The 2021 MLB Draft will begin on July 11. We take a look at Henry Davis, the top-ranked catcher from Lousiville who will go very early in the draft.
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Henry Davis, Catcher, Louisville
Weight: 210 lbs.
2019: 45 G – .280/.345/.386, 3 HR, 23 RBI
2020: 14 G – .372/.481/.698, 3HR, 13 RBI
2021: 45 G – .372/.493/.646, 12 HR, 44 RBI
Davis is a very aggressive and athletic player. He will be the first catcher off the board could very well be a top-five pick. Coming out of high school, Davis was the No. 5 ranked prospect, and the No. 1 ranked catcher out of New York. He was a two-time First-Team All-New York selection and was even the 2018 New York Perfect Game Player of the Year. After three impressive years in Louisville, he will be in contention for the number one pick. Let’s take a deeper look into Davis as a player.
Davis’ biggest strength at the plate is an elite eye for the ball. As an 18-year-old freshman in 2018, he had a 12 percent K-rate and an eight percent BB rate. He showed that same eye for the pitch in the Covid-19 shortened 2020 season when he was walked eight times and only struck out four times in 52 PA. Davis is not an elite hitter at this stage in his career, but his fast hands and great power allow him to spray the ball all over and out of the ballpark. He has a tendency to pull the ball, but with more reps in pro ball, he should be able to even out his stroke and become a more complete batter.
The one thing that has scouts raving about Davis is his plus-arm strength. In his first two collegiate seasons, he threw out 34 percent of would-be base stealers. He also has a very impressive pop time. In 2020, he maxed out at 1.93. Not only is his pop time great, but his plus-arm strength also allows him to throw baserunners out from his knees. Obviously, there will always be things to clean up and get coached on, but he has a pro-ready arm right now. Behind the dish, he is very athletic and mobile when sliding out to block balls in the dirt. With quick footwork and a rocket of an arm, Davis has the potential to be a great defensive catcher.
While he has all the tools to be a great defensive catcher, he has some work to do receiving and blocking pitches. As a 21-year-old prospect, he still has a lot of time to grow, and he will in whatever system he gets drafted into. He has the tendency to try and backhand balls in the dirt, which has cost him many trips to the backstop.
At the plate, Davis is rock-solid. A few mechanical tweaks like working on the timing of his leg-kick will be extremely beneficial to his career. Because of his great power, he can hit the ball hard every time. However, if he fixes some slight quirks in his load-up and leg-kick he will become an exceptional power-hitter. Obviously, you are not drafting a catcher for his ability around the bases, so his speed is not something to be concerned about. He is athletic enough to be a reliable first-to-home runner on contact. Simply put, a few tweaks, and Davis could become the best player of his draft class.
Draft Projection: Round 1, Pick 1, Pittsburgh Pirates
Davis very well may have hit himself into the first-pick. This season, he has a slash of .379/.498/.658 with 12 home runs, 44 RBI, and an OPS of 1.139. The Pirates can go many different routes with the top selection because, well, they need a lot of things. Why not go with a great hitting catcher? With two big-time shortstop prospects, the Pirates would be wise to go after a different position of need. This may be a bit of a reach, but Davis has for sure made himself a top-five pick.
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