ALTOONA- The Pittsburgh Pirates minor league system is a bit of a mystery, but there are a few intriguing prospects that could blow the lid off if they can fully fill out their potential.
One of those prospects is 2021 first-overall pick Henry Davis.
With Endy Rodriguez exploding onto the scene in 2022, there has been a constant power struggle in the fan base on who will be the catcher of the future.
Some say Rodriguez, while others will clamor for Davis.
While I remain neutral on this situation, I think Davis, being limited in where he can go, ends up as the main catcher, while Rodriguez can shift to other positions and be an average defender.
Recently we’ve seen Davis work in right field, which enables him to use his arm tool still, and while it may not look graceful, you can probably throw him out there in a pinch.
After Saturday night’s tilt, I was able to talk with Altoona Curve manager Callix Crabbe about Davis and the progress he’s shown behind the plate.
“I think the game is starting to slow down more for him. I think his blocking has continued to improve, and he continues to work on his receiving. He’s a very prepared young man, so how he deploys the information he’s gathering is obviously a part of that, and he’s getting better at it. He’s creating a consumable strategy with the pitchers, and he continues to get better. It’s been nice to see his development and I think he’ll keep going.”
In addition, Crabbe mentioned that Davis might get two days a week, if that, in right field just to get used to things, but catching is definitely the main focus with him.
Davis himself commented on his development behind the plate.
“I’ve been working on pretty much everything. I trust in the coaches and trust in player development. I just try to work as hard as I can every day to be the best catcher I can be.”
Sunday night, the Curve finished off their six-game series with Hartford with pitching prospect Sean Sullivan on the mound for the second time that week.
The pair of Pittsburgh Pirates teammates seem to be meshing well together.
“My relationship with Henry is awesome,” said Sullivan after his start. “We’re on the same page pretty much all of the time. He’s a dude that’s going to help you get better in every way. He’s a great teammate. He knows what’s good for you and what’s bad for you. He knows that it’s our career, and he’ll let us take ownership of that, but he’s going to help us along the way. It’s been a really good combo this year, and I like throwing to him a lot.”
Davis turned it on once the calendar turned to May.
Coming into Sunday’s game against Hartford, Davis is slashing .324/.448/.549 with an OPS of .998. In addition, Davis has belted four homers and drove in 11 runs.
“The swing decision has been good,” said Crabbe. “We’ve seen high exit velocities coming off the bat. He controls the strike zone, and he’s been a really good hitter with runners in scoring position. He knows what the game is asking him to do, he’s not always trying to hit something into the left field seats or center field seats. He’s just a good hitter.”
“I’ve been just trying to stick to my approach,” said Davis. “I trust in my abilities and trust my coaches. I just work hard every day in batting practice, and when I take the field, I trust the work I’ve put in and trust my approach.”
Davis has definitely been a buzzword this year for Pirates fans and journalists alike, now we just wait and see what the Pittsburgh Pirates want to do with their catching situation.