Henry Davis is Already Acting Like a Leader on Day One of Spring Training

BRADENTON, Fla. – At this point in time, Henry Davis is seven months removed from being the number one overall pick in the MLB draft, taken out of Louisville.

The way he spoke on Monday’s first day of minor league Spring Training sounded more like a Major League player who has already reached his 1-1 expected upside.

Last week, the Pittsburgh Pirates catching prospect tweeted out a statement against MLB’s proposed further cuts to minor league jobs.

On Monday, Davis followed up on his comments when asked about the tweet, noting that all of the players being cut could be future MLB players.

“I think, one, on the minor league side there’s a whole lot we can do better,” Davis said. “I don’t really know all the details or have all of the answers, but I know that more baseball is better. It doesn’t matter what level. When you’re cutting minor league teams, as they have in the past, and the tweet suggested in the future, these people are very important for growing the game. Every level you cut, every team you cut, there are future big leaguers on that team. Late bloomers, people who haven’t quite figured it out that are super talented. I don’t have all of the answers on the MLB side. I support the players. Everybody wants baseball back. You all want baseball back, we want baseball back, the fans want to see it. Hopefully there can be progress made in that department.”

Around camp on day one, Davis has already been seen as a leader. He spoke confidently through his opening press conference, with no hesitation in his comments on the CBA negotiations.

He was one of the first players to arrive at Pirate City, getting in on January 3rd with 2020 first round pick Nick Gonzales. The two have been known as some of the hardest workers, who you have to literally pull away from the field to get them to stop practicing.

Davis immediately called his fellow 2021 draft mates, left-handed pitcher Anthony Solometo and two-way player Bubba Chandler, to come down and join him to get a head start on the season. Davis is living with Solometo and Chandler, and keeps order with the high school picks.

“He’s really good at keeping us in check,” Solometo said. “If someone is staying up too late, it’s not good for recovery, it’s not good for our body, he’s going to let us know that this is the best time for us, stuff like that. He’s going to help us out with tips that he’s doing, little things he’s read up on.”

Davis cooks healthy breakfasts for the trio, before they head into Pirate City for a day of work. He also sets the temperature to an optimal point for sleeping before bed, as one of the tips he’s learned from constantly reading books.

“I read books about athletes, people who are really good at what they do,” Davis said. “It doesn’t have to be sports, specifically. But I just try to take bits and pieces. Anything that can help me be better, or has the potential to, I’ll try it. If it doesn’t help, I don’t do it anymore. Feeling like I can add little bits and pieces here and there to help me, maybe help the other guys I’m around.”

Davis received a lot of attention for his power bat, and his potential to stick behind the plate with a cannon for an arm. The catching is behind the hitting, and Davis is currently trying to take in as much information as he can from various coaches he’s worked with in the last half-year.

“He hasn’t had a whole lot of playing time and experiences as a pro just yet,” Pirates’ hitting coordinator Jonny Tucker said. “A lot of this is going to be for Henry to figure out, and how he manages his body, and how he stays healthy away from the field, and how he just learns.”

Tucker said that Davis will ultimately learn by experiencing the game and figuring things out as he goes along.

“He’s an absolute workhorse who you’re going to have to rip him off the field and rip his jersey off for him not to get better,” Tucker said. “But once again, those are good problems. I think you would much rather deal with that than the latter of trying to encourage guys to have to hit more, or receive, or block more. Not going to be the problem with Henry.”


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Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.

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