Ranking The Top 25 College Baseball Transfer Classes In 2021
With players now able to transfer between four-year schools without having to sit out a year and Covid-19 eligibility exemptions causing a continued roster crunch at the Division I level, activity in the transfer portal was more hectic than ever this offseason.
While it’s important to manage expectations for transfers, as the move won’t lead to newfound success for many of them, there’s no doubt that certain transfer classes this offseason have completely reshaped rosters around the sport.
These are the top 25 transfer classes most likely to positively change a team’s outlook for the 2022 season and beyond.
1. Texas A&M
Notable Additions: 1B Jack Moss (Arizona State), RHP Micah Dallas (Texas Tech), OF Dylan Rock (Texas-San Antonio), C Troy Claunch (Oregon State), RHP Trey Dillard (Missouri), LHP Jacob Palisch (Stanford), SS Kole Kaler (Hawaii), RHP Xavier Lovett (Mississippi State)
Overview: Coming off of a last-place finish in the SEC West, it was clear that Texas A&M needed some roster turnover in order to be more competitive in the league, and new coach Jim Schlossnagle wasted little time in doing so via the transfer portal. It’s hard to know just how much better the Aggies will be with this group in 2022 in the best conference in the country, but you certainly can’t accuse this coaching staff of not trying to turn things around as quickly as possible. This class has a little bit of everything in it, including some high-end talent that could be all-conference-type players.
Player Breakdown: Jack Moss was the top recruit in Arizona State’s 2020 recruiting class and showcased his impressive feel to hit and some power in his first season in Tempe, with a .305 average and six home runs. Dylan Rock was a four-year performer at UTSA who leaves that program with a .320 career average, 45 doubles and 18 home runs. Catcher Troy Claunch from Oregon State swings the bat well, but he also brings with him plenty of experience helping handle high-end pitching staffs, which will be an asset in the SEC. Shortstop Kole Kaler from Hawaii is a .335 career hitter on the islands who handles a premium position on the diamond.
Pitchers who have been weekend arms on teams that made it to the College World Series don’t just transfer every day, but Texas A&M got one in Texas Tech righthander Micah Dallas. His low-90s fastball and putaway slider should get outs in the SEC as well as it did in the Big 12. Missouri transfer Trey Dillard didn’t pitch last season, but he was dominant as the team’s closer in 2020 and his fastball that reaches the high 90s could make him one of the best relievers in the conference. Jacob Palisch from Stanford has a long track record of success in a relief role for the Cardinal and should be another ready-made option for the Aggies. Xavier Lovett didn’t get much of a chance to prove himself at Mississippi State, but he’s young and he showed some good things on the Cape this summer. A&M hopes he can make good on his potential in the coming years.
2. Louisiana State
Notable Additions: 3B/DH Jacob Berry (Arizona), C Tyler McManus (Samford), RHP Eric Reyzelman (San Francisco), LHP Riley Cooper (Arizona), LHP Trey Shaffer (Southeastern Louisiana), RHP Bryce Collins (Arizona)
Overview: New coach Jay Johnson went about supplementing a talented LSU roster with some of the best players available in the transfer portal, highlighted by the addition of infielder Jacob Berry, who came over with Johnson from Arizona. Berry’s arrival alone would change the fortunes of the Tigers for the better in 2022, but with some holes to fill on the pitching staff, the performances of the new pitchers might end up mattering more.
Player Breakdown: The jewel of this class is clearly Berry, who was one of the best hitters in college baseball last season. He continued to hit and hit with power as a member of USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team over the summer, and he’ll go into the 2022 season as one of the premier prospects in the sport. Even though there are questions about him defensively, he’s still the best player to transfer this offseason and his presence could help the Tigers have the best lineup in college baseball next season. Also helping that cause is former Samford catcher Tyler McManus, who hit .346 with 11 home runs last season. That type of production will play regardless of the circumstances, but his arrival is particularly important for an LSU team that didn’t get very much offensive production out of the catcher position last season.
Righthander Eric Reyzelman from San Francisco doesn’t come over with much in the way of track record during the regular season, but he dominated at times over the summer on the Cape with his fastball that reaches the high 90s now that he’s a bit further removed from the Tommy John surgery he had in 2020. Reyzelman could have a big impact for a team that needs new faces to step up on the pitching staff next season. Lefthander Riley Cooper, who like Berry followed Johnson over from Arizona, should at a minimum provide some depth in the LSU bullpen after he put up a 4.88 ERA in 31.1 innings a season ago. Lefthander Trey Shaffer from Southeastern Louisiana has a 4.38 career ERA in 127.1 innings, a fastball that was up to 97 mph last season and a swing-and-miss changeup. Righthander Bryce Collins from Arizona hasn’t pitched since his freshman season in 2019, but his fastball was up to 94 mph back then.
Notable Additions: OF Jace Bohrofen (Oklahoma), OF Chris Lanzilli (Wake Forest), C Michael Turner (Kent State)
Overview: Arkansas’ incoming transfer class is on the smaller side, but each of the three notable names has a chance to have a major impact. With a team that will already be considered a contender for a national title in 2022, the Razorbacks were looking to supplement a talented roster more than overhaul it, and with these additions, they’ve done that on paper.
