers in the Dominican Summer League and Florida Complex League.
Although it would be lovely to discuss all of these talents, we want to talk about the main attraction in Davis. MLB Pipeline has mentioned Davis in one of their ranking systems, and according to them, Davis is ranked the fifth-best catching prospect in all of baseball.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) August 26, 2021
Although Davis has a small sample size as a professional, you can see that the talent is there. According to FanGraphs, his hit-tool is at a 35/50, raw power 70/70, and game power at 35/70. Of course, you can’t base all of your assumptions on rankings, so this is where the “old school” factor and the eye test comes into play.
If you watch his at-bats, you can see he isn’t a first-year pro between the shoulders. He puts together strong at-bats, fights tough pitches off, and hammers the ball when given the chance, hence the six out of his eight hits going for extra bases. Davis obviously isn’t going to tear the cover off the ball 24/7, but there is now hope for a catcher with more than just defensive abilities in the Pirates system now.
There is one glaring weakness that most sites pin Davis with: his receiving ability, which is a fair and true assessment. But when you look into the future, this black mark on Davis’ report isn’t as glaring. We know (or at least assume) that robot-umps are coming, and we’ve even seen the Pirates low-A affiliate Bradenton using it. When you take framing out of the picture, you’re left with a catcher with a cannon for an arm, and someone who has great potential with the bat.