Henry Davis from the University of Louisville was the shocking No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 MLB Draft Sunday evening by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
For many, Davis was not considered to be anywhere near the top prospect in the class with the likes of shortstop Marcelo Mayer and pitcher Jack Leiter being the top players on many big boards.
Instead, Pittsburgh went with a catcher whom MLB.com had ranked as its fifth-best prospect heading into the draft.
“Davis compares favorably to Louisville’s most recent first-round catcher, showing more power and a better arm than Will Smith had when the Dodgers took him No. 32 overall in 2016. The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder slugged 15 homers and stole 10 bases over 50 games for the Cardinals this spring, batting .370/.482/.663,” MLB.com noted in its scouting report of Henry Davis. “His 70-grade arm and fine footwork make him dangerous behind the plate, too, although he’ll work on developing more consistency as a receiver. Like Smith, he is quick enough that some teams might be tempted to try him out in other positions.”
Pittsburgh gained the top pick in the amateur draft by posting a 19-41 record during the COVID-shortened 2020 season. General manager Ben Cherington opted to go with a player in Davis who has three seasons of collegiate experience under his belt. It’s this MLB-ready talent that likely drew the backstop to the Pirates.