With extra eligibility all over the country due to the fallout from COVID-19, college softball’s transfer portal is a more interesting case study now than it has been in years past. A change of scenery for a player, new voices in his ear, or a new role on a different team can unlock a player’s talent where she can finally see the success that the player and his original team expected out of high school. From the portal of over 100 players, Luke and Greg had 15 of the same players in their top-20 rankings, and those are the top 15 below with their ranking representing the average slot between both of their lists. For 16-20, Luke and Greg traded off nominating their favorite players that the other did not nominate.

  1. Hope Trautwein – North Texas → Oklahoma (P)

Trautwein had the nation’s second best FIP (2.78) while also having the second-best K% (43.7%) and K-BB% (36.3%). She flat out dominated. A factor that played against Trautwein was that her .321 BABIP was the highest of any pitcher in the top-90 of FIP. The nice part about FIP is that it normalizes the outcomes of those ball-in-play events (i.e., outcomes that Trautwein couldn’t control) to get a descriptive metric that is a better measure of what Trautwein, herself, did. Compared to some of the other top pitchers in the nation, the defense behind Trautwein converted less of her balls-in-play to outs.

In this case, this rich get richer, and Trautwein should be able to arrive in Norman and make an immediate major impact for the Sooners. She was one of the best pitchers in college softball last season. (Luke)

  1. Mack Leonard – Illinois St. → Florida St. (P/DP)

Leonard had 156 PA for Illinois St. in 2021 and in those PA, she was the only player to get on base over half the time in the portal. She also had the highest wOBA (.569) and highest OPS (1.288). She only struck out 15 times all season and had the fourth highest best K-BB% of hitters with at least 100 PA. 

Leonard also pitched to a 2.59 ERA, but her FIP was 5.62 and looks to have taken advantage of a solid defense behind her and a little “BABIP-luck”. Her BABIP-against was only .272 and her K-BB% was only 4%, so it looks like her bat might transfer better to success in the ACC. However, Leonard’s versatility should remain an asset for the Seminoles. (Luke)

  1. Morgan Day – Illinois St. → Oklahoma St. (P)

Day comes to Stillwater as a graduate transfer and gives the Cowboys an opportunity for a continued high level of success in the collegiate transfer portal paradigm. In 2021 the Cowboys nabbed three out of the portal who achieved All American honors (Alysen Febrey, Carrie Eberle, and Hayley Busby.) In Day, the Cowgirls have an experienced ace who achieved All Missouri Valley Conference honors in 2021. Her eight shutouts ranked 13th in the country in 2021 and comparing her to other hurlers in the portal with 100+ IP, she ranked third in FIP (3.28), second in K% (37), and second in K-BB% (31.8). Her big time rise ball is a true weapon, and it generates a high percentage of swing and miss. Day will challenge cross-state portal transfer Hope Trautwein as the most significant pitcher to switch programs in 2022. (Greg)

  1. Hailey Dolcini – Fresno St. → Texas (P)

Dolcini, claiming the pursuit of a masters degree, heads to Austin for her final year of eligibility after a dominating career for the Red Waving Bulldogs. In 2021, she overmatched the Mountain West where her 12-0 record and 0.91 ERA earned her the conference pitcher of the year honor. Her 2021 overall record (22-5) included 4 no-no’s and 2 perfect games. Comparing her to other portal pitchers with 100+ IP, she ranks third in FIP (3.31), K-BB% (31.1) and K% (35.8). Going strictly off the numbers, Dolcini is a close third to Day and Trautwein for best in the transfer class, but it will be very interesting as we track who won the portal arms race in 2022. These three aces step up to Power 5 programs with national title aspirations. (Greg) 

  1. Matalasi Faapito – New Mexico St. → Mississippi St. (P/IF)

Faapito was the only player in D1 softball last season to hit 16 or more homers and strike out more than 60 opposing hitters. She also had the highest wRAA (28.3) of transfer portal hitters. She walked more than she struck out as a hitter while adding an impressive 14 doubles with a .371 ISO that was second among transfer hitters.

