How the transfer portal will affect the 2024 Crimson Tide baseball program


CW / Jennifer Stroud

Alabama baseball team preparing for a game against High Point University on February 26 at Sewell-Thomas Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Michael DeVito, Contributing Writer

Under a new head coach for the Crimson Tide baseball program, the transfer portal will become a vital part of Rob Vaughn’s first offseason at the helm of the Alabama Crimson Tide. 

“We are going to create a culture of toughness, a culture of grit that can withstand the rigors of an SEC schedule,” Vaughn said. 

Within 24 hours of Vaughn’s announcement as the new Alabama baseball head coach, two important members of the Crimson Tide team decided to enter the transfer portal.  

All-American freshman third baseman Colby Shelton, who led the Crimson Tide in home runs during the 2023 season, declared his entry into the transfer portal. Shelton set the freshman record at Alabama with 25 home runs in a season. With Shelton’s .300 batting average, the fifth best on the roster in 2023, finding a replacement for him will be almost impossible for the Crimson Tide.   

Recruited by Alabama and committing in 2021 under former head coach Brad Bohannon, Shelton had a record-breaking 2023 season that opened the door to the top programs in the country. The Florida native’s departure will be a huge loss for the left side of the Alabama infield, leaving behind big shoes to fill. 

Junior infielder Bryce Eblin, who missed a month dealing with an injury he sustained in the Columbia series, followed Shelton into the transfer portal. Eblin appeared in 40 games for the Crimson Tide in the 2023 season, slashing a .268 batting average supported by an on-base and slugging percentage of .711.   

Being able to play at multiple positions in the infield, Eblin proved his value to the Crimson Tide but returned from his injury at a restricted capacity, getting only 49 at-bats in the final two months of the season. Given that he was recruited by Bohannon and seemed unlikely to get much playing time under a new head coach, Eblin’s exit did not come as too much of a surprise. 

Shelton and Eblin’s plans to leave the Crimson Tide create a hole in the Alabama defense and lineup for the upcoming season. Vaughn could address these problems, going after a veteran infielder with important experience who knows how to win at the national and SEC level. He could also look at the outfield to find a replacement for graduate Tommy Seidl and MLB draft prospect Andrew Pinckney, who entered the combine.  

Ole Miss second baseman Peyton Chatagnier could become a star in Tuscaloosa for Vaughn in his final season of eligibility. A 2022 national champion and former 2020 freshman All-American, Chatagnier was a key part of head coach Mike Bianco’s Ole Miss baseball program. Chatagnier announced via social media that the 2023 season would be his last in Oxford and would use find a new home for his last year of eligibility. 

“I have decided to enter the transfer portal with 1 year left of eligibility. I am excited for what’s to come and to see what is written in my next chapter,” Chatagnier wrote. 

After a disastrous season for the Rebels, who finished last place in the SEC, Chatagnier was a star and one of the leaders for Ole Miss.  

Teammate of Chatagnier and junior outfielder T.J. McCants also entered his name into the transfer portal after three seasons at Ole Miss. A staple in the Rebel outfield for their 2022 national championship run, McCants was awarded 2021 freshman All-American honors along with freshman All-SEC. McCants also took to social media to declare the 2023 season as his last as a Rebel.  

“Thanks to the ole miss community for the support and love you guys have showed me my 3 years here. With that being said I will be entering the portal,” McCants said on his Instagram post thanking Ole Miss.  

Finishing the last three seasons with a combined batting average of .261, and a fielding percentage of .998, McCants would provide the Crimson Tide with a good contact bat along with stellar defensive ability.  

Across college athletics, a coaching change at a program can result in players recruited by the former coach entering the portal to find new opportunities. Already, two Crimson Tide players have entered. With more who could follow, Vaughn will have important decisions to make filling the holes left by players exiting through the portal.