For the second time in a decade, the Pittsburgh Pirates held the first overall pick in the Major League Baseball Draft in 2021.
After selecting right-hander Gerrit Cole with the top selection in 2011, the Bucs chose catcher Henry Davis with the first pick last year.
While Davis has some good qualities defensively behind the plate — notably his strong arm — the Pirates were drafting a bat when they turned in their draft card with Davis’ name on it.
The offensive upside was immediately on display in his first action as a professional.
Davis began his career with the Pirates’ organization where he collected three hits (two doubles and a homer) in his first seven at-bats.
The University of Louisville product continued to hit, posting a 161 wRC+ in six games with High-A Greensboro after skipping Single-A Bradenton.
Davis’ 2022 season began with Greensboro where he was off to a hot start. In 22 games with the Grasshoppers, Davis hit .341 with a .585 slugging percentage and five home runs.
The backstop was quickly promoted to Double-A Altoona.
In Altoona, Davis was placed on the injured list after complications stemming from a pitch which hit him on the wrist. Davis was originally placed on the IL in May and again in July, and was never able to quite perform as well as expected with the Curve.
The 23-year-old hit only .197 in 31 games with Altoona. Still, Davis recorded 12 extra-base hits (eight doubles, four homers) and still managed a decent but not great 97 wRC+.
The missed action led the Pirates and Davis to getting the young catcher some work in the Arizona Fall League this offseason.
Now healed from his injury, Davis is looking much more like the player he has been when healthy.
In 11 games with the Surprise Saguaros, Davis currently sits with a .333/.444/.545 triple-slash. The Pirates’ prospect has five doubles, a homer and has drawn six walks.
All the elements of Davis’ offensive profile have been on display in the AFL. He has hit for contact, hit for power and has displayed a keen eye at the plate.
In addition to what he has done with the bat in his hands, Davis has shown an aggressiveness on the base paths with three stolen bases.
There is a reason as to why Davis is considered to be one of if not the top prospect in Pittsburgh’s system. It’s easy to see why based off of his success in the AFL so far this year.
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