In the circle, Faapito had a 7.15 FIP, a 1.601 WHIP and opposing hitters hit over .300 against her. That said, she was pitching 2021 as a Redshirt Freshman, so she should have time to develop that aspect of her game further should Mississippi St. give her that opportunity. She needs to generate more swing and misses, especially now moving to the SEC. (Luke)

  1. Morgyn Wynne – Kansas → Oklahoma St. (1B)

Wynne’s 17 homers were the most in the transfer portal and her 22.6 wRAA and 1.223 OPS were both the third highest. She was also another hitter who walked as much as she struck out. She’ll stay in the Big 12, but she moves to conference tournament runner-up and world series qualifier Oklahoma St. The Cowgirl’s look to have found another potential impact first baseman in the transfer portal, as they landed NFCA all-American Alysen Febrey from Georgia prior to the 2020 season. Wynne has some big shoes to fill, but she already has had a lot of success in the conference, so the adjustment shouldn’t be as big as most of this list’s transfers. (Luke)

  1.  Lou Allan – Michigan → Liberty (1B)

Allan, a graduate transfer, has been accepted into Liberty’s criminal justice program and plans on using the change of scenery and her softball skills to get the Lady Flames over the top in 2022. In 2021, she helped lead the Wolverines to the final game of the Seattle regional vs. Washington. While Allan is moving from a successful Big 10 program to the ASUN, she’s joining a Liberty team that also played in a regional final game a season ago. She has some big shoes to fill as she steps in for Autumn Bishop, one of the most productive players in Liberty Softball’s history. Allan, a first team All-Big 10 selection in 2021, just may have the skills to do it. Comparing her to portal hitters with 100+ PA, she ranks fifth in HR (11), sixth in OPS (1.135), and sixth in wOBA (.509). Her 0.7 K-BB% rate is a solid indicator of continued success, and the move to the mid-major lends itself to a spike upward in her overall offensive production.  As a side note, Allan’s grandmother Sheila Cornell-Douty and Flames coach Dot Richardson played together at UCLA in 1996 and again in 2000 on the U.S. Olympic team. (Greg)

  1. Kaylan Ladner – Southern Miss → SE Louisiana (P)

Ladner was one of five players to depart the Southern Miss softball program during the 2021 season after accruing 88 IP on the year. She entered the portal with eight games remaining in the Golden Eagles season with the team struggling in Conference USA with a 2-10 record. In three years at Southern Miss, Ladner amassed 193 IP mostly as a starter with 169 Ks. Comparing her to the other portal hurlers with more than 50 IP in 2021, she ranks seventh in K% (23.4) and K-BB% (15.3), and ninth in FIP (4.59). Ladner’s arm and move to the Southland from C-USA should help SE Louisiana’s continued contention for the conference title. (Greg)

  1. Ally Repko – Elon → Virginia Tech (C/IF)

Repko put up a very impressive .330/.500/.660 slash last season. She has a massive 23.1% walk rate and her -11.2 K-BB% was the second best among transfer portal hitters. At Elon, she split her time defensively between C, 3B, and DP. Getting that kind of offensive production at the catching position, should Repko land there for the Hokies, is a big advantage. However, she’s currently listed as an infielder, but her ability to get one base at such a high clip plays anywhere on the diamond. The question for any mid-major player moving to Power 5 is whether or not they can replicate their immense success against better competition game-in and game-out. (Luke) 

  1. Kennedy Sullivan – Western Kentucky → Kentucky (OF)

Sullivan is a dual threat that is heading to Lexington with two years of softball eligibility remaining. Kennedy, a Kentucky prep star, wasn’t recruited heavily by Power 5 teams and seemed to be in the shadows of fellow Kentucky-product and Alabama ace Mountana Fouts, finishing second to her as “Miss Softball” out of high school. Sullivan is in the shadows no more as she steps into the SEC spotlight after a productive three years at WKU, where she was named Conference USA tournament MVP in 2021.  Sullivan’s production with the bat ranks well vs. others in the portal with 100+ PA; she’s third in HR (14), eighth in OPS (1.071), and sixth in ISO (.325) while sporting a solid 1.7 K-BB%. In the circle, her numbers aren’t quite as impressive (63 IP, 18.6 K%, 13.4 BB%), but her .184 BAA ranked fifth of pitchers with 50+ IP in the portal. Sullivan adds real solid overall value to the Wildcats roster for 2022. (Greg)

