If competition truly brings out the best of people, then it’s safe to say that the catcher position for the Pittsburgh Pirates is going to be in strong hands for the immediate future.
Owning not one, but two of the best catching prospects in baseball, the Pirates could potentially have one of the best duos behind the plate in the game at some point soon.
Endy Rodriguez burst onto the scene last season, tearing across three different levels on the way to being named the Minor League Player of the Year. He will be in Pittsburgh this week to get evaluated after leaving a recent game and then being placed on the injured list.
That’s opened the door for Henry Davis to take the spotlight once again. The former first overall pick has most of his first full professional season wiped out due to injuries. Healthy this season, Davis has four home runs on the season — to go along with four stolen bases — but there’s a point more impressive to his start.
He’s had an unlucky start to the season when it comes to putting the ball into play, with a .258 BABIP, 40-points lower than his career mark. That being said, he’s walked (13) more than he’s struck out (10), constantly stringing together strong plate appearances.
Henry Davis launched one an estimated 460 ft!
The @Pirates' No. 3 prospect has three homers in his last nine games for the @AltoonaCurve. pic.twitter.com/TJWlU9D2t1
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) April 23, 2023
The power is there, and taking the approach he is at the plate, the ‘bad luck’ won’t last long.
Staying healthy was the biggest key to his season this year, and if he continues this he will have the chance to close the gap that Rodriguez created with his performance last year.
— The Pirates are currently sitting with the second most wins in all of baseball, trailing only the Tampa Bay Rays. It’s been an incredible start to the year, something that certainly wasn’t expected.
It’s been an interesting start, as they’ve certainly taken advantage of an easy start to the season, as their opponent’s have a combined record of 53-81. So, it’s fair to point out that they’ve beaten up on some weak competition.
It’s also fair to say that at the very least, they’ve pushed themselves in another tier of teams that they’ve reached the point where they are expected to beat certain teams.
— Javier Rivas has had his fare share of struggles to start the season, striking out just over 40% of the time so far. He’s also hit the ball very hard, and picked up the first two extra-base hits of the season this weekend – a double and home run.
He’s handled the shortstop position fantastically, even at his size, and has tools that scouts drool over. You had to figure there’d be growing pains to start the year, but even through them, he’s shown just what he has the potential for.
— JP Massey was fantastic on Sunday, striking out seven while allowing just two hits and a walk over five innings. His breaking stuff is certainly advanced enough to give Single-A hitters fits, it just comes down to consistency with his control.
Check out the rest of the minor league action in the Prospect Watch:
Prospect Watch: Multi-Homer Day for Henry Davis and Jase Bowen
Daily Video Rundown
Javier Rivas with another run scoring hit, this time a RBI double #LetdGoBucs pic.twitter.com/KFtZvlpGZX
— Anthony Murphy (@__Murphy88) April 23, 2023
A look at the Rivas RBI double in the eighth inning of Sunday’s game.
Travis Swaggerty is currently on the injured list with an ‘illness’, so this is looking back to his big day against the Louisville Bats across two games of a doubleheader.
Although he didn’t have the best of starts this week, Quinn Priester struck out nine in 4.2 innings in his previous start.
PIRATES PROSPECTS DAILY
By Tim Williams
There’s no action throughout the system today. I’ll have a column, and we’ll have our regular schedule of articles on Monday, including a recap of the draft prospects and the top performers of the week.
Pirates Recap: Vince Velasquez Leads the Pirates to Their Seventh Win in a Row
Prospect Watch: Multi-Homer Day for Henry Davis and Jase Bowen
**Pirates Add Drew Maggi to Roster; Bryan Reynolds Placed on Bereavement List
**Minor Moves: Jared Jones Heads to Injured List
**If you missed it from yesterday, Anthony weighed in on extending Derek Shelton, saying it was the right call.
SONG OF THE DAY
Not arguing this is predictive but as a team
Pirates have 5th best XWOBA batting in league
Rotation has 12 best Xwoba against
Bullpen has 14th best Xwoba against
Classic stabilized vs predictive metric debate, lol.
The bats and relievers can’t keep this up but I think the starters can hold serve, if not improve a hair.
As to the Pirates winning record reflecting their having played a weak schedule, take a look at the schedule the Rays (who many people are touting as having one of the best starts ever and ranking #1 in power rankings) have played. Their opponents records are 57-95/.375 compared to the Pirates 53-81/.395 (the Pirates played the Reds twice). It’s all about perception.
