Same Faces, New Places

Some teams strike gold in transfers


Sept. 6, 2007

By Douglas Kroll

CSTV.com

 



DOUG KROLL

Doug Kroll is an editor for CSTV.com, focusing on baseball.
E-mail here!

The days of the college baseball off-season looking like the Major League Baseball free agent market will soon be a thing of the past.

 

Starting in 2008, college baseball will follow the likes of football and basketball, requiring its players to sit out a year if they decide to transfer schools.

 

That means we're wrapping up the last transfer frenzy that we will see, and just like usual, it has been quite busy. While Tulane and Oklahoma State stayed busy bringing in quality players, teams like Florida State, Winthrop and Mississippi have some lockers to fill.

 

Here is a look at the biggest winners, and who will lace up a new set of spikes in February.

 

Arizona State

What doomed the Sun Devils in the 2007 College World Series? Clutch hitting more than anything, but their big boys are back for 2008, so the lineup should not worry head coach Pat Murphy one bit. As is the case with all college baseball teams, they could use a couple more arms. Enter starting pitcher Jason Franzblau who will begin his junior season in Tempe instead of Rock Hill, S.C. with Winthrop. Franzblau has had two solid seasons with the Eagles, finishing third on the team in ERA both years. In 2006, he finished with a 3.13 ERA while going 8-4 in 16 starts.

 

Arizona State will also bring in Jason Kipnis who spent his freshman season with Kentucky. Kipnis can play infield and outfield, as he hit .337 in 29 starts with the Wildcats in 2007. Add in a very good high school recruiting class, and Murphy has the cards stacked once again in his favor in 2008. He just has to hold off another Omaha meltdown.

 

Oklahoma State

The Cowboys were able to bring in one of the top hitters in the ACC last year, when they pried away Matt Mangini from N.C. State. So what did they do for an encore in 2007? Took one of the unsung hitters in the Pac-10 and picked up a solid starting catcher from Conference USA.

 

Senior Matt Hague will join Oklahoma State for the upcoming season, arriving from Washington after leading the Huskies with 13 homeruns last season and an impressive .353 average (slightly under his .394 career batting average coming into last season). Hague will certainly help replace the talent that the Cowboys lost in June's MLB Draft as OSU tries to replicate their usually high-powered offense. 

 

While Hague is impressive, the Cowboys also bring in Luis Flores who was Houston's starting catcher last season. Flores, a junior, hit .263 in 2007, and was a freshman All-American in 2006.

 

Head coach Frank Anderson keeps bringing in all sorts of top recruits, but that does not mean he is ready to see the rule change. Talking before the 2007 season, Anderson was definitely happy with the new legislation.

 

"Obviously I've had some good transfers," Anderson said. "I wish that we had the situation like football and basketball because it is too easy. Instead of a kid coming in and working into the lineup, as a sophomore or a junior, people want instant gratification and start right away or play a lot right away instead of fighting for a job. It's just so easy to transfer and get out."

 

Texas:

Longhorns' head coach Augie Garrido went out and got himself some transfers, four of them so far. The new faces do not include anyone who had exceptional 2007 seasons, but they are all certainly capable of producing in Austin.

 

Sophomore David Hernandez started 21 games for Fresno State last season and hit .250 on the year.  He will look to get some time in the Texas infield. Marcus Tackett, formally of Oral Roberts, will join the team as a two-way threat. Tackett threw 49 1/3 innings in his freshman season with 35 strikeouts. He can also play some third base if need be. Another sophomore Garrido will add to the mix is Casey Whitmer from Florida State. Whitmer saw action in 12 games in 2007, finishing with an impressive 17 strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings pitched. Finally, the Longhorns bring in an experienced utility infielder, after Michael Torres spent his first two collegiate seasons with USC.

 

Louisville:

After making such a magical run to the College World Series in 2007, it would be hard to fathom anyone wanting to leave the Cardinals' program, especially someone who started. But that is not the case. Senior Jorge Castillo, who started 63 games last season, is on his way back home to Miami where he will play at FIU and new head coach Turtle Thomas. Castillo played a large role in Louisville's run to Omaha, finishing with a .311 average (fourth best on the team), seven homeruns and 62 RBI. 

 

But head coach Dan McDonnell went back to his Mississippi pipeline and will bring in some help from his former state. One of Ole Miss' biggest recruits from last year's class will now call Louisville home. Andrew Clark, who was limited to only 30 games in his first collegiate season, hit .311 with four homeruns and will certainly provide some depth at first base.

 

Other Notables:

With Rod Delmonico leaving Tennessee as head coach, so will his son, Tony. Delmonico will head to Florida State where he will replace another Tony, as Thomas Jr. is playing pro ball. Delmonico will take over second base for head coach Mike Martin.

 

Tulane adds a couple of solid players, including pitcher Steven Boyd from South Alabama and two-way player Josh Prince from Texas.

 

Former Arizona State starting third baseman Matt Hall is on his way to Auburn.  After being benched late in ASU's 2007 postseason run, it comes as no surprise that the sophomore was looking to transfer.  He was selected in the eighth round (253 overall) by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the 2005 MLB Draft.

 

San Diego head coach Rich Hill brought in a nice find from Vanderbilt. Ryan Davis heads west, much closer to home (Scottsdale, Ariz.), after hitting .309 in a utility role with the Commodores in 2007.

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