Kentucky baseball's season was ended May 25th in the first round of the SEC Tournament to Florida, in the week following, eight Wildcats so far have put their name in the transfer portal.
Cam Hill, Dillon Marsh, Jimmy Ramsey, Trae Harmon, Ron Cole, Drew Grace, Jack Hicks and Cole Daniels will be looking elsewhere when it comes to furthering their baseball career. The number of transfers is expected to grow.
Hill and Marsh were two productive members of the 2021 Kentucky baseball roster as Hill started 28 games in the outfield, batting .245 with 15 RBI's and 13 stolen bases in his redshirt junior season. Hill has two years of eligibility remaining thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic allowing athletes to compete for an extra year.
I appreciate and enjoyed my time playing for the University of Kentucky. I want to thank my coaches, teammates and the BBN for the support over the past 4 years. Having 2 years of eligibility left, I have decided to enter the transfer portal. I look forward to this new journey.— Cam Hill (@Hill37A) May 26, 2021
Marsh on the other hand is a LHP who pitched 29 innings out of the bullpen for Nick Mingione's Wildcats, recording a 4.34 ERA on the season. Marsh will also have two years of eligibility left wherever he chooses to play baseball next season.
Thank you to my teammates, family, coach's, support staff and friends for supporting me through my journey at the University of Kentucky. Although a difficult decision, at this time with 2 years of eligibility remaining, I have decided to enter my name into the transfer portal.— Dillon (@dillon_marsh22) May 31, 2021
Speaking of Mingione, the head coach of Kentucky baseball in his fifth season with that title hasn't led his team to an NCAA Tournament berth since 2017. Despite this, Kentucky Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart has extended Mingione's contract an extra three seasons earlier this year.
His base salary will continue to be $400,000 and is guaranteed $175,000 from media and endorsements. Compare that to Rachel Lawson, the head coach of Kentucky's Softball team, which is coming off a Super Regional berth, a base salary of $300,000.
Performance on the field instead of around it needs to be a priority for those around the baseball program as this may be a long, hard off-season. With many players already jumping the gun on entering the transfer portal, it says all you need to know about where this program may be headed in the coming years.
2017 was the last season Kentucky had anything to write home about. Mingione was the SEC Coach of the Year, the Wildcats finished the season with a 43-23 (19-11, 2nd in SEC East) record and a Super Regional berth.
Since then, Kentucky has a 100-80 (.55.56%) overall record, including a 29-23 record in 2021. That percentage looks good on paper, but when you take into account that their overall SEC record is 32-59 in the a conference that just sent eight teams into the 2021 NCAA Tournament, something has to change.
Kentucky will also be (potentially) losing several seniors including Oraj Anu, Sean Harney, Daniel Harper, Mason Hazelwood, Holt Jones, Coltyn Kessler, and Jimmy Ramsey. Although, they all have the option to return next season due to the extra year of eligibility brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jaren Shelby, Zeke Lewis, Zach Kammin, and T.J. Collett have all used their extra year for this past season and will no longer be eligible to play NCAA-regulated sports.
With the departure of many, there's no better time to reminiscence on the good times of those leaving the program, whether by transfer or graduation. Below are some highlights of a few players who will no longer don the blue and white for Kentucky:
1⃣0⃣8⃣ off the bat! Collett Comet. pic.twitter.com/mxsQsZoMOJ— Kentucky Baseball (@UKBaseball) April 23, 2021
1. ⚾️ Zeke Lewis has been a human highlight reel all season for Kentucky. This is perhaps his finest work.pic.twitter.com/EmNKemYzew— Kendall Baker (@TheKendallBaker) May 26, 2021