Only days after the Texas Longhorns narrowly missed a chance at playing for a national title in Omaha, head coach David Pierce and his staff landed a commitment from former Winthrop Eagles redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Daniel Blair.
Excited to announce that I will be continuing my academic and athletic career at The University of Texas. Thank you to everybody who has supported me along the way. pic.twitter.com/94GV7DDoC7— Daniel Blair (@danielblair085) June 30, 2021
Originally out of Georgia, the 6’3, 205-pounder spent his first season of college baseball at Spartanburg Methodist College, where he struck out 57 batters in 43.1 innings over 13 appearances. After transferring to Winthrop, Blair had a 4.67 ERA across 17.1 innings in four starts with 19 strikeouts and five walks. In 2021, Blair wasn’t able to take the next step, starting in six of his 13 appearances with a 7.55 ERA. Walks became a problem with Blair issuing 29 free passes in 39.1 innings while allowing 46 hits, a WHIP of 1.92. He struck out 29 batters, so that was a positive, but the other numbers from Blair were not impressive.
So, why did Pierce take a player from a Big South team who didn’t pitch particularly well in 2020? Clearly, Pierce and pitching coach Sean Allen see something projectable in Blair as a pitcher who has some swing-and-miss stuff and some mechanical fixes to help his control.
If Blair can do those two things, he has a chance to compete for a spot in the back half of the bullpen or, in a best-case scenario, maybe he earns an occasional start during a Wednesday game.
But one thing is clear — Blair is not going to get 13 chances to achieve the results that he did at Winthrop. And while that makes Blair a seemingly low-floor addition, Pierce and his staff have earned some benefit of the doubt to determine whether what they see in him shows up at Texas in a way those qualities did not at Winthrop.