  1. Karsen Pierce – Southern Miss → Texas St. (P)

Pierce comes to Texas St. only having pitched at Southern Miss through her Freshman season in 2021. While she doesn’t have the eye popping numbers that grab your attention, she showed a lot of good qualities in her first college softball campaign. Her 3.85 FIP was the eighth best among transfer pitchers and she didn’t give up a homer in over 65 innings of work. Texas State is coming off of a 39-win, regional-qualifying season where they beat four top-25 ranked opponents, and they are getting a very projectable arm in Pierce. (Luke)

  1. Bailey Thompson – Seattle → Arizona (C)

Thompson went to high school in Tucson where her Canyon del Oro team won the state title in 2017. The former Redhawk is coming home for her redshirt grad transfer final season. She will likely split time behind the dish with well regarded, but oft-injured catcher Sharlize Palacios. Thompson, an experienced receiver, has the ability to contribute with the bat as well. Her 1.031 OPS ranked 11th in the portal and she hit .327 with 9 HR for the Redhawks in 2021. Bailey has a lofty K-BB% (6.8) and will need to tighten up her pitch selection as she shifts to the Pac 12 from the WAC if her bat is to be a significant factor for the Wildcats. (Greg)

  1. Taylor Ellsworth – Texas → Arkansas (UTL)

Ellsworth heads to Fayetteville from Austin as a grad transfer with one year of eligibility remaining. The C/UTL has spent time as an OF and DP for the Longhorns where she has added All-Big 12 first team honors to her mantle. Ellsworth was the second leading hitter for the 43-14 Super Regional-bound Horns in 2021 with a .372 batting average. Taylor is the fourth portal transfer for the Razorbacks, and her solid career offensive line should translate well to the SEC in 2022 from the Big 12. In 171 games overall, she had a .320 average, 387 OBP, and .482 SLG with 16 HR and 89 RBI. The Razorbacks have added a proven winner in Ellsworth to the lineup for 2022. (Greg)

  1. Bailey Curry – UL Lafayette → Western Kentucky (IF)

Curry, a native of Frankfort, Kentucky, returns to the commonwealth after stops in Toledo and Louisiana. Bailey brings a big bat to the Hilltop lineup. After being named the Freshman of the Year in the MAC for Toledo in 2018, she amassed good numbers in three seasons for the Ragin Cajuns from 2019-2021 (.298 BA, .419 OBP, .508 SLG with 15 HR and 69 RBI in 130 games). Her -11.8 K-BB rate was the best in the portal in 2021 for hitters with 100+ PA’s. Look for Curry to be a force in the red and white lineup in 2022. (Greg)

  1. Jaycee Ruberti – Hofstra → Ohio State (OF)

Ruberti showcased a very interesting offensive profile while at Hofstra. She has fantastic contact skills after striking out only six times through 113 PA last season. She only had 13 walks to boot as she took an aggressive approach hitting in the middle of Hofstra’s lineup, but that aggression wasn’t to her fault. Her 9.4 wRAA was top-20 among transfer hitters and her .459 wOBA put her in the 84th percentile among D1 hitters with at least 100 PA. In 2021, she flashed some power with a career high SLG (.590) and ISO (.210) to not only make her a tough out, but she had the ability to do damage at the plate. This is likely what Ohio State is recognizing along with Ruberti’s ability to play the premium position of center field. (Luke)

  1. Georgia Blair – UCF → LMU (IF)

Blair comes to LMU as a grad student after two impressive seasons at Central Florida. Her .282 batting average wasn’t among the best in the transfer portal, but she showed the ability to draw plenty of walks to get on base at a high clip while also hitting for power. She should see some positive BABIP regression to help that BA moving forward. I’ll take the .953 OPS and .445 wOBA (both top-25 in the portal) over empty batting average production anyway. She also played shortstop for the 39-win, regional-bound Knights team. She’ll have already faced some pretty good competition in the American Conference, so look for Blair to pick up right where she left off in the West Coast Conference with LMU as an experienced contributor at a premium position. (Luke)

