Through The Prospect Porthole: Henry Davis’ Path To Pittsburgh

4-27-23 By Craig W. Toth (aka @BucsBasement on Twitter)

Over the past week and change I have seen comments about Henry Davis ranging from him being the Pirates Designated Hitter of the Future to Endy Rodriguez’s eventual back-up, and from the savior of the organization to a bust that will ultimately fizzle out as the season progresses. Some have even gone as far as to suggest that they move him off the position immediately because he can’t be a Major League Catcher; better serving the team as a 1st Baseman and/or Right Fielder.

Now, I guess that this chatter is mostly the result of being Ben Cherington’s first 1:1 Draft Pick. Still, I don’t know how any of these statements can be made until we see a full-season from the former Louisville backstop, along with the development of Endy at Triple-A; a process which is on hold at the moment due to a IL stint.

For those of you that have been living under a rock-or simply just don’t follow the Pirates Farm System-Top Catching Prospect Endy Rodriguez was removed from the 8th inning of the Indianapolis Indians game against Memphis on Thursday April 20th; and was subsequently placed on the 7-Day IL with a forearm strain the following day.

After being evaluated by doctors in Pittsburgh it was reported today-Thursday April 27th-that he would be able to DH in 3 to 4 days, and would be back behind the dish in 7 to 10 days.

Obviously it is early in the season, so this shouldn’t have much of an effect on the Pirates plans for this duo; although, it might make sense to look at exactly how we got here, before we discuss how this situation could progress.

Although he was not in the original group that arrived in Altoona, the Pirates 1:1 in 2022 Davis would make his way north from Greensboro in short order, after 100 plate appearances in High-A; during which he slashed .342/.450/.585 with 5 homers and what would be 9 critical hit by pitches.

Regrettably this later trend would continue-even with the promotion-as he was hit by a pitch in his first Double-A plate appearance. 

However, Davis would just shake it off, and go yard a couple of trips to the plate later.

Then two days later, he would be hit by a pitch yet again. Only this time he wouldn’t return to the field for almost a month, due to a non-displaced left wrist fracture. Eventually returning to the Curve lineup on June 11th. after two rehab starts in the FCL and Bradenton.

It should be noted that this wasn’t Davis’ first experience on the IL, as his 2021 campaign was cut short after 31 plate appearances due to an oblique injury.

Over the next few weeks-and 15 games-Davis would struggle mightily by slashing .175/.299/.316 with a 75 wRC+; but, still hit a homer and 5 doubles before ending up back on the IL with wrist soreness. 

This time it would be a month and half before he reappeared in Altoona; apparently fully healthy this go-around.

Over the final 18 games of the year he would bat .254 with a .778 OPS, 3 homers, 3 doubles and a 114 wRC+.

Due to missing significant time-once the season was over-Davis found his way to the Arizona Fall League; where he continued to perform by posting a .875 OPS, and walking (10) almost as much as he struck out (11).

In spite of this late season surge, it really shouldn’t have been a surprise that Davis ended back in Altoona, in order to get regular reps behind the plate; as stated by Cherington.

As far as Endy is concerned, we should all know by now that he came over from the Mets as part of the Joe Musgrove trade; technically because of the Padres moving Joey Lucchesi as part of this deal. The assumption at the time was that the Padres were unwilling to part with one of their catchers, at least one the Pirates wanted so a third team was brought in to get what Cherington was looking for, in form of the Mets #14 Prospect.

When he arrived, Endy was only 20-ok almost 21-and spent his first season in MiLB back in 2019. As switch hitter, he has racked up a .840 OPS and a .389 OBP between the FCL and the DSL.

During 2021-spent entirely in Low-A Bradenton-Endy slashed .294/.380/.512 with 15 homers; yet; nothing could have really prepared Pirates Fans for what would happen in 2022.

Across three levels-from Greensboro to Altoona, and finally Indianapolis-he would combine for a .323/.407/.590 slash line, with 25 homers and 68 total extra base hits; on his way to being the Pirates Minor League Player of the Year, and leapfrogging Davis in the process. Which brings us pretty close to present day.

Thus far-in the course of a few weeks-Davis is slashing .265/.438/.633 with 5 homers, a 196 wRC+ and a 20.3% BB to 18.8% K-rate across 64 plate appearances. On the other hand, Endy batting .263 with a .789 OPS, three homers, a 98 wRC+ and a 9.1% BB to 12.1% K-rate. But-and it’s a Big But-Endy is on the 40-Man, and is due to be back fully in a little over a week.

So, what’s Henry’s path to Pittsburgh?

Well, the first thing that comes to mind is health.

After that, it’s continuing to perform in Altoona, and Indianapolis once he is promoted; likely in conjunction with Endy’s call-up to Pittsburgh.

Then maybe he gets a cup of coffee with the Pirates toward the end of the season; in all probability as a DH.

I know, that’s a lot of information to come to the conclusion that many of us already arrived at during the off-season, and into Spring Training.

Clearly the situation could change, but that would honestly require either Davis or Endy dropping off a cliff performance wise; or a more serious injury. Neither of which appears to be a likely scenario currently.

As with most things prospect related; it is simply a waiting game.

Published by Craig W. Toth

Former Contributing Author at, Co-Host of the Bucs in the Basement Podcast and life-long/diehard Pittsburgh Pirates Fan!

6 thoughts on “Through The Prospect Porthole: Henry Davis’ Path To Pittsburgh

  1. Hi Craig, I don’t care which one gets here first, I’d just like someone who can hit a little and throw out an occasional base stealer. I may be wrong, but I don’t remember either catcher throwing out a base stealer yet. I know Hedges is a great defensive catcher, but I’m missing it, I haven’t seen anything special about his framing, and his hitting is pitcher like. Delay while he’s not Johnny Bench, he’s had some big hits already this season, maybe him and Endy by next year.


    1. Can’t disagree Ken. Both have very strong arms. Stealing is just a lot easier nowadays. If Delay continues to hit, I wouldn’t be opposed to him as a back-up again.


  2. I would think, to clear space for Endy, and definitely for Henry one of the current catchers gets traded? I have really liked Delay’s defense all along and if he can hit a bit I think he should be kept over Hedges as Hedges only has a one year deal (right?). Thoughts on if someone gets moved? Of course this would be tied to a “best case” scenario.


    1. Trade, injury or Optioning Delay to Indianapolis. Endy won’t be catching for the next week and change, so there’s time.


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