Player Breakdown: Jace Bohrofen’s freshman season at Oklahoma didn’t go as planned, with the outfielder hitting .252 in 103 at-bats, but if his performance on the Cape is any indication, he is in for a breakout season at Arkansas in 2022. With Falmouth, he hit .279 with 16 extra-base hits, including five home runs, and eight stolen bases. He’s a good athlete with plus speed and that should shine through in the way he plays the outfield as well. Bohrofen will go into next season with something to prove, no doubt, but if he comes anywhere close to touching the ceiling he is thought to have, Arkansas has a star on its hands.
Former Wake Forest outfielder Chris Lanzilli has been quietly consistent for the last four years, as he left Winston-Salem with 46 doubles and 42 home runs, with his best season coming in 2019 when he hit .347 with 16 homers. He’ll fit well in an Arkansas lineup that almost always specializes in hitting the ball out of the ballpark. Last offseason, the Razorbacks secured the commitment of a couple of top catching transfers, only to have them sign as free agents after the draft. This time around, they got their man in Kent State transfer Michael Turner, a career .322/.413/.481 hitter with more walks (64) than strikeouts (59).
4. Oklahoma State
Notable Additions: RHP Victor Mederos (Miami), 1B Griffin Doersching (Northern Kentucky), LHP Dillon Marsh (Kentucky), RHP Jimmy Ramsey (Kentucky), 1B David Mendham (South Carolina), RHP Bayden Root (Ohio State)
Overview: Oklahoma State brings in an intriguing transfer class that includes both veteran, proven performers and untapped high-end talent. In that way, this group helps the Cowboys aim for short-term improvement and long-term sustainability at the same time, and that’s what earns this class its high ranking here.
Player Breakdown: With a fastball that touches the high 90s and two swing-and-miss secondary pitches, Victor Mederos was a huge part of Miami’s No. 1 recruiting class in 2020. Although he was inconsistent for the Hurricanes last season, Oklahoma State is hoping for a breakthrough from him in his second year of college baseball. Griffin Doersching from NKU is on the opposite end of the experience spectrum, as he brings big-time power and 48 career home runs over four seasons to Stillwater. Dillon Marsh from Kentucky and Bayden Root from Ohio State are both experienced relievers who will add quality depth to the Oklahoma State pitching staff.
Former Kentucky righthander Jimmy Ramsey is a bit further removed from being a highly regarded recruit than Mederos is, but similarly, the Cowboys are hoping that Ramsey’s best days are ahead of him. With a fastball that averaged over 92 mph last season and a swing-and-miss changeup, his stuff is certainly good enough to be a real asset. David Mendham, formerly of South Carolina, packs a punch that should give him a chance to shine with an Oklahoma State team that typically has a power-oriented offense.
Notable Additions: OF Hunter Jump (Arizona State), OF John Thrasher (Hartford), LHP Tyler Bosma (Miami, OH), RHP Darren Williams (Eastern Kentucky), 2B Daniel Harris IV (Eastern Kentucky), RHP Tyler Guilfoil (Lipscomb), LHP Magdiel Cotto (South Carolina), OF Adam Fogel (Hawaii)
Overview: Last season, Kentucky came up just a handful of wins short of an NCAA Tournament appearance. In an effort to supplement a roster that could be ready to compete for a postseason appearance again, coach Nick Mingione and his staff secured a massive transfer class that brings in a player of just about every type.
Player Breakdown: Former Arizona State outfielder Hunter Jump was productive in three seasons in Tempe, hitting .316/.386/.450. The 2021 season was his first as a regular, and he responded by hitting 17 doubles. Similarly, John Thrasher from Hartford, the reigning America East player of the year, had a breakout season in 2021, hitting .369/.470/.680 with 37 stolen bases. Former Hawaii outfielder Adam Fogel hit .297 over a five-year career, including a .323 average last season. That trio could be just what the doctor ordered for a Kentucky program that lost productive outfielders in Austin Schultz and John Rhodes to the draft and Cam Hill to transfer. Daniel Harris IV, a second baseman from Eastern Kentucky, could also be an immediate catalyst. He hit .460 during the shortened 2020 season and followed that up by setting full-season career highs in a number of different categories in 2021.
The Wildcats also brought in some pitchers who should be ready to help right away. Righthander Darren Williams from Eastern Kentucky could work as a starter or a reliever, as he’s done both. He works with a fastball that gets into the low 90s. Lefthander Tyler Bosma from Miami (Ohio) has very good stuff. Last season, his fastball was up to 96 mph, but he also works with a changeup that had a 42% whiff rate and a curveball that can register more than 3,000 rpm spin rates. Lefthander Tyler Guilfoil shows velocity similar to that of Bosma, with his heater running up to 95 mph, and it’s a swing-and-miss pitch for him, as it induced a 33% whiff rate in 2021, a very high figure for a fastball. Lefthander Magdiel Cotto is the wild card of the bunch. A highly regarded recruit going into last season, he struggled to the tune of an 8.31 ERA in a small sample at South Carolina, but his raw stuff was good, with a fastball up to 97 mph and a slider that had a 56% whiff rate.
6. North Carolina State
Notable Additions: SS Josh Hood (Pennsylvania), INF LuJames Groover III (Charlotte), OF Dominic Pilolli (Charlotte)
Overview: NC State’s small class does an excellent job of filling very specific needs for the team going into the 2022 season. In shortstop Josh Hood, infielder LuJames Groover III and outfielder Dominic Pilolli, the Wolfpack added three proven hitters to a lineup that lost a lot of talent after last season and ensured that it will once again have one of the best position player groups in the ACC.
