In recent years, the transfer portal has opened up on some unexpected names, such as transporting once wunderkind Christian Little to the alternate dimension of gumbo and other high profile transfers known as LSU—where he would compile a 7.09 ERA through 18 appearances (8 starts), by the way.
I will update this list whenever I learn of a new Diamond Dore walking into the Stargate. Well, hopefully I won’t have to after this, but this year is the last class of seniors with the pandemic bonus year of eligibility, so there will be a roster crunch for anyone who wants to keep playing, but has been pushed out by younger talent.
Portal Gains for ‘24—Transfers Coming to Hawkins Field
#26 So. Air Force RHP Sawyer Hawks
‘23 stats: 4-0; 2.84 ERA; 8 Saves; 12.4 K/9 in 50 & 2⁄3 IP (22 appearances, 1 start).
The Verdict: Let’s just say the last pitcher to jump from Air Force to an SEC power worked out pretty well. This addition was unexpected, and may portend a stronger presence in the transfer market than we have come to expect from The Diamond Dores. First, Hawks should be able to come in and fill our Maldo hole—*note to self: there’s got to be a better way to say that—and close games out in ‘24. His stats and metrics certainly would more than hint at such a capability. More that that, he’s not a grad transfer, like Ogre was. He’s a “jump to a better program and fill a need” transfer, which... let’s just say has been common amongst our SEC peer schools, but Corbs has not exactly done in the transfer portal era. Does this mean Corbs will now go hard after a power hitting corner OF to replace Ogre? Perhaps a catcher, and even a speedy CF? Stay tuned.
Diamond Dore Players on the ‘23 Roster In the Portal
#25 Sr. 1B Parker Noland
TRANSFER NEWS: @VandyBoys infielder Parker Noland has entered the Transfer Portal, @d1baseball has learned. Noland is a graduate transfer who hit .277 with 9 homers and 39 RBIs for the #Dores in 2023. https://t.co/eTepH8FGTd— Kendall Rogers (@KendallRogers) June 21, 2023
‘23 stats: .277/.367/.455 with 12 2B, 1 3B, 9 HR, and 39 RBI in 61 games (all starts). Noland was a solid player in his four years at Hawkins Field, and his ‘23 season was his best (though it was quite similar to last year’s .274/.363/.445). All solid numbers for a back third of the lineup type hitter, but not the cold corner thumper that Dom Keegan was, or Chris Maldonado is likely to be in the coming years. Had Noland performed as he did against Clanga this year all season, though, he would be the first overall pick in the coming draft. Dear God, that weekend. 8-15 with 3 HR and 14 RBI in a three game sweep over Clanga. Corbs should give him a plaque with the scorecards from those games—especially the 5-6 with 2 HR and 11 RBI best game of his, or pretty much anyone’s, life on March 24th.
The Verdict: This makes sense. He’s got his Vanderbilt degree. Go get a grad degree in your field and then start your career. Noland is unlikely to be drafted, and I’d suspect if his future is in baseball, it’s more on the coaching side. Noland was a solid player for us, but his spot in the lineup next year was by no means set in stone. Chris Maldonado is currently playing 1B in the Cape, and he’s the natural fit to take over for Noland at first for the next two years. Further, Noland was a good defensive 3rd and 2nd baseman, but those positions are currently occupied by superior defenders. Combine that with the fact that nearly all of our incoming hitting commits are infielders, and the roster crunch becomes more apparent. If Noland does want to improve his chances at a pro career, it’s not going to be as a defensive first baseman. He will likely transfer to a place with a hole at 3rd or 2nd.
We will now, finally, retire the following graphic:
#2 Fr. IF Ivan Arias
Vanderbilt infielder Ivan Arias is in the transfer portal, according to D1Baseball.— Aria Gerson (@aria_gerson) June 12, 2023
Arias saw just three plate appearances across five games as a freshman in 2023, and the Commodores are likely to return most of their starting infielders in 2024
‘23 stats: .000/.000/.000 in 5 games (0 starts). Playing time in the infield was never going to be easy to get, and Arias only got 2 ABs on the season. His only stat of note was drawing one walk, though he did have a .1000 fielding percentage (albeit in the smallest of sample sizes).
The Verdict: Good luck to you wherever you go. With nearly all the position player recruits in the incoming freshman class being infielders, and the only infielder likely to move on, Parker Noland, might choose to come back for grad school—but even if he doesn’t, 1st base will just go to Chris Maldonado, I would assume—the former Perfect Game 10 and 254th ranked player in the 2022 class (#1 in MA) found himself on the wrong side of a roster crunch.
He will likely have many suitors, and it wouldn’t shock me if, say, Boston College came calling. If this is our biggest PORTALITY in ‘23, we should be happy.
#10 Sr. OF TJ McKenzie
Per D1Baseball, Vanderbilt’s TJ McKenzie is in the transfer portal. He would be a grad transfer after playing four seasons with the Commodores and joins Ivan Arias as players from the 2023 team to hit the portal https://t.co/f3k4UuD06S— Aria Gerson (@aria_gerson) June 14, 2023
‘23 stats: .222/.300/.389 in 21 games (10 starts). Speaking of someone perpetually facing the roster crunch, Spuds will be a grad transfer seeking to play one year elsewhere.
The Verdict: Good luck to you wherever you go. This is a no-brainer of a decision. I wonder if McKenzie will follow the Matt Hogan route and go to a lesser D1, mid-major type team (Hogan is with ORU in Omaha this week, as one of the driving forces behind their Cinderella run). Whomever gets him could tap into his power bat, but only if they give him starter’s ABs. They’ll also get a good kid who could have transferred out any of the past three offseasons, but was devoted to his teammates.
Players NOT on the ‘23 Roster In the Portal
C/Feetball Player Cade Law
RHP Miles Garrett
The other names in the portal for Vanderbilt currently are Cade Law, who intends to play football, and Miles Garrett, who has not been part of the team since 2021. He entered the portal last summer as well but evidently did not find a destination— Aria Gerson (@aria_gerson) June 12, 2023
*Cade Law will head to UNC to play feetball with his brother. Why they didn’t both just play feetball for The New Bald Coach is beyond me.