The transfer portal contains far more than just football and basketball players. Student-athletes in all other college sports also utilize the portal as a way to move from one school to another.
To obtain the one-time exception to be immediately eligible in a fall or winter sport, like football and basketball, a transfer must enter the portal by May 1. For spring sports, like baseball and track, automatic immediate eligibility the following season requires entering the transfer portal by July 1.
Thus most of those football and basketball players wishing to transfer have already entered the portal. There is no deadline on when to exit the portal, though, most, but not all, have already committed to new schools.
The next wave of portal entrants will come from spring sports, and at West Virginia University, that means keeping an eye on baseball.
Randy Mazey’s Mountaineer baseball team, which finished the 2022 season with a 33-22 record but was disappointingly denied a berth in the NCAA Tournament, will lose just three players from this year’s squad to graduation – pitchers Trey Braithwaite, Zach Bravo and Chase Smith.
Everyone else on WVU’s squad is eligible to return in 2023, but that doesn’t mean they all will be back.
Two Mountaineers have already announced that they are entering the transfer portal – senior pitcher Zach Ottinger and freshman pitcher Deaton Oak. There will very likely be more who will join them prior to the July 1 portal deadline.
A native of LaGrange, Kentucky, Oak appeared in just two games and pitched a total of one complete inning in his single season at WVU.
Ottinger leaves with considerably more experience. The righthander from Marietta, Georgia, pitched in 54 games during his four seasons (the Covid-shortened year of 2020 does not count against his eligibility of him) with the Mountaineers, all of those in a relief role. This past season Ottinger worked in 17 games and 22.1 innings, allowing 27 hits and 12 earned runs, while walking 20 and striking out 42.
Ottinger and Oak are the only 2022 West Virginia baseball players currently in the transfer portal, but the odds are others will join them.
On top of the three Mountaineers who used up their college eligibility and the two currently in the portal, there are nine others from WVU who are draft-eligible – pitchers Beau Lowery, Daniel Ouderkirk, Noah Short, Tyler Strechay and Jacob Watters, as well as position players Austin Davis, Kevin Dowdell, Dayne Leonard and Tevin Tucker.
There aren’t as many amateur players drafted as there used to be, though, as the MLB Draft was cut down from 40 rounds to 20 rounds in 2021. Besides being drafted, prospects can also sign as undrafted free agents.
Balancing the departures will be a number of newcomers, of both the high school and transfer variety. WVU signed 15 recruits for the class of 2023, which is rated 41st nationally by the Perfect Game. There will almost certainly be new incoming transfers as well before the first pitch is thrown next February.
So, in all there will be plenty of movement within the Mountaineer baseball roster between now and the start of the 2023 season.