The Pittsburgh Pirates are getting closer and closer to starting spring training games. However, even with camp started, they have brought in another pitcher.
One thing that the Pittsburgh Pirates have always stressed is finding quality minor league signings. The team usually gives out a bunch of minor league deals in hopes of adding experienced depth, and to hopefully find a player who has a breakout season. While minor league signings are not exciting, they are important for teams to hand out.
So far the Pittsburgh Pirates have handed out plenty of minor league contracts this offseason. The most notable signings are pitchers Francisco Liriano, Brandon Maurer, and Tom Koehler, along with outfielders Melky Cabrera and J.B. Shuck, and infielder Nick Franklin.
However, it appears that the team is not done making minor league signings. According to Emily Waldon of The Athletic, former New York Yankees and Cincinnati Reds pitching prospect Rookie Davis is close to signing a minor league deal. She notes that the Pittsburgh Pirates have had the most interest in Davis. Waldon tweeted this last night:
"Source: RHP Rookie Davis is nearing an agreement for a minor league deal with invite to Big League camp. I’m told the Pirates have been engaged throughout the talks."
This deal was later confirmed by Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette on Twitter. Brink announced that it is indeed a minor league deal with an invite to spring training.
Davis is most notable for being a part of the Cincinnati Reds and New York Yankees trade that sent closer Aroldis Chapman from the Queen City to the Bronx. He quickly established himself as a quality pitching prospect, being ranked as the Reds eighth overall prospect by the end of 2016 and their ninth in 2017.
However, Davis did not make much of an impact in his short major league experience with the Reds. Davis made his big league début in 2017, throwing in seven games and making six starts. He picked up his first big league win, being his only, going 1-3 with an 8.63 ERA in 24 innings pitched. He missed most of the 2018 season with hip surgery that he had at the end of the 2017 season. This could have been a big reason as to why he struggled in 2017.
The righty has the size that the Pittsburgh Pirates like in their starting pitchers, standing at 6’5” and weighing around 225 pounds. Also, he throws a power fastball that sits 93-9, but he can get up to as high as 96 miles per hour. The pitch also has good movement to it and Davis has produced a career groundball rate of 43 percent. This is another thing the Bucs look for in pitchers, and he definitely has shown potential to be a groundball arm.
While signing Rookie Davis is not got going to grab any major headlines, it very well could be the type of move that works out for the Bucs. He is still relatively young at just 25 years of age. Also, he has a projectable frame, throws in the mid-90s, and can produce groundballs. This could be the kind of depth pick up that often works out for this organization.