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36 days till FSU baseball: Davis Hare could be the top arm in Jimmy Belanger’s bullpen

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JUCO transfer brings “unhittable” splitter to back end of FSU’s ‘pen

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Davis Hare finished his high school career rated the 15th best RHP pitcher in the state of Georgia, but found himself going the JUCO route. Hare decided to head to Wallace Community College-Dothan and the path has payed off for him as he now finds himself at FSU. Hare struggled in his first year at WCC, putting up an ERA of 5.85 in 10 appearances as a freshman. The struggles didn’t last long, as the righty dominated in the 2019 season, leading to his commitment to FSU in April. Hare posted a 1.85 ERA and a 11.3 K/9 while walking just eight batters in 39 innings of work. The 6’3, 215 pitcher is bringing an impressive arsenal to FSU.

The Georgia-native doesn’t have a flashy or electric pitch selection, but he does boast a unique, effective thee-pitch mix. Hare’s fastball sat in the low 90’s in the fall, often ranging from 91-93, but he has the ability to ramp it up when he wants. While at WCC, Hare topped out at 96 mph on the gun. The fastball has sinking action to it, making it hard for hitters to get up in the air for loud contact. The righty also boasts a high-70’s curveball, which he only uses from time-to-time, but can drop it in for a strike whenever he needs to.

The pitch that sets Davis apart is his splitter. Splitters are a rare commodity for pitchers, especially in college as many kids are taught to throw a normal changeup when they’re young to avoid arm injuries. When thinking about Hare’s splitter, look back at former Red Sox closer Koji Uehara. Uehara didn’t throw the hardest fastball, but the splitter made it look about five mph harder than it really was. Hare’s splitter will come in around the low 80’s, looking like a fastball before basically coming to a stop and diving below the hitter’s bat. The dead-stop affect from the splitter is what makes the FB look like it jumps out of his hand. Mike Martin Jr. described Hare’s splitter as “unhittable.” He won’t throw it over the plate for called strikes, but it’s hard for batters to lay off and often gets swing-and-misses and weak ground balls.

Davis showed just how effective, efficient, and “unhittable” he can be in the fall. In three innings of work, Hare didn’t give up a baserunner while striking out four batters and throwing just 29 pitches. The target pitches per inning for a pitcher is 15, and Hare was under 10 per inning for the fall. Is it a small sample size? Yes. Did he make it look easy? Yes.

Meat told me in the fall that the coaching staff was down to three potential guys to be their closer in 2020. Hare is likely one of those three and also the favorite. Junior also said they were looking for someone who can throw strikes and field the position, Hare did both of those at a high rate in fall. The JUCO-transfer can also get both LHH and RHH out with the splitter. The sinker/splitter mix will keep the ball off the ground and avoid the big hits late in the game. I’d expect Hare to be one of FSU’s top three relievers in appearances in 2020.