Player Breakdown: Because of the Ivy League’s approach to scheduling last season, Hood hasn’t played during a spring season since early in 2020, but his .331/.411/.580 slash line with eight home runs earned him freshman All-American honors in 2019, and despite the layoff, he was still drafted in the 20th round by the Red Sox this year. He’ll get a crack at serving as the successor to Jose Torres at shortstop for the Wolfpack.
Both Groover and Pilolli were key pieces of a Charlotte lineup that helped the program to its first regional appearance in a decade last season. The former hit .351 a season ago, and while he primarily played first base for the 49ers out of necessity in 2021, he also provides some defensive versatility with his ability to play second base as well. Pilolli was on his way to a very solid season offensively when a knee injury cost him the last month of the regular season and the postseason. Regardless of where those two fit defensively, their presence should help replace some of the offensive production NC State lost to the draft after the season.
7. Florida State
Notable Additions: 1B Alex Toral (Miami), RHP/2B/SS Jordan Carrion (Florida), 2B/SS Brett Roberts (Tennessee Tech)
Overview: Florida State’s transfer class is unique in that it brought in a player from each of its two biggest in-state rivals, including Alex Toral, who was a prominent player for Miami for the last four years. This class looks poised to help FSU address the offensive issues it faced last year when the lineup sometimes struggled to get consistent production out of anyone other than catcher Mat Nelson.
Player Breakdown: The Seminoles know what they’re going to get with Toral. He’s not likely to hit for a high average or be the most consistent performer in the lineup, but he can run the ball out of the ballpark at any moment, as shown by his 24-homer outburst in 2019. The short distance to the wall in right field at Dick Howser Stadium will be enticing to a lefthanded power bat like Toral.
There’s a bit less certainty about former Florida two-way player Jordan Carrion and shortstop Brett Roberts from Tennessee Tech, but the ceiling is high for both. Carrion is a smooth defender at both middle infield positions with a good arm that also produces a high-80s fastball on the mound, but he might have to show more with the bat than he did at Florida to get more consistent playing time at FSU. Roberts put up big numbers last season at Tennessee Tech, hitting .343 with 13 doubles, five home runs and 17 stolen bases. The jump from doing that against OVC pitching to doing it against ACC pitching is steep, but Roberts hit .305 this summer on the Cape, suggesting he can pull it off.
Notable Additions: RHP Adam Maier (British Columbia), 3B Brennan Milone (South Carolina), RHP Dylan Sabia (Central Connecticut State), RHP Stone Churby (Sacramento State), C Logan Paustian (Arizona State)
Overview: Oregon’s group possesses a high ceiling, most notably with righthander Adam Maier, who was one of the breakout stars of summer ball, and third baseman Brennan Milone, who was one of the best prospects in his prep class to end up in college. But there is also downside risk. Maier is making a big jump in competition level and hasn’t pitched very much the last two years. Milone struggled in his two seasons at South Carolina. And another transfer, righthander Stone Churby from Sacramento State, is in rehab from Tommy John surgery and is expected to miss the 2022 season. Only time will tell if this group is more boom or bust.
Player Breakdown: Using a low-90s fastball that touched 94-95, a high-spin slider and a changeup from a three-quarters arm slot, Maier announced himself as a high-end prospect with his summer on the Cape, where he had a 4.55 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 25.2 innings for Yarmouth-Dennis. His stuff is good enough for him to step into a weekend role for Oregon right away, but it’s hard to know what to expect from him. Due to Covid-19 restrictions that canceled British Columbia’s season in 2021, Maier hasn’t pitched much over the last couple of years, and it goes without saying that he’s making a big jump from the NAIA level to the Pac-12.
Milone’s bat never quite came around in his two seasons at South Carolina, but last season he did draw enough walks to earn a fairly robust .377 on-base percentage against only a .216 batting average. Milone showed good feel to hit all throughout his prep career, however, so there still should be confidence that a breakout year may be on the way at some point. Central Connecticut State righthander Dylan Sabia will look to replicate his 2021 success in a relief role in Eugene. Last season, he had a 2.80 ERA in 35.1 innings using a fastball that averaged around 90 mph. Logan Paustian, formerly of Arizona State, didn’t see any action in his one season in Tempe, but he was a highly regarded catcher in the state of Oregon coming out of high school and should be poised to compete for time.
Notable Additions: C Matt McCormick (West Virginia), RHP Seth Halvorsen (Missouri), RHP Chase Dollander (Georgia Southern)
Overview: Tennessee lost enough to the draft last season that if it is going to compete to return to the College World Series in 2022, it needs some reinforcements ready to contribute right away, and it got precisely that in its three-man transfer class of productive players who all could end up being high-end prospects if they further blossom in Knoxville.
Player Breakdown: No matter if he ends up serving as a DH, manning an infield corner or seeing the bulk of his time behind the plate as the next man up after the departure of Connor Pavolony, Matt McCormick’s bat is one Tennessee will want in the lineup every day. In two seasons at West Virginia, he hit .299/.380/.510 with 19 doubles and 10 home runs in 67 games.
Both Seth Halvorsen and Chase Dollander, formerly of Missouri and Georgia Southern, respectively, have big-time fastballs. Halvorsen has touched 100 with the pitch before and Dollander’s heater averaged nearly 94 mph last season and touched 97. Neither is a complete pitcher just yet, but at Tennessee, they’ll be working with one of the best pitching coaches in the country in Frank Anderson, and that can only help them reach their potential.
