The Pittsburgh Pirates had a glaring hole at the future of the catching position when Ben Cherington was hired. Now the team has two of the top prospects at the position.
It has been some time since the Pittsburgh Pirates have had touted catching prospects. One would have to go back to Reese McGuire when he was a first-round pick back in 2013. Since then it has been a glaring hole in the system. The previous regime seemed fine with filling the catching needs through trades and free agency.
The new Front Office, under Ben Cherington's leadership. made it known this was a need for them upon taking over. Cherington did not go all in right away on finding catching prospects. It would not be until the Joe Musgrove trade, during Cherington's second offseason.
A three-team deal brought over multiple pieces from the Padres and the Mets. In the end, the Mets would send the Pittsburgh Pirates rising catching prospect Endy Rodriguez technically for Joey Luchessi. Luchessi was with the Padres and moved to the Bucs who then flipped him to New York.
After an abysmal season in 2020, the Pittsburgh Pirates received the top selection for the 2021 Draft. The team at this point saw Endy making strides but he would not truly break out until 2022. So the team for a plethora of reasons decided to select Louisville catcher Henry Davis. Now both Davis and Rodriguez are ranked as 2 of the 10 best catching prospects in Baseball.
Endy Rodriguez ranks as MLB Pipeline’s 6th-best catching prospect. The switch-hitting backstop is coming off a season in which he had a 166 wRC+ between three levels of the minor leagues, improving at each and every stop. Rodriguez has been given 50-grades or better for his fielding, arm, hit, and power. The only tool he is below average in is speed, which is common for most backstops. Even then, MLB Pipeline still gives him a 45 grade, which is better than most catchers.
Henry Davis comes in just behind Rodriguez at #7. Davis gets a 55 grade for his hit tool, but a 60 grade for his power. He also has the best arm among the top 10 catching prospects with a 70 grade cannon. But his defense is still questionable. He’s a 40 grade defender and he’s allowed eight passed balls in less than 400 innings caught. MLB Pipeline still likes his overall talent and offensive ceiling.
It is always intriguing to see where the Bucs prospects are going to fall each year in these rankings. Personally, I feel that Rodriguez is too low on the list, but if he continues to do what he did in 2022 he will definitely shoot up toward the top. Click here for the complete list.