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Pittsburgh Pirates Take Louisville Catcher Henry Davis No. 1 Overall

An hour before the draft began, Louisville catcher Henry Davis knew that he was going to be a Pittsburgh Pirate.

And for much of the next hour, he kept a very valuable secret. His family didn’t ask. He didn’t volunteer information. As he describes it, his family is really good at understanding the moment.

A few minutes before Rob Manfred made it official, Davis got a second confirmation that he was the pick. At that point, his family joined in knowing a soon-to-expire secret.

“Just seeing the emotion on their faces was super special. I mean I wouldn’t be here without the people in that row,” Davis said. “You think back to all the sacrifices and things you learned and picked up along the way. 

“You don’t really get it as a kid the sacrifices your parents make I hope that I moving forward can try to make it up to them because you can never fully repay them for what they’ve done. They’ve sacrificed for their kids, my sister, my brother and me.”

Davis also got some helpful advice along the way. His ex-Louisville teammate Reid Detmers, a 2020 first-round pick of the Angels, gave him a significant primer on the draft.

“He told me don’t get too high. Don’t get too low. Just be excited and get ready to get to work and move forward,” Davis said.

The Pirates decision to select Davis, long considered an option—but only one of many options at 1-1—immediately threw the draft into one of the many possible permutations. Vanderbilt’s Jack Leiter quickly went to the Rangers at No. 2. The Tigers picked Oklahoma high school righthander Jackson Jobe at No. 3 and the Red Sox selected shortstop Marcelo Mayer, a potential option at No. 1 for the Pirates, at No. 4.

Colton Cowser became an even bigger wild card when the Orioles selected him with the fifth pick. The only team in the top five linked to Cowser was the Orioles. He’s considered one of the best bats in the college class, but the expectation is that he will be signing a below-slot deal, much like the Orioles did last year with Heston Kjerstad. Kjerstad was the No. 2 pick but his bonus was the seventh-largest in the class.


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