Notable Additions: 1B Sonny DiChiara (Samford), 2B Brooks Carlson (Samford), RHP Chase Isbell (Samford), LHP Tommy Sheehan (Notre Dame), RHP Tyler Drabick (Lipscomb)
Overview: Auburn played Samford last season and it must have liked what it saw, as it will bring on three of Samford’s best players. But more than that, this class attacks some areas of need for Auburn, as departing heavy hitters will be replaced by newcomers who should be ready to contribute right away, and pitching depth, which was a real issue in the face of injuries last season, was bolstered as well.
Player Breakdown: First baseman Sonny DiChiara and second baseman Brooks Carlson from Samford are two of the most accomplished mid-major hitters who were available in the portal this offseason. DiChiara crushed 48 career home runs at Samford, including 21 in 2019 alone. He has some swing and miss in his game, but he offsets that somewhat by drawing plenty of walks. Carlson hit nearly .360 in his career at Samford, and while he can also run the ball out of the ballpark, it’s that hittability that stands out about his skill set.
Among the pitchers, it should be noted that former Samford reliever Chase Isbell isn’t expected to be ready for the start of the 2022 season as he recovers from Tommy John surgery, but the hope is that he’ll be ready at some point. He features a fastball that averaged over 92 mph last season with a slider that induced a 49% whiff rate. Sheehan comes to Auburn with a ton of experience under his belt, with nearly 200 career innings pitched at Notre Dame. His best season came in 2019, when he had a 4.58 ERA in 92.1 innings across 15 starts. Tyler Drabick, formerly of both Lipscomb and Kent State, is a slider specialist who threw that pitch more than 60% of the time last season. His fastball doesn’t light up the radar gun, but it can touch the low 90s and is firm enough to force hitters to respect it.
Notable Additions: C Tatem Levins (La Salle), LHP Ben Dragani (Michigan), UTL Jeff Wehler (Youngstown State), RHP Ryan Miller (North Carolina Central), RHP Baron Stuart (South Florida), C Johnny Long (Florida Gulf Coast), RHP Logan Evans (Penn State)
Overview: Pittsburgh had a very successful season in 2021, albeit one that ended with the team falling just short of the postseason. With a big transfer class, it’s clear that the Panthers have their foot on the gas pedal to try to ensure that there isn’t a step back in 2022.
Player Breakdown: Catcher Tatem Levins from La Salle, which shuttered its program after last season, fits in nicely at a position of need, as Pittsburgh didn’t get much offensive production from its catchers last season. Levins hit .315 with seven home runs in 2021 and left Philadelphia with a .318/.402/.524 career slash line. Youngstown State utility player Jeff Wehler is one of the best under-the-radar transfers out there. With experience playing first base, second base, shortstop and all three outfield positions at YSU, he provides exceptional defensive versatility. He also does a little bit of everything on offense. He set a career high with eight homers and a .332 average last season and he’s been a threat on the bases from day one, with 88 career stolen bases, including at least 25 in three different seasons. Catcher Johnny Long from Florida Gulf Coast hit .289 with more walks (18) than strikeouts (16) and will compete with Levins for time behind the plate.
Of the pitchers, former Michigan lefthander Ben Dragani provides perhaps the highest level of risk and reward. He was a key piece of the Wolverines’ pitching staff when he had a 2.76 ERA in 75 innings in 2018, but it’s been tough going since he missed all of 2019 due to Tommy John surgery. Ryan Miller is like Levins in that he’s moving on because his previous program, in this case North Carolina Central, was shut down. He put up a 2.21 ERA at NC Central last season working with a fastball that gets into the low 90s. Righthanders Baron Stuart and Logan Evans from South Florida and Penn State, respectively, both have big fastballs. The former is an experienced pitcher with 137 innings at South Florida under his belt whose fastball was up to 96 mph last season. The latter, who is on the opposite end of the experience spectrum with just 22.1 career innings to his name, was up to triple digits with his fastball last season.
12. Texas Christian
Notable Additions: RHP Brett Walker (Oregon), RHP Caleb Bolden (Arkansas), LHP Tommy Vail (Notre Dame), INF/RHP Nick Kresnak (Washington)
Overview: The Horned Frogs leaned heavily into bringing in experienced pitchers via the transfer portal, as their top three incoming transfers are all pitchers with several years of experience at major-conference programs. None of the three have electric stuff or statistics that jump off the page, but they all should be solid plug-and-play options for TCU right away.
Player Breakdown: As a weekend starter on a team that hosted a regional in 2021, former Oregon righthander Brett Walker is the highest-profile arm of the group. He had a 3.66 ERA in 83.2 innings for the Ducks last season, using a fastball that averaged just over 90 mph and touched 94. He doesn’t miss a ton of bats, as no pitch in his repertoire had a better than 27% whiff rate, but he clearly finds ways to get outs pitching to contact. Righthander Caleb Bolden from Arkansas had a 3.86 ERA in 88.2 career innings as a swingman in Fayetteville. Like Walker, his fastball averages about 90 mph and touches 94, but unlike Walker, he does have a swing-and-miss pitch in his slider, which induced a 46% whiff rate last season.
