When California announced this fall that it would fold its baseball program after the 2011 season, its players were told they could transfer without sitting out a year after the season. But freshman righthander Eric Jaffe did not want to wait that long, electing instead to transfer to UCLA at the semester break and apply for a waiver from the NCAA to become eligible immediately.
Jaffe was granted that waiver, a source told Baseball America on Wednesday. UCLA formally announced later Wednesday that Jaffe will be eligible to pitch for the Bruins this spring, adding another elite power arm to a pitching staff chock full of them.
Jaffe had been the centerpiece of a Cal recruiting class that ranked 11th in the nation in BA's October rankings. He was one of just 10 pitchers to arrive at Division I schools this fall after ranking in the top 100 of BA's predraft rankings (which included high school and college players) last spring. He flashes a pair of true plus pitches in a fastball that reaches 95 mph and a wipeout curveball. He's also a two-way talent with huge raw power at the plate.
It's unclear what role Jaffe will fill for UCLA this spring, but he seems likely to compete with fellow hard-throwing freshman righty Nick Vander Tuig for the closer job. That duo, plus Adam Plutko and Zack Weiss, form the best group of freshman pitchers in the nation.
In other transfer news, North Carolina confirmed a Baseball America Twitter post that sophomore outfielder Brian Goodwin will transfer to Miami-Dade (Fla.) CC for the spring season. Goodwin was suspended for the season on Nov. 18 for violating university policy. At Miami-Dade, he'll play for former Florida International coach Danny Price, who begins his first season at the junior-college powerhouse in 2011.
The move makes Goodwin eligible for the 2011 draft, and he'll be a candidate to go in the first round. After hitting .291/.409/.511 with seven homers and 63 RBIs as a freshman last year, Goodwin had a strong summer in the Cape Cod League, hitting .281/.364/.360 with 15 stolen bases. He ranked as the league's No. 6 prospect.
Goodwin's raw power and speed are plus-plus tools, and he could stick in center field if he improves with experience.
Though UNC originally announced Goodwin planned to return for the 2012 season, it comes as no surprise that he chose to transfer to a junior college rather than sit out 2011. His departure deprives the Tar Heels of their most talented offensive player. They will rely on freshmen like Thomas Zengel and Brian Holberton to try to replace Goodwin and departed senior Mike Cavasinni in the outfield, while senior Ben Bunting will move from left to center.
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