The Pirates have taken Louisville catcher Henry Davis with the primary total decide of the 2021 draft. The 21-year-old Davis joins Jeff King (1986), Kris Benson (1996), Bryan Bullington (2002) and Gerrit Cole (2011) as gamers drafted by the Pirates with the primary total choice, and Davis is the primary Louisville participant to be taken 1-1.
The decide ends weeks of hypothesis about Pittsburgh’s intentions with the highest decide, and Davis’ choice counts as a little bit of a shock contemplating that top college shortstop Marcelo Mayer was seen as the favourite. Nonetheless, Davis was additionally talked about as a candidate on the Bucs’ radar, and in latest days, there gave the impression to be an rising chance that the Pirates would possibly go for Davis or one in all two different well-regarded highschool shortstops in Jordan Lawlar and Kahlil Watson. That is Pittsburgh’s second draft underneath common supervisor Ben Cherington, and the group additionally went with a university participant early final 12 months, taking New Mexico State shortstop Nick Gonzales with the seventh total decide.
Contemplating Davis’ pedigree, the Pirates aren’t precisely reaching by taking the backstop with the 1-1 choice. Nonetheless, since a number of reviews have indicated the Pirates plan to unfold out their bonus pool cash, it’s honest to imagine their selection of Davis could also be tied to a willingness on his half to conform to a bonus south of the $8,415,300 assigned slot worth for the primary total decide. Any cash saved in signing Davis will enable Pittsburgh to allocate extra of its $14,394,000 draft bonus pool to its different picks throughout the first 10 rounds, theoretically permitting the Pirates to pick after which signal any blue chip abilities that will have fallen down the draft board attributable to signability issues.
Fangraphs and The Athletic’s Keith Legislation every ranked Davis because the second-best total prospect of this 12 months’s draft class, behind Mayer. Baseball America and ESPN.com’s Kiley McDaniel every had Davis fourth of their rankings, whereas MLB Pipeline ranked him fifth. Whether or not Davis will stick as a catcher is a matter of some debate, as his blocking and receiving nonetheless wants some polish, however each McDaniel and Fangraphs notice that Davis’ points with framing received’t be a problem if and when Main League Baseball implements a robotic strike zone. Moreover, Davis has a really highly effective throwing arm, with BA and Pipeline every giving him a 70-grade arm on the 20-80 scouting scale. (McDaniel even goes as far as to name it a “70-or-80-grade arm.”)
It’s attainable Davis will finally have to maneuver to a nook infield or nook outfield slot. Regardless of his place, nevertheless, Davis’ bat will appear to play wherever — Fangraphs even referred to as him “arguably the most secure prospect within the draft as a result of he performs a premium place, has influence uncooked energy, and has no contact purple flags.” Maybe essentially the most highly-regarded faculty bat of the draft class, Davis has one thing of an uncommon swing, but additionally (as per Baseball America) “standout zone recognition, pure bat-to-ball abilities and plus energy to his pull aspect to make all the pieces work.”
MLB Pipeline’s Jim Callis was the first to report that the Pirates had been drafting Davis.