Former Notre Dame lefthander Tommy Vail didn’t pitch last season, but he’s been a very effective reliever when he has been on the mound. In 89 career innings for the Irish, he had a 3.24 ERA and 115 strikeouts. He throws a fastball that can reach the low 90s about 80% of the time. Nick Kresnak from Washington is a potential two-way player for the Frogs, although he saw time only as a position player last season, hitting .232/.295/.250 in 56 at-bats. His ability to play a number of different positions stands out and could provide TCU valuable versatility.
Notable Additions: RHP Jack Washburn (Oregon State), LHP John Gaddis (Texas A&M-Corpus Christi)
Overview: Mississippi brings in just two players in its transfer class, but it gets high marks for using the transfer portal to attack a team weakness. The Rebels are set to return one of the best lineups in college baseball, but needed some reinforcements on the mound after being a bit short in that regard last season and losing some of their best arms to the draft after the season was up.
Player Breakdown: Jack Washburn, a righthander formerly of Oregon State, was one of the best pitchers in the portal this offseason. Last season, he had a 3.12 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 34.2 innings for the Beavers. That, combined with good stuff that includes a fastball that was up to 96 mph last season, earned Washburn a place on USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team over the summer. Whether used in a relief role or in the rotation to help replace Gunnar Hoglund and Doug Nikhazy, Washburn should throw important innings right away for Ole Miss.
John Gaddis, a lefthander from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, doesn’t have the high-end stuff that Washburn has, but he knows how to get outs. His fastball averaged just 88 mph last season, but both his curveball and changeup had nearly 40% whiff rates, and it’s tough to argue with a 2.25 ERA and .186 opponent batting average over 64 innings. He’s not likely to dominate the same way in the SEC as he moves up from the Southland Conference, but he’s an experienced, versatile lefty who should find a role for the Rebels.
Notable Additions: RHP Carter Rustad (San Diego), SS Nander De Sedas (Florida State), RHP Austin Marozas (Charlotte), RHP Austin Cheeley (Middle Tennessee State), 1B Fox Leum (Coastal Carolina), LHP Chris Wall (Columbia College), 2B Dexter Swims (Missouri Southern)
Overview: With a class heavy on raw talent and light on long track records of success at the Division I level, Missouri is making a bet that it can help this group reach its ceiling.
Player Breakdown: Righthander Carter Rustad from San Diego, a Kansas City native, was one of the best prep prospects to make it to a college campus in 2020. He was excellent during the shortened 2020 season but inconsistent last season. His stuff was still good, however, as his fastball was up to 95 mph with a slider that had a 40% whiff rate. Similarly, Austin Marozas, a highly touted pitcher who has bounced around a bit in his career, struggled at times last season on the way to a 5.44 ERA at Charlotte despite flashing good stuff, including a fastball up to 97 mph. Righthander Austin Cheeley from Middle Tennessee State, who like Rustad is returning home to the state of Missouri, had a 5.91 ERA for the Blue Raiders last season but featured a fastball that was up to 95 mph and a swing-and-miss slider. You never quite know what to expect from a pitcher moving up from a lower level like former Columbia College lefthander Chris Wall is doing, but there’s no denying that he had nothing left to prove in NAIA. In the shortened 2020 season, he struck out 69 of the 107 batters he faced and followed that up by striking out 138 in 79.2 innings in 2021. He throws a fastball in the low 90s from his 6-foot-5 frame.
On the position player side, shortstop Nander De Sedas was the prize of Florida State’s 2018 recruiting class, but it’s been a struggle for him at the plate thus far, with a .206 career batting average. He has, however, shown some power, with 18 career home runs and he continues to show impressive skill defensively, so simply bringing those things to the table with even moderate improvement in his hit tool would make De Sedas a key cog in the Missouri lineup. Fox Leum from Coastal Carolina was a big-time power bat in junior college, but that didn’t translate at Coastal, where he hit .192 with one home run in 27 games over two seasons. If he unlocks even a bit of that raw power, he could be a middle-of-the-order bat for the Tigers. Second baseman Dexter Swims from Division II Missouri Southern hit .310/.376/.454 in his three seasons with the Lions.
15. Coastal Carolina
Notable Additions: RHP Elliot Carney (Wofford), OF Jake Gitter (Northern Colorado), C Chris Rowan (Utah), SS Matt McDermott (William & Mary), C Kameron Guangorena (Cal State Fullerton), RHP Michael Knorr (Cal State Fullerton)
Overview: Coastal Carolina finished a disappointing 27-24 overall and 9-12 in the Sun Belt last season, placing the Chanticleers last in the East Division, but this transfer class filled with productive veterans should help make the 2022 team much more competitive.
Player Breakdown: Righthander Elliot Carney from Wofford was one of the biggest transfer prizes among mid-major pitchers in the portal. He was excellent last season, putting up a 3.07 ERA and striking out 107 in 88 innings, and he very nearly had two no-hitters in 2021. He’s not overpowering, but he knows how to get outs with the combination of a high-80s fastball and a curveball. Righthander Michael Knorr from Cal State Fullerton has struggled to the tune of a 6.79 ERA in three seasons as a starter for the Titans, but his stuff is good, including a fastball that was up to 96 mph last season.
