NCAA Rule Unclarity + 2 Recent Transfers Muddle Outlook for 2024 Arkansas Baseball Roster

Sean Fitzpatrick, Mason Neville, Arkansas baseball, transfer portal
photo credit: Baumology

A pair of Arkansas baseball players — Mason Neville and Sean Fitzpatrick — are headed to the transfer portal, a team spokesperson confirmed to Best of Arkansas Sports on Wednesday.

Neville is an outfielder who came to Fayetteville as a top-100 recruit, while Fitzpatrick is a left-handed pitcher. Both played sparingly as freshmen in 2023.

The news of their departure comes a day after the conclusion of the MLB Draft, which saw seven current Razorbacks, seven signees and one transfer portal commit selected, and further brings their 2024 roster into focus.

They will double the number of Arkansas baseball players in the transfer portal, as they join Isaac Webb and Harold Coll, the latter of whom has already landed in the Big 12 at Houston.

If both of them do move on — Fitzpatrick told HawgBeat that he hasn’t “ruled out anything” — and all draftees except signee Gabe Gaeckle ultimately sign professionally, the 2024 Arkansas baseball roster sits at 48 players, according to our unofficial projection found below.

That number must drop down to 40 by next spring. The limit used to be 35, but the NCAA recently expanded it. It’s also unclear if super seniors will count toward that total. They didn’t in 2023, which allowed Arkansas to have 36 players because Brady Slavens was a super senior.

The Razorbacks could potentially have as many as four super seniors on next year’s team: Koty Frank, Hunter Grimes, Peyton Holt and Zack Morris. However, it’s also unclear if Frank would have to count even if that exception still applies in 2024 because it doesn’t count for guys who transfer in. He originally transferred to Arkansas as a super senior last offseason and is only eligible to play next season because he received a medical redshirt.

Freshman Struggles for Neville, Fitzpatrick

Both players were among the top 400 recruits in the country for the 2022 class on Perfect Game, but Mason Neville was by far the most heralded of the two.

Ranked No. 86 overall coming out of Basic High School in Las Vegas, he was also viewed as a legitimate MLB Draft prospect last summer. He was No. 102 on MLB Pipeline’s list of top prospects and ended up getting picked by the Reds in the 18th round.

That made it a big win for Arkansas when Neville ended up on campus. Many expected him to push for a starting job, possibly in center field, or at least be the top backup, but that never happened.

Jace Bohrofen, Tavian Josenberger and Jared Wegner were the primary starters, with Kendall Diggs and Hunter Grimes filling in when there were injuries. Arkansas even experimented with Brady Slavens and Jayson Jones in the outfield.

When he did get opportunities, Neville struggled mightily. His 19 appearances included seven starts and he went 3 for 27 (.111) with a double and two RBIs. Most concerning was the fact that he had 20 strikeouts in 27 official at bats. Even if you include his four walks, one HBP and one sacrifice bunt, Neville struck out 60.6% of the time.

Fitzpatrick was ranked No. 378 in the class coming out of Concordia Lutheran High School, a private school in Tomball, Texas,  and was an intriguing arm in fall ball who had some success.

However, he didn’t get quite as many opportunities as Neville, making just three relief appearances that totaled 2 2/3 innings.

While he didn’t allow a single run, seven of the 15 batters Fitzpatrick faced reached base. He gave up five hits in 13 at bats, a .385 average, and issued two walks, plus had two wild pitches. That lack of command and high opponent batting average contributed to him only pitching in games against TCU, Little Rock and Lipscomb.

What it Means for Arkansas Baseball

Considering the moves Arkansas baseball has made in the transfer portal and how it came through the MLB Draft, neither departure is particularly surprising.

A player as heralded as Mason Neville doesn’t typically stick around to be a backup and that looked like it’d be his role again in 2024. His struggles this past season led to the Razorbacks looking elsewhere for outfielders.

They have landed commitments from former Missouri starters Ty Wilmsmeyer and Ross Lovich via the transfer portal and they appear to be front runners to start alongside Kendall Diggs, who has made some tremendous plays in right field while playing in the Cape Cod League this summer.

Tarleton State transfer Jack Wagner told Best of Arkansas Sports that he’s going to start out at first base with the Razorbacks, but he actually started as a corner outfielder at Kansas in 2021, so that’s always a possibility. They also signed junior college transfer Will Edmunson out of Hutchinson C.C.

Throw in the presumed return of Hunter Grimes, who started over him when Arkansas had two injured outfielders this past season, and Neville had a tough road ahead of him to get any significant playing time with Arkansas baseball in 2024.

