The 2021 MLB Draft begins on July 11, 2021, and unlike in 2020, this will be a twenty round draft — shorter than the forty rounds the draft has been in the most recent years prior to 2020, but longer than last year’s five round version. The Rangers’ top three picks are at #2, #38, and #73.
In the coming days, we will be doing write-ups of potential Texas Ranger draft picks, looking both at players who are in the mix at #2 and players who would be candidates to be picked in the second or third rounds. Today we are looking at University of Louisville catcher Henry Davis.
Henry Davis is a 6’2”, 210 lb. righthanded hitting catcher out of the University of Louisville. He made the Baseball America top 500 draft prospect list in 2018, when he was a glove-first prep catcher out of New York, but was not drafted. Davis slashed .280/.345/.386 in 148 plate appearances as a freshman in the 2019 season before putting up huge numbers in 14 games in 2020, slashing .372/.481/.698 before the college season was cancelled. Davis showed that performance was no fluke this year, slashing .370/.482/.663 in 228 plate appearances over 50 games.
Davis is considered the best college hitter in the 2021 draft, with a quality hit tool and approach to go along with big time power. He has a strong arm that is an asset behind the plate, and while there are concerns about his mobility behind the plate due to his size, the consensus appears to be that Davis will be able to stick behind the plate. His bat is potent enough, meanwhile, that even if he doesn’t stay at catcher, he has the potential to be an asset at a corner position.
Baseball America has Davis at #4 on their current top 500 draft list, as does MLB Pipeline on their board. Kiley McDaniel also has Davis at #4 on his current board. Keith Law has Davis as the #1 player in his draft rankings. Fangraphs has Davis at #2.
The mock drafts I have been seeing have had a hard time getting a read on where Davis will go, despite his being a consensus top five talent. Fangraphs’ most recent mock draft has Davis going at #5, to the Baltimore Orioles, even though they just selected Adley Rutschman first overall in 2019. Keith Law’s most recent mock has Davis going to Pittsburgh at #1. Kiley McDaniel’s most recent mock draft had Davis going to Baltimore at #5, as does Baseball America’s most recent mock. Jim Callis’s most recent mock draft has Davis going to Boston at #4.
Davis is the first player I’ve reviewed so far who would be a possibility to go to Texas at #2. That being said, the consensus has been that the Rangers are likely to go with one of the prep shortstops, or possibly Jack Leiter. I’ve seen almost nothing linking the Rangers with Davis.
That being said, the draft is still almost a month away, and while Louisville’s season is over, it is certainly possible that Davis is the pick at #2. He is generally considered to be on the top tier of players available in the draft, and so it would be hard to argue with Texas taking him with their top pick.