On the position player side, this group is an interesting bunch that brings a lot of different things to the table. Outfielder Jake Gitter from Northern Colorado slugged 26 doubles and 17 home runs over the last three seasons, numbers made more impressive when you consider that the 2020 season was canceled early and he played in just 27 games in 2021. Former Utah catcher Chris Rowan had a breakout campaign in 2021, hitting 10 homers. Shortstop Matt McDermott from William & Mary was the CAA defensive player of the year last season and he’s gotten a bit more productive at the plate with each passing year. Catcher Kameron Guangorena from Cal State Fullerton hasn’t lived up to his billing upon entering college baseball, but he brings an experienced hand to an important position.
Notable Additions: 2B Tyler Doanes (West Virginia), RHP Bradley Brehmer (Wright State), RHP Jack Perkins (Louisville), SS Phillip Glasser (Youngstown State), C Peter Serruto (Rutgers)
Overview: Working effectively in the transfer portal is so often about addressing current team needs, and Indiana succeeded in doing so by grabbing three position players who could be regulars come the 2022 season and two pitchers who can help fill holes found on the pitching staff.
Player Breakdown: Former West Virginia second baseman Tyler Doanes has been somewhat inconsistent from year to year in his career, but at Indiana, he will look to replicate his 2019 season at West Virginia, when he hit .316 with 21 doubles, five home runs and 20 stolen bases. Phillip Glasser, a shortstop from Youngstown State, had a breakthrough season in 2021, hitting .321/.423/.497. He had 20 extra-base hits last season after collecting just 11 such hits in his first two seasons combined. Catcher Peter Serruto from Rutgers, an 18th-round pick out of high school in 2018, is a .227 career hitter in three seasons with the Scarlet Knights, but he will provide solid defensive play.
Righthander Bradley Brehmer was a recruit of Indiana coach Jeff Mercer when he was the coach at Wright State, and it’s no secret why Mercer would want him on his team this time around. Brehmer struck out 84 and held opponents to a .226 average in 76.2 innings in 2021 using a fastball that was up to 95 mph and a changeup that induced a 42% whiff rate. Righthander Jack Perkins from Louisville was once thought to be among the most exciting arms in the country, but after a promising freshman season in 2019, he suffered an injury that forced him to miss the shortened 2020 season and he very much looked like a pitcher still working his way back in 2021, when he had a 7.31 ERA with more walks than strikeouts in 16 innings. His stuff is still electric, though, including a fastball that could touch triple digits in the future, and the Hoosiers are hoping a change of scenery will help him reach his immense potential.
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17. Mississippi State
Notable Additions: SS R.J. Yeager (Mercer), OF Jess Davis (Alabama-Birmingham)
Overview: Mississippi State’s transfer class features just two prominent players, but both should be impact players from the jump in Starkville, and MSU also gets some benefit of the doubt given its recent track record of finding four-year transfers who fit needs like second baseman Scotty Dubrule and righthander Stone Simmons last season.
Player Breakdown: Shortstop R.J. Yeager from Mercer is similar to Dubrule (who came from Jacksonville), in that he’s a mid-major infielder who raked throughout his entire four years at his previous stop. In Yeager’s case, he hit .291/.373/.471 with 46 doubles, 28 home runs and 26 stolen bases in four seasons with the Bears. He’s also a sure-handed infielder who had a .969 fielding percentage last season.
As a burner on the bases and in the outfield, Jess Davis from Alabama-Birmingham is, at a bare minimum, a candidate to be an outstanding late-game defensive replacement and pinch runner. After all, he stole 77 bases in his UAB career, including 48 in 2019. But don’t underestimate the chances that he earns a more regular role, because he can also swing the bat. During that breakout 2019 freshman season, he hit .280 with 14 doubles and five home runs.
18. Kansas State
Notable Additions: OF Dom Johnson (Oklahoma State), 3B Jeff Heinrich (South Carolina), C Justin Mitchell (Oklahoma), RHP Christian Ruebeck (Oklahoma), RHP/OF Blake Adams (Arkansas), SS/2B Orlando Salinas, Jr. (Oklahoma State), INF Josh Nicoloff (Columbia), RHP German Fajardo (Arizona)
Overview: Kansas State made a big bet on projection with its transfer class, as it’s a group primarily, but not entirely, made up of highly regarded players who for one reason or another either didn't see much playing time in their initial program or didn’t blossom as they had hoped to. It’s a high risk and high reward play for the Wildcats.
Player Breakdown: Outfielder Dom Johnson from Oklahoma State was the No. 312 prospect on the BA 500 coming out of high school in 2020 and one of the fastest players in that prep class. If he hits enough to earn a regular role at K-State, he has the skills to be a catalyst in the lineup. Orlando Salinas Jr. entered Oklahoma State in the same class as Johnson. He didn’t see any time last season, but he will bring advanced defensive skills at both second base and shortstop to the table. Third baseman Jeff Heinrich brings experience after playing in 44 games for South Carolina over the last two seasons. He’s a good athlete who flashes doubles power when he’s swinging it well. Catcher Justin Mitchell from Oklahoma hit .261/.352/.348 in more than 400 career plate appearances over four years for the Sooners, and that’s the kind of experience that could help him be a leader right away in Manhattan. Former Columbia infielder Josh Nicoloff hit .293/.348/.397 in three seasons in the Ivy League and can handle second base, third base or shortstop.