  1. Chenise Delce – Tulsa → Arkansas (P/DP) 

This is the third transfer from the portal for the Razorbacks this offseason, and it has the potential to be the most significant. Delce, a Oklahoma City High School star, had a productive career at Tulsa. In three years, she has compiled a 29-15 record with a 2.12 ERA and a .219 BAA. Her Freshman year was her most dominant when she went 15-6 with a 1.63 ERA and .209 BAA to go along with 5 CG shutouts. Delce has had a fair go of it as a hitter as well (.263 BA and a .724 OPS in 330 career PA), but the priority in Fayetteville will be inside the pitching circle. In 2021, Delce’s 24.8 K% ranked fifth in the portal for pitchers with more than 50 IP, and her pedestrian 5.29 FIP was hurt by a lofty 1.9 HR/7 rate. She is an extreme fly ball pitcher that relies on strike outs, pop ups and flyouts for success. She will need to keep those fly balls from flying over the fence if she wants to have sustained success in the challenging SEC. She has two years of NCAA eligibility left. (Greg)    

  1. Lauren Shaw – Iowa → UCLA (P)

The Bruins are adding an experienced pitcher to their staff, one that has already pitched over 250 innings at a Power 5 school and has had a lot of success. Without having access to her ball tracking data, Shaw’s numbers tell the story of a command/control over “stuff” pitcher who’s at her best when she’s generating consistent soft contact. She only struck out 12.9% of the hitters she faced, but her 3.3% walk rate was the lowest among transfer pitchers by a wide margin and in the top-10 of all D1 pitchers in 2021 (min. 90 IP).

Paired with Megan Faraimo, an all-American who walked only 2.6% of the hitters she faced, at the top of the UCLA rotation, they will force opponents to hit their way into offensive success, as neither will get themselves in trouble with free passes. If she can increase her whiff rates, her profile looks a lot like Faraimo’s and we could be talking about another season where UCLA has dual all-Americans at the top of their rotation. Shaw pitched for a competitive Hawkeyes team in 2021, but she now moves to national powerhouse UCLA where she’ll look to pitch into June. (Luke)

  1. Mackense Greico – Furman → Maryland (1B)

An accomplished left handed hitter, Greico departs the Paladins as a Senior with two years of eligibility left.  Greico gives the Terps a solid bat whose playing time has come at both corners of the diamond. Greico pitched 83.2 innings her Freshman year, but then missed all of 2020 due to injury and only pitched 1.2 innings in 2021. This seems to indicate Greico will be coming to College Park primarily as a hitter. Stacking Greico up against other hitters in the portal with more than 100 PA, she ranks seventh in wOBA (.491), eighth in OPS (1.098), and ninth in wRAA (15.29). Plugging Greico’s left-handed bat into the Terps lineup will give them a bump up in needed depth for the 2022 season. Greico has had a fairly lofty K% (21.5) through her career in Greenville and will need to tighten things up to sustain a meaningful level of production as she moves to the Big 10 from the less challenging SOCON. (Greg)

  1. Stacy Payton – Ball St. → Charlotte (C/IF)

Payton had a tremendous tenure at Ball St., slashing .330/.416/.573 through 655 PA over four seasons. Her offensive profile largely resembles fellow transfer Jaycee Ruberti who’s heading to Ohio State (they both had identical .459 wOBAs in 2021) — one that features ultra-high contact rates and consistent .400+ OBPs. Python also hit in the middle of the order and played some infield. This isn’t ho-hum contact either. Payton blasted six homers and added 14 doubles. Payton also caught for Ball St, but Charlotte is returning Senior catcher Bailey Vannoy who holds a career 1.218 OPS, so this is where Payton’s versatility comes in handy for the 49ers. (Luke)

Both recently joining the 6-4-3 Charts team, Greg worked in scouting and player development for the Seattle Mariners for more than 20 years while Luke has worked with Pitcher List, SB Nation and the Coe College baseball team as a data analyst and writer for the past four years.