College Pod: Auburn's Davis Daniel
This week on the Baseball America college podcast, Auburn righthander Davis Daniel joins Teddy Cahill to talk about fall ball and to look ahead to the 2019 season.
Daniel this spring went 3-4, 4.86 with 70 strikeouts in 66.2 innings as a sophomore and helped the Tigers reach super regionals for the first time since 1999. He started the season in the rotation before moving to the bullpen in the second half, a role he excelled in down the stretch. He was drafted in the 11th round by the Brewers as an eligible sophomore but decided to return for his junior season on The Plains.
Daniel said the draft presented him with a difficult decision.
"It's a long process, there's a lot that goes into it," he said. "It came down to the last minute, it came down to the wire. I think we definitely made the right decision and I'm super excited to be back at Auburn. In the end, the decision ended up being pretty easy. Once it came down to weighing the options, there's no better place to be than Auburn University right now and I'm excited going into this year."
This spring was a special one for Auburn. They went 43-23 and made their deepest postseason run in 20 years, pushing Florida to the brink in Game 3 of the super regional. But the Gators won that game on a walk-off home run in the 11th inning to advance to the College World Series.
Daniel said the way the season ended gives the returning Tigers motivation going into 2019.
"I think it definitely makes us hungry," he said. "it lets us know how close we were and how much the little things can change a season. Whether it's one pitch, one swing of the bat - whatever it is, one little thing can change an entire season.
"We realize how close we were and we have a very good attention to detail at practice and the guys have really been able to focus on the little things knowing how much of a difference they make."
Daniel spent part of his summer in the Cape Cod League, where he worked to continue to build on the adjustments he made late in the season at Auburn. That work continued this fall as he prepares for his junior season.
"I made some adjustments about three-fourths of the way through last year when I got moved to the bullpen and those adjustments really had an uptick in my stuff," Daniel said. "So, this summer and this fall, I've really been continuing to work on those and getting more consistent with the adjustments we made and getting more comfortable and build extra confidence in my preparation going into the season."