Koll: Once again imploring the Pirates to bring up Henry Davis


Nobody expected the Pirates to start the season 20-8.

For as much confidence that the players had or have in themselves, I bet they didn’t expect it, either.

But they did. It happened.

They handed themselves a gift. 12 games over .500 for a team that wasn’t supposed to contend this year. It was way ahead of schedule. The Pirates finally put out a representative lineup out there for the first times in years but they weren’t supposed to be THAT good. And most importantly, they built up plenty of cushion and room for disaster to strike before the season would get away from them.

They didn’t have to use that cushion but…they have.

Now it’s all falling apart almost as quickly as a loaded-up cap, egg and cheese after the first couple bites. The Pirates are now under .500 and if they lose Tuesday night in San Francisco, they would have not won a single series in the entire month of May.

You know what? Maybe it’s hopeless. Maybe the Pirates just aren’t a good team and they’ll sink their way to over 90 losses no matter what. I’ll acknowledge that’s not out of the realm of possibility.

But in the meantime, while there’s still a window of opportunity here when you’re in second place in the NL Central.

Don’t you want to do what you can within the organization to try to stay competitive.

That’s my argument for bringing up Henry Davis to the big leagues right now. A 23-year-old catcher who they drafted 1st overall out of college. Not a high school, longer term project.

In 115 at-bats at AA Altoona, Davis is hitting .302 with 10 HR and 27 RBI with an OPS at 1.048.

Now, the obvious here is that it’s AAC, not the Majors. I get it. But special talents can make the jump. Look at Bryan Reynolds. He was forced by injury into the big leagues but he’s never gone back and just became the Pirates first $100 million player.

The Marlins’ top pitching prospect Eury Pérez, 20 years old, just got caked up from AA for a start on May 12th and owns a 3.86 ERA in his first three starts.

It’s worth the shot to bring Davis. Ben Cherington said recently that they want to get Davis more games at catcher before they bring him up. But he almost exclusively caught at Louisville. Again, it’s not like he’s 18 and maybe still learning the position.

I know there’s a difference in handling a Major League catching position and pitching staff, but who says he can’t play a little RF? Or DH?

And who better to learn from in terms of handling a pitching staff than Austin Hedges.
It’s the sole reason why that guy is here, that’s clear. Maybe Davis can teach Hedges how to hit over .200 while he’s at it. But credit where it’s due, Hedges is tremendous in pitch framing and working with pitchers. What better guy to watch and learn from each day! You aren’t going to get that in AA.

Lastly on Hedges…I mean how much longer can you roll that guy out there five days a week batting in the .170’s, 60’s or even 50’s? I’m not saying bench him entirely, but if there’s a potential impact bat at that position waiting in the wings, why not see what he’s got?

Be a little aggressive here. Don’t let this start to the season pass you by without exploring all organizational options.

Bring up Henry Davis.

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