Blake Adams from Arkansas is an intriguing transfer. A highly decorated player coming out of high school, the righthander threw just 11.2 innings over two seasons with the Razorbacks, but his stuff is good, with a fastball up to 95 mph last season. Upon leaving Arkansas, Adams also made it clear that he wanted to be a two-way player at his next stop, so expect him to also get some work as an outfielder for the Wildcats. Christian Ruebeck, a righthander from Oklahoma, is like Adams in that his stuff is ahead of his track record right now. In two seasons in Norman, he had a 9.37 ERA in 16.1 innings, but he flashed a fastball up to 97 mph and this summer on the Cape, he took positive steps by improving as the summer wore on. Righthander German Fajardo from Arizona threw just one-third of an inning in two seasons in Tucson, but he should help K-State fill in a pitching staff that lost a lot of talent last season.
19. Dallas Baptist
Notable Additions: C Nate Rombach (Texas Tech), RHP Jacob Meador (Texas Christian), RHP Elijah Pleasants (Tennessee)
Overview: In Nate Rombach from Texas Tech, DBU brought in a hitter that feels tailor-made for the program, and with the addition of two high-end arms from major programs, the Patriots added some quality to a pitching staff that lost some of its most talented pitchers to the draft after last season.
Player Breakdown: Rombach and Dallas Baptist are a perfect fit, it would seem. At Texas Tech, Rombach played in 59 games over two seasons, which is conveniently just about a full season’s worth. In that time, he hit 15 home runs and drove in 61 runs. At one point in 2020, Rombach also hit five homers and drove in 15 runs over the span of three games, so he’s shown the ability to carry an offense for a stretch. And DBU is a program clearly comfortable with scoring runs via the long ball, as it had 101 home runs as a club last season.
On the mound, righthanders Jacob Meador from Texas Christian and Elijah Pleasants from Tennessee both bring big-time velocity to the proceedings, but neither has put it all together to become a fully-formed pitcher just yet. Meador’s fastball was up to 99 mph last season, but he struggled to a 5.68 ERA in 19 innings. Similarly, Pleasants was up to 97 mph in 2021, but he doesn’t miss many bats. In 46.1 career innings, he has just 27 strikeouts, but despite that, he’s managed a very good 3.11 career ERA.
20. Virginia Tech
Notable Additions: OF Michael Ludowig (Wake Forest), OF Conor Hartigan (James Madison), 2B Eduardo Malinowski (Pennsylvania), LHP Pat Petteruti (Brown)
Overview: Virginia Tech put a premium on bringing in transfers that could supplement a lineup that will be headlined by outfielder Gavin Cross and succeeded in doing so by reeling in several experienced, productive position players.
Player Breakdown: Former Wake Forest outfielder Michael Ludowig might be in pro baseball now if not for a five-round draft in 2020, as he was the No. 337 prospect on the BA 500 going into that year’s draft, but he returned to Wake in 2021 and had another solid season. His experience, natural bat-to-ball skills, strong frame and defensive ability should make him a ready-made option for the Hokies. Fellow outfielder Conor Hartigan from James Madison had his 2021 season limited by JMU scheduling a smaller number of games and then having those games pared down further due to Covid-19, but he raked in his 28 games, hitting .364/.414/.576.
As a player at Penn, second baseman Eduardo Malinowski has had his games cut to an even greater degree than Hartigan and James Madison over the last two seasons, but his production has never waned, even on a rate basis. He finished his Quakers career by hitting .300 or better in all four seasons. Lefthander Pat Petteruti, as a pitcher for Brown, has been in the same boat as Malinowski in terms of a reduced schedule the last two seasons, and as a result, he has thrown just 33 career innings. Going back to 2020, he ran his fastball up as high as 93 mph, and more recently, he struck out eight in five innings for the Ocean State Waves in the NECBL over the summer.
21. South Carolina
Notable Additions: 3B Kevin Madden (Virginia Tech), OF Matt Hogan (Vanderbilt), 1B/OF Brandt Belk (Missouri)
Overview: In a small transfer class, South Carolina plugged a couple of immediate holes to help prevent a step back in 2022 while also taking a flier on high-end talent with the arrival of Matt Hogan from Vanderbilt.
Player Breakdown: Third baseman Kevin Madden from Virginia Tech was an everyday player for the Hokies the last three seasons and is coming off of hitting .313/.361/.418 last season. South Carolina didn’t get much offensive production from the third base position last season, so Madden will be a welcome addition. Brandt Belk is a well-traveled player, having played at Pepperdine before ending up at Missouri. He hit .457 in the shortened 2020 season and followed that up by hitting .273 with 15 doubles last season. Next season with the Gamecocks, he’ll be in his sixth season of college baseball. Outfielder Matt Hogan from Vanderbilt collected just 19 at-bats in three seasons in Nashville, so he will be eager to prove himself in Columbia in a bigger sample size. Speed is his best tool, so if he can hit enough to find his way to first base with regularity, he can be a pest for the opposition on the bases.
Notable Additions: C Maxwell Romero, Jr. (Vanderbilt), INF Jacob Burke (Southeastern Louisiana)
Overview: Even with a two-person transfer class, Miami made a splash. In Romero, the Hurricanes filled a position of need and brought in a player whose talent surpasses the opportunities he’s had so far, and in Burke, they have a versatile, dynamic player who flew under the radar a bit last season despite his productivity and talent.
