Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Rum Bunter’s Preseason Top 10
By Noah Wright
Number 2 – Catcher Henry Davis
There ended up being a tie for the #1 spot on our list. Since over half of our avaiable staff writers voted on this list, we turned to the readers’ opinions. We held a Twitter poll, and backstop Henry Davis ended up in second place with 30.1% of the 432 total votes.
Davis is one of the newest additions to the Pirate farm, as he was the first overall pick in the 2021 draft. Although Davis wasn’t widely projected to be the no. 1 pick, he was still considered a top 3 prospect going into the draft.
The catcher put up phenomenal hitting numbers at the University of Louisville. Through 428 plate appearances, Davis obliterated opponent pitching to the tune of a .337/.435/.565 line. He walked six more times than he struck out, with a 12.1% walk rate and just a 10.7% strikeout rate. All told, he had a .439 wOBA.
Davis’s first look at professional pitching also went well. While he only had 31 plate appearances between Rookie-Ball and High-A Greensboro, Davis had eight hits, over half of which went for extra bases (2 doubles, one triple, three homers), along with four walks. He did strike out ten times, but his first sample size couldn’t have gone better.
Davis is known for his massive power potential. He should easily hit 30 home runs a year and eclipse 40 here and there. He also has solid plate discipline and a good hit tool. You’re looking at a guy that can consistently hit .275-.280 with 35 home runs on average yearly. Though his defense leaves more to be desired.
FanGraphs only projects him to be a 40-grade defender. He struggles with balls in the dirt and framing, but it’s worth noting that the latter may not be a problem within the next five years with automated strike zones. Davis does make up for his lack of pure defensive prowess with a powerful arm, which should keep base runners from thinking about taking an extra base.
Even if Davis’ defense doesn’t play well behind the plate, he could always split his time at designated hitter. Davis’ bat is his meal ticket and arguably has the highest offensive ceiling in the system. He’s a well-rounded hitter who hits for a ton of power. Next year is his age-22 season, so he may be in the majors with the Pittsburgh Pirates within the next year or two.