Davis Daniel (above) is a talented pitching prospect.
Montgomery, Ala.--New Auburn Tigers baseball head coach Butch Thompson will have the opportunity to put his stamp on the program with his first signing class taking shape beginning on Wednesday, which is the first day of the fall early signing period.
With several players expected to sign sometime in the next week and more expected in the spring the Auburn program is looking to add talent and depth on the mound, something Thompson is getting in bunches led by in-state talent Davis Daniel from St. James School in Montgomery.
A 6-0, 175-pounder with a fastball in the low to mid 90’s a great command, Daniel is rated the state’s No. 2 prospect by Perfect Game and should be a player who has a chance to play early for Thompson’s Tigers in the spring of 2017. Finishing 8-1 as a junior with an ERA of just 0.74 and 82 strikeouts in just 47 innings for the Trojans, Daniel said he’s excited to get his recruiting behind him and officially become an Auburn Tiger.
“It has been a very exciting last few months and has been a dream come true,” Daniel said of his recruiting. “Since I moved here when I was in the second grade I have kept up with Auburn and Alabama baseball and it has been a place I wanted to be. Things definitely seem like they’re going in the right direction with the new coaches.
"I think they’ve got a very bright future ahead of them and I’m happy to be part of it,” he said.
Originally committing to former Auburn assistant Scott Foxhall at North Carolina State, Daniel changed his mind over the summer and hasn’t looked back since. Even with a new staff coming onboard in the last month and trying to get to know them better he said for him it was a no-brainer because of Thompson’s reputation.
“I wasn’t real familiar with him over at Mississippi State,” Daniel said. “I had heard nothing but good things and when I heard he was up for the job I knew me and my family were hoping he would get it. I think it’s all going to work out in the end and it’s the best hire, the best for the future of Auburn baseball for sure.”
Known as one of the top pitching coaches and developers of arm talent in college baseball, Thompson is someone who Daniel said he is looking forward to working closely with when he gets on the Auburn campus next year.
“It’s very exciting that he’s a pitching guru,” Daniel said. “That’s going to be exciting. I think he’s all about opportunity. I know he likes to give his young guys a chance. I think if I can come in and fill a role and succeed I have a good chance to be in the rotation early and often.”
Other expected signees this week for the Tigers include:
LHP Elliot Anderson Cartersville, Ga., High--One of the top pitchers in Georgia, Anderson was originally committed to Thompson at Mississippi State before flipping his verbal to Auburn. A 6-3, 200-pounder with good velocity, Anderson was named the Region 7AAAA Player of the Year as a junior when he hit .404 with four home runs and 32 RBI in 2015. On the mound
RHP Christian Comacho (Elk Grove (Illinois High--A talented two-way player as a junior, the 6-1, 165 Comacho was 9-2 on the mound with 90 strikeouts in 78 innings a year ago. At the plate he also hit .327 to help him earn region MVP honors and his conference's player of the year.
IF Jay Estes (Chipola Community College)--Playing in 44 games as a freshman at Chipola (Fla.) Community College Estes hit .286 with three home runs, 11 stolen bases and 39 runs scored. A 5-10, 185-pounder, Estes is likely a middle infielder for the Tigers.
UTIL Corey Herndon (Columbia State Junior College)--A physical pitcher and first baseman at Columbia State in Tennessee, Herndon spent his freshman season at Central Arkansas before transferring to Columbia State this season. As a high school standout at Christian Brothers in Memphis he was a two-time All-State and three-time All-Metro selection.
LHP Welby Malczewski (Heartland Community College, Normal, Ill.)--A 6-6, 230 redshirt freshman at Heartland Community College, Malczewski redshirted last season at Wabash Valley College in Mount Carmel, Ill. A native of Mt. Prospect, Ill., Malczewski is a player who drew plenty of Division I attention out of high school before deciding to start at the junior college level. He will have three seasons of eligibility left at Auburn.
OF Bowen McGuffin (Gulf Coast (Florida) College)--Originally from Mosley High in Panama City where he was a three-time Florida All-State player, the 6-0, 170 McGuffin played last season at Gulf Coast State College. In 49 games McGuffin hit .309 and had an on-base percentage of .426.
RHP Ryan Watson--A hard throwing right-hander from Auburn High School, Watson has continued to develop on the mound for the Tigers after being used mostly out of the bullpen a season ago. Finishing his junior year with a 1-1 record and a 2.17 ERA, Watson had a strong summer with the Triton Rays as he allowed only nine hits in 15 ? innings with 20 strikeouts.