|2021||Pirates Black |
After a solid first two years at Louisville, Davis saw his stock soar during his junior season. In 50 games, he set career highs across the board with 15 home runs, 48 runs batted in, a .370 batting average, and a 1.146 OPS. As a result, he became the number one pick for a Pirates team in need of a leader behind the plate for years to come.
During his college career, Davis walked more than he struck out. He has a unique right-handed swing and setup that has not stopped him from succeeding. The New York native can hit with power to all fields and had one of the strongest arms in his draft class.
Davis ascended to the top draft boards partly due to his power. In his college career he hit 21 home runs including a career-high 15 in 2021. As his playing time increased so did his power numbers which is partially why he was a top ranked prospect. So far that has translated to the minors as 25 of his 56 hits have gone for extra bases. Regardless of the level his power has come as advertised at every stop.
In the field Davis has excelled so far. The twenty-two-year-old has only committed four errors and posted a .989 fielding percentage. Pitchers like throwing to him and he has the desire to be the best catcher in baseball. For a team looking towards Davis to be a leader, he checks all the boxes.
Although the college star was drafted as a catcher, there was some questions from scouts about whether or not he’ll stay there forever. The Pirates’ top prospect has performed well defensively but only thrown out six of 35 base stealers.
After getting off to a scorching hot start, Davis has cooled off a bit. His strikes out have been on the rise, which is not uncommon for a player facing more advanced pitching. In Double-A this year, he is only hitting .198 but has at least one hit in three of his last four games. Although the 2022 season hasn’t gone as planned, Davis is still expected to be a force with the bat as he improves defensively. Staying healthy will be key as various injured have limited his playing time at each level.
Due to his offense, Davis has drawn comparisons to Mike Napoli. From 2018-2012 Napoli, .265 and averaged 24 home runs a season. While Davis is more athletic and has a higher ceiling, his numbers project to be similar to the former Angels and Rangers star. Like Napoli, Davis is also not known for his defense behind the plate and his offense will drive his value.
While Davis won’t see any time in the majors this September, his MLB debut could come sometime next year. He is currently at Double-A and should be in Triple-A sooner than later. He has hit .279 in the minors and shown the ability to handle a pitching staff.
When Davis arrives in the majors, he is projected to add above-average power and offense from the catching position. In college, that was his strength, and so far in his professional career, that has not changed. The focus in the minors has been on his defense and pitch framing. However, playing time will not be an issue as no other catcher in the Pirates system has the ceiling or makeup of Davis.
Main Image Credit: From Audacy.com