On the mound, innings were going to be hard to come by for Sean Fitzpatrick because of who’s coming back from last year’s staff and the loaded class of pitchers coming in as freshmen.

He was already behind freshmen like Gage Wood, Christian Foutch, Ben Bybee and Parker Coil. Now Arkansas is bringing in a slew of heralded pitchers, highlighted by four top-100 overall recruits — Adam Hachman, Hunter Dietz, Gabe Gaeckle and Tucker Holland.

The biggest advantage Fitzpatrick had was the fact that he was a lefty and had the potential to be a lefty-lefty specialist, especially considering he’s pitching well in summer ball.

However, with the addition of Hachman (who is expected to redshirt in 2024), Dietz, Holland, Colin Fisher and Jack Smith, there won’t be a shortage of left-handed pitchers next season. The Razorbacks also added Stone Hewlett as a transfer from Kansas, plus return Zack Morris and Parker Coil – all three of whom are lefties.

Throw in Hagen Smith, who is a projected weekend starter, and if Nick Griffin and Jordan Huskey stick around, that would give Arkansas 11 left-handed pitchers on its roster in 2024. Since 2008, which is as far back as we have records, the most lefties the Razorbacks have had is nine in 2010.

2024 Arkansas Baseball Roster Tracker

Total Players: 48

Returning Players (26)

  • RHP Ben Bybee – sophomore
  • RHP Dylan Carter – fifth-year senior
  • LHP Parker Coil – sophomore
  • OF Kendall Diggs – junior
  • RHP Cooper Dossett – sophomore
  • RHP Jake Faherty – redshirt sophomore
  • RHP Christian Foutch – sophomore
  • RHP Koty Frank – sixth-year super senior
  • LHP Nick Griffin – redshirt junior
  • OF Hunter Grimes – sixth-year super senior
  • INF Peyton Holt – super senior
  • LHP Jordan Huskey – redshirt freshman
  • RHP Josh Hyneman – redshirt freshman
  • INF Jayson Jones – sophomore
  • C Cal Kilgore – redshirt sophomore
  • RHP Austin Ledbetter – junior
  • RHP Will McEntire – fifth-year senior
  • INF Ben McLaughlin – senior
  • LHP Zack Morris – super senior
  • C Hudson Polk – senior
  • INF Reese Robinett – sophomore
  • C Parker Rowland – senior
  • LHP Hagen Smith – junior
  • INF Peyton Stovall – junior
  • RHP Brady Tygart – junior
  • RHP Gage Wood – sophomore

Incoming Freshmen (15)

  • RHP Jaewoo Choo
  • RHP Jonah Conradt
  • LHP Hunter Dietz
  • LHP Colin Fisher
  • C/UTL Nate Franco
  • RHP Gabe Gaeckle (drafted, but said he’s coming to school)
  • LHP Adam Hachman
  • C Ryder Helfrick
  • LHP Tucker Holland
  • RHP Tate McGuire
  • INF/RHP Diego Ramos
  • LHP Jack Smith
  • INF/RHP Kade Smith
  • INF Nolan Souza
  • C/INF Ty Waid

Incoming Transfers (7)

  • OF Will Edmunson (Hutchinson C.C.)
  • C Hudson White (Texas Tech)
  • OF Ty Wilmsmeyer (Missouri)
  • UTL Jack Wagner (Tarleton State)
  • SS Wehiwa Aloy (Sacramento State)
  • LHP Stone Hewlett (Kansas)
  • OF Ross Lovich (Missouri)


Exhausted Eligibility (3)

  • John Bolton
  • Brady Slavens
  • Jared Wegner (also selected in MLB Draft)

Selected in MLB Draft, Not Likely to Return (13)

  • RHP Cody Adcock
  • OF Jace Bohrofen
  • INF Caleb Cali — among this group, Cali probably has the best chance to come back, but we’re counting him as gone until he announces otherwise
  • OF Kendall George (signee)
  • LHP Hunter Hollan
  • OF Tavian Josenberger
  • RHP Barrett Kent (signee)
  • INF Walker Martin (signee)
  • INF Aidan Miller (signee)
  • RHP Dylan Questad (signee)
  • RHP Jaxon Wiggins
  • RHP Craig Yoho (Indiana transfer)
  • INF Nazzan Zanetello (signee)

Outgoing Transfers (4)

  • Isaac Webb
  • Harold Coll (story)
  • Mason Neville
  • Sean Fitzpatrick


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