Knight Given Another Shot for Major League Dream

Former Razorbacks ace signs minor league contract for return to baseball after year absence
Arkansas Razorbacks pitcher Blaine Knight (16) pitches against the Oregon State Beavers in the first inning in game one of the championship series of the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park.
Arkansas Razorbacks pitcher Blaine Knight (16) pitches against the Oregon State Beavers in the first inning in game one of the championship series of the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park. / Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports
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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Razorbacks pitching great Blaine Knight will make his return to the mound soon in the minor league, according to Phillies baseball blogger Steve Potter. Knight signed a new deal with the Philadelphia Phillies Tuesday which brings him back to the sport for the first time in over a year.

The Phillies are currently on top of the NL East Division at 34-14 overall with a five game lead over Atlanta. Along with its divisional lead, the organization boasts the best record among MLB teams. Phillies pitching staff sit No. 3 in the majors with a team 3.15 ERA and only 39 home runs allowed. The unit also leads the league with 458 strikeouts on the season. Being a part of such a dominant pitching staff, even at the minor league level, ought to benefit Knight in the long run.

Knight was selected in the third round of the 2018 MLB Draft by the Baltimore Orioles organization. The Bryant, Arkansas native spent over five seasons there before being released in March 2018. Although the right handed hurler had a terrific high school career, Knight was not drafted in 2015 and decided to play for Dave Van Horn's Razorbacks.

After being drafted in the No. 29 round of the 2017 draft, Knight returned to Fayetteville for one more shot at improving his draft stock and hopefully win a title with the Razorbacks. Knight was the premier starter for Arkansas during the 2018 season which saw the team go to its second College World Series final. He went undefeated (14-0) as the Hogs' ace with a 2.80 ERA in 19 starts. His performance as a junior earned him a higher draft stock and more than $1 million in a signing bonus.

In limited pitches as a rookie in the minor league with the Aberdeen IronBirds, Knight earned four starts with an 0-1 record and a 2.61 ERA. In 2019, he was quickly promoted to the Frederick Keys after posting a 3-0 record with an exceptional 0.68 ERA with the Delmarva Shorebirds. However, his time with the Keys wasn't as successful as Knight struggled in 18 appearances with a 1-12 record and 6.18 ERA.

Knight rebounded following the pandemic cancelled 2020 season and quickly made work with multiple promotiions during the spring and summer of 2021. He made it from Aberdeen to Bowie and onto triple-A Norfolk before the end of August with 22 appearances between the three cities finishing with 3-6 record, a 5.40 ERA and 71 strikeouts over 83 and 2/3 innings.

By the 2022 season, Knight was mired in struggles once again while demoted to Norfolk. He posted the worst ERA of his career at 7.38 with a 4-4 record.

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Jacob Davis

JACOB DAVIS