Dumb question for us internet doctors but curious if anyone thinks there is a more than 50% chance Endy avoids UCL surgery?
Just have a sick feeling now but hope I’m completely off.
No one? I was hoping someone would tell me I’m overreacting and Endy will be back in the lineup in a few weeks.
Not so sure how much “bad luck” I can count on when Hank came into the weekend with more pop ups than line drives and is rocking one of the most extreme pull rate in the eastern league, but his discipline alone shows he’s much too advanced at the plate for AA arms. Very curious to see how his unorthodox swing plays against upper level competition.
For those of us moaning Endy being hurt, the Angels just lost Logan O’Hoppe arguably a better catching prospect than Endy, for 4-6 months!
How long will Davis remain at AA? If Endy falters thru injury or performance, will Davis leap frog him? Great problem to have.
Any chance they bump Henry Davis up to Indy if Endy is going to get shut down? I was thinking the only reason Davis went to AA was so both he and Endy could get regular playing time. TBD on the Endy injury of course.
In an ideal scenario, don’t think you push Tank up sooner just because of an injury. They do have Heineman at AAA, and Grant Koch picked up a couple of hits on Sunday too.
If they deem him ready though, you don’t wait. The issue with that is it leaves you super light at catcher in Altoona . You’d have to move up Eli Wilson from GBO with Gutierrez out. Depth is getting super tested right now
Do you really need to bump Wilson up? Couldn’t Bins take over starting duty until actual promotions are made on merit?
Of course, if he’s ready, but I thought he would have started the year in AAA if Endy wasn’t on the team and the only reason Davis went to AA was so both he and Endy could get enough time behind the plate. I didn’t think of the snowball effect from the lower levels though.
I see a scenario where Davis still starts in Altoona regardless. Solely because of him not really staying healthy. Would probably say there wasn’t much of a stretch where he was 100% last year
Big fan of Florence. Gal has some pipes.
Hope Davis stays healthy and keeps progressing. That was an impressive grab by that fan. Luckily for Davis left field wasn’t 500 feet down the line.
Massey and Ashcraft are both in their age 23 seasons. Saw that Ashcraft had been promoted to A, and had a good first outing. He was in A+ for 10 Starts in 2021 before going down with TJ. Wish him well and he could be on the fast track. They may not get to MLB with the Pirates, but they have to move fast enough to get into or be on the threshold of AA by age 24. Just a numbers game.
Jase Bowen is tearing it up in A+ with a 1.117 OPS, 5 HR, 4/5 SB, playing all 3 OF positions, but needs to clean up the BB/K where he is currently 4/19.
And, if getting Suwinski and Marcano from the Padres for Adam Frazier was not enough, here’s the 3rd guy we got, Michell Miliano posting some big numbers as a RP in A+ – 4G, 9IP, 5H, 0 R, 19 K/3 BB.
That SD trade makes up for the Marte and Bell trades? Peguero is hitting all of ,225 at Altoona. And that is after a hot stretch.
Last year at AA as a 21 year old, Peguero batted .259 in almost 500 AB with 22 doubles (4th on the team), 5 triples (2nd on the Team), and 10 HR (4th on the Team), and fielded .935 in 94 games at SS – best fielding percentage of anyone playing 20 games or more at that position. Should he be repeating AA? Probably confusing him also!
Who do the Pirates have at SS in AAA? Bissonette 26, Owings 31, Marcano who is a 2B, and NG, another 2B.
Marte was a money dump – did not want to pick up the $11.5 mil CO. Bell was a money dump and also so BC could put Moran at 1B.
Sure, Marte and Bell were money dumps, but they still could’ve gotten better players. Musgrove, Cutch and Frazier were money dumps and we did okay with those deals.
If Peguero was disappointed in repeating AA, then maybe he should start making the decision harder to keep him there. His fielding and hitting have a ways to go. Perhaps he does need to mature? Or maybe he never will. Alen Hanson was always young for his level….until he wasn’t.
If he was 23 with what he hit last year (.259), would he be held back to repeat AA? Wondering what Gonzales hit at AA last year? (.263).
Based on K/AB, Gonzalez was 34.7%, Peguero 22.9%.
Have we inspired Peguero?
They gave him the ultimate inspiration last year already and he’s responded with a .228/.294/.307 triple slash line in 335 PA since.
Kid doesn’t have an inkling of plate discipline, will get eaten alive by upper level arms until he adjusts.
I don’t think Nicky the K belongs in AAA.
Like I said, if Peguero feels butt hurt, then MAKE them move you up. If he is sulking, then that is on him.