Player Breakdown: Romero spent the last two seasons backing up C.J. Rodriguez at Vanderbilt, but that’s not because of a lack of ability. He generates big-time power from his 6-foot-1, 230-pound frame, as shown in his four home runs in just 50 at-bats last season and his five homers on the Cape this summer. He also showed improvement defensively over the summer, providing confidence that he can impact the game at the plate and behind it. Burke will bring a varied array of skills to Coral Gables. He’s versatile defensively, having played third base, first base and left field last season. He also can do just about everything offensively. Last season, he showed pop with nine home runs, speed with 23 stolen bases and solid plate discipline with the combined number of his walks and hit by pitches (41) eclipsing his strikeout total (40).
23. West Virginia
Notable Additions: RHP Trey Braithwaite (Navy), RHP Zach Bravo (Lamar), RHP Chase Smith (Pittsburgh), C Dayne Leonard (Virginia Tech), RHP Theo Millas (Louisiana State)
Overview: West Virginia used the transfer portal to bring in an intriguing group of pitchers that is a mix between proven pitchers coming up from the mid-major level and pitchers from major-conference programs looking for new opportunities.
Player Breakdown: Righthander Trey Braithwaite from Navy is a rare upperclassman transfer from a service academy. The Midshipmen’s closer the last three years, he has a 3.07 career ERA in 67.1 innings using a fastball that touched 98 mph and a slider that had a 47% whiff rate last season. Former Lamar righthander Zach Bravo has good stuff as well. His fastball was up to 94 mph last season, complemented by a swing-and-miss changeup. He’s coming off of putting up a 3.50 ERA in 12 starts for the Cardinals. Righthander Chase Smith was an effective reliever from the moment he arrived at Pittsburgh. In 129.1 career innings, all out of the bullpen, he had a 3.33 ERA for the Panthers, using a fastball in the high 80s that touched the low 90s. Righthander Theo Millas had a 3.00 ERA in 15 innings for LSU last season. He’s a prolific strike-thrower with plenty of pedigree, having been a member of the Canadian Junior National Team during his prep days. The lone position player of the bunch, catcher Dayne Leonard from Virginia Tech, hit .212 in 38 games for the Hokies after one year in junior college. Because he was just a second-year freshman last season, Leonard could have up to three seasons remaining in Morgantown.
24. Texas Tech
Notable Additions: LHP Garrett Crowley (Fordham), INF Cooper Swanson (Florida State), INF Ty Coleman (Texas A&M), OF Dalton Porter (Texas), LHP Colin Clark (Youngstown State)
Overview: Despite being just a five-person transfer class, Texas Tech’s group has a bit of everything in it. There are players with pedigree who haven’t reached their ceiling, fliers on pitchers with high-end stuff and plenty of versatility to be found.
Player Breakdown: Lefthander Garrett Crowley has good stuff, with a fastball that sits in the low 90s, but command has been an issue in the past and that has played a role in his 6.39 career ERA in three seasons at Fordham. He made strides on the Cape this summer, however, supplying hope that a corner has been turned. Lefthander Colin Clark had a 6.75 ERA in four seasons at Youngstown State, but he has an intriguing repertoire, including a fastball that sits in the high 80s and touches the low 90s and a changeup that had a nearly 50% whiff rate last season.
Infielder Ty Coleman played 108 games over three seasons with Texas A&M. He’ll bring versatility in his ability to play second base, third base and shortstop. Similarly, Cooper Swanson from Florida State has experience playing first base, third base and the outfield. He struggled with the bat at FSU, hitting .195 in four seasons, but he does have good raw power, which he used to hit seven home runs in just 88 at-bats back in 2019. Dalton Porter from Texas went 5-for-19 in his only season in Austin and will look for more opportunities in Lubbock.
Notable Additions: 1B Josh Madole (UNC Greensboro), C Kaden Hopson (Arizona), LHP A.J. Wilson (East Carolina), LHP Quinton Martinez (Appalachian State), RHP Anthony Casciola (Bucknell), LHP Will Lancaster (USC Upstate), RHP Michael Oh (North Carolina)
Overview: The transfer portal giveth and taketh way. After losing a couple of its top hitters via transfer after last season, Charlotte went about using the portal to its advantage to supplement the returning roster. It succeeded in doing so by bringing in two position players who project to be starters, a handful of pitchers competing for weekend rotation spots and others that will have roles in the bullpen.
Player Breakdown: First baseman Josh Madole is coming off of a season hitting .304 with a .413 on-base percentage at UNC Greensboro, and he’ll also be a positive defensive addition to the right side of the infield. Catcher Kaden Hopson from Arizona is a plus defensive backstop who brings with him College World Series experience from last season. The coaching staff anticipates that he will, at least in part, call his own game next season.
Lefthander A.J. Wilson from East Carolina used a fastball that touched the low 90s and a 3,000-plus rpm slider from a low slot to be an effective short reliever for the Pirates last season, but Charlotte anticipates trying to convert him to a starter. Fellow lefty Quinton Martinez ran his fastball up to 94 mph last season as a member of the Appalachian State rotation. Righthander Anthony Casciola had a 5.14 ERA in 21 innings at Bucknell last season, using a fastball that averaged 89 mph and touched 93. Lefthander Will Lancaster had a 4.43 ERA in 22.1 innings over two seasons at USC Upstate. He works with a high-80s fastball with some funk in his delivery. Righthander Michael Oh is well traveled, having made stops at Creighton, North Iowa Area CC and North Carolina before landing at Charlotte. In limited opportunities last season at UNC, he used his high-80s fastball and his slider in just about equal measure.