Newest Arkansas Transfer Brings DJ Wagner Vibes to the Diamond

Wehiwa Aloy, Kuhio Aloy, Arkansas baseball, BYU baseball, transfer portal
photo credit: Arkansas Athletics / BYU Athletics

Arkansas made its first move of the offseason Friday morning, landing Kuhio Aloy from the transfer portal.

A member of the Big 12 All-Freshman team, Aloy is leaving BYU to join his brother, current shortstop Wehiwa Aloy, in Fayetteville.

It is the Razorbacks’ first of what is believed to be many additions from the transfer portal, as they look to replace at least 70.2% of their at bats and 49.5% of their innings pitched from a team that won the SEC West and earned the No. 5 national seed before another disappointing regional exit.

Like his brother, Aloy is from Maui, Hawaii, and joins the Arkansas baseball program following a freshman season at a non-baseball power out west. (Wehiwa Aloy transferred from Sacramento State.)

The Razorbacks are now set to have three Hawaiians on their roster, as the Aloy brothers will be joined by rising sophomore Nolan Souza. The trio was preceded by Rick Nomura, who played at Arkansas from 2015-16 and was the program’s first native-born Hawaiian.

The Aloys are also part of what could be a strong brotherly theme on next year’s team. The 2024 signing class also features Carson Wiggins and Eli Lovich, the younger brothers of now-former Razorbacks Jaxon Wiggins and Ross Lovich.

Those two players will be freshmen in 2025, assuming they make it to campus. Wiggins is a heralded high school prospect who could get drafted and sign professionally this summer, while Lovich was the player of the year in Kansas and is worth keeping an eye on in the 2024 MLB Draft, as well.

Kuhio Aloy with BYU Baseball

While the basketball team surprised everyone with a strong first season in the Big 12, the BYU baseball program struggled in its debut season in the conference. It went just 21-31 overall, including a 7-23 mark in Big 12 play.

However, one bright spot for the Cougars was the play of Kuhio Aloy, who immediately asserted himself as a starter despite being a late addition to their 2023 recruiting class.

In a stark contrast to his older brother, who struggled out of the gates for the Razorbacks this season, it’d be hard to draw up a better start to a career than what Aloy experienced.

The younger Aloy burst onto the scene with a three-hit performance — including a towering home run — against USC and followed it up with another home run against Ohio State in his first two career games, both of which were at the MLB Desert Invitational.

It ended up being a very up-and-down season, though. Aloy finished the year with a .269/.329/.447 slash line while hitting 8 home runs and notching a team-high 38 RBIs. He also struck out 62 times in 225 plate appearances.

That was good enough for him to land on the Big 12 All-Freshman Team, but it’s worth noting that Aloy’s numbers fell off quit a bit in conference play, as he slashed .222/.280/.333 with only two home runs and 20 RBIs in 30 Big 12 games.

There were still some really good moments for the freshman, though. He hit a big grand slam against Texas Tech and also earned Big 12 Newcomer of the Week honors late in the year following a 10-for-17 week against Abilene Christian and Miami (Fla.).

Unfortunately for him, Aloy struggled over the final two weeks of the season. In the Cougars’ last eight games, he went just 3 for 34, lowering his season batting average from .307 to .269.

The inconsistent nature of his season was reminiscent of not only his older brother, but another player in a different sport who is also coming to Arkansas via the transfer portal after earning freshman all-conference accolades.

Unlike Aloy, Wagner was a highly regarded high school product and showed some promising signs in his first year at Kentucky, but also had some major struggles. That was particularly evident during a seven-game stretch in which he went 0 for 15 from beyond the arc. He also went just 1 for 12 from deep over the Wildcats’ final three games, including a scoreless effort in the NCAA Tournament.

Now playing at Arkansas under John Calipari, who also coached his father, Wagner will try to make a significant jump as a sophomore on a team with Final Four aspirations — much like Kuhio Aloy.

What it Means for Arkansas Baseball

The biggest question surrounding Kuhio Aloy is probably where he’ll end up defensively in the Arkansas baseball program.

When BYU announced his signing back in 2023, he was listed as a two-way player — a right-handed pitcher and outfielder. Although he never pitched for the Cougars, Aloy’s profile on Five Tool lists his fastball as being up to 93 mph and that was in December 2022.

Instead, most of Aloy’s starts last season — 46 of 50, to be exact — were at designated hitter, with his other four starts coming at first base. He was a mainstay in the middle of BYU’s lineup, as well.

Combine his listed size (6-1, 200) with his statistical profile, which featured zero stolen base attempts, and Aloy seems like a candidate to be a corner outfielder, but first base would also make sense.

He has the power that Arkansas lacked in the outfield for much of 2023. Take out the eight long balls hit by Peyton Holt after he moved from the infield to the outfield and the Razorbacks’ outfielders hit just 15 home runs in 540 at bats — or one every 36 at bats. Aloy’s home run rate was one every 24.6 at bats.

Of course, he’ll likely need to cut down on the strikeouts and become more consistent at the plate to earn a spot in Arkansas’ lineup. That’s not a totally unreasonable expectation for a guy going into his sophomore season, especially when he’s already got a year in a major conference under his belt.

Reuniting with his brother when being so far away from home shouldn’t be discounted either.

If he produces with the bat, Aloy could also be a candidate to be the Razorbacks’ designated hitter, just as he was at BYU. However, that probably depends on who else Arkansas brings in from the transfer portal and which incoming freshmen make it to campus and show they can play right away.


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