As Rest of SEC Stocks Up, Arkansas Eyes Several Top-100 Prospects in Transfer Portal

Nate Knowles, Bobby Boser, Tommy LaPour, Arkansas baseball, transfer portal
photo credit: William & Mary Athletics / USF Athletics / Wichita State Athletics

Even though the College World Series hasn’t started, the transfer portal is already humming and Arkansas baseball is once again expected to be very active.

So far, the Razorbacks have landed just one commitment – BYU’s Kuhio Aloy, the younger brother of current shortstop Wehiwa Aloy.

It’s a certainly solid pickup, as he’s coming off a season in which he landed on the Big 12’s All-Freshman Team, but Arkansas is after some other big fish who would make an even bigger splash on the national scene.

That’s a good thing, too, because the SEC isn’t getting any easier.

Despite its first ever trip to Omaha coming up, Kentucky is cleaning up in the transfer portal. The SEC co-champions have landed seven commitments and all but one of them are among the top 250 available players, according to 64Analytics.

That gives the Wildcats the No. 1 portal class in the country so far. They’re followed by Georgia, which has six portal commits. Former Arkansas assistant Wes Johnson helped the Bulldogs sign the top-ranked portal class last offseason and had them within one game of the College World Series in his first season at the helm.

Auburn and Florida each have three portal commitments and are ranked inside the top 5 nationally, while Alabama and Texas A&M each have a pair of commits and are inside the top 15.

It may not have panned out quite like they had hoped, but the Razorbacks signed the No. 2 transfer portal class last offseason, according to 64Analytics. They have some work to do to climb the board this year, but they do have their eyes on quite a few top-100 portal prospects.

Here’s a look at some of them, based on who assistant coaches Matt Hobbs, Nate Thompson and Bobby Wernes are following on Twitter, as well as additional intel…

(READ NEXT: Should Nate Thompson be fired? We dive into the numbers here.)

Arkansas Baseball Transfer Portal Targets

(NOTE: Transfer portal rankings are from 64Analytics, a new subscription-based website intended to be the “KenPom of baseball” that takes an analytical look at all 945 college baseball programs across all three NCAA divisions.)

RHP Tommy LaPour – Wichita State

R/R | 6-4 | 230
Soph. | Blue Springs, Mo.
64Analytics Portal Ranking: No. 8
2024 Stats: 16 G/16 GS, 6-3, 4.23 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 69 K/37 BB, 78.2 IP, .224 BAA

Although he wasn’t a super highly touted prospect coming out of high school last year, Tommy LaPour burst onto the scene with a fantastic freshman year at Wichita State. He outplayed his No. 388 overall ranking in the 2023 class from Perfect Game, earning AAC Newcomer Pitcher of the Year and second-team All-AAC honors. (Interestingly, Perfect Game tabbed him the top right-hander in Missouri, ahead of Arkansas’ Tate McGuire.)

LaPour is a power arm who’s been up to 98 mph and sits in the 93-95 range. His go-to secondary pitch is an upper-80s changeup and he also throws a slider. While his ERA and strikeouts may not jump off the page, that arsenal makes him a coveted transfer portal prospect. He actually visited Tennessee over the weekend, as the Vols hosted several transfers during their super regional matchup with Evansville.

OF/LHP Malachi Lott – Sam Houston State

L/L | 5-9 | 175
Sr. | Portland, Texas
64Analytics Portal Ranking: No. 12
2024 Stats: 54 G, .303/.349/.502, 10 HR, 40 RBI, 15 BB/53 K, 9-12 SB
2024 Stats: 13 G/0 GS, 2-1, 3.86 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 16 K/4 BB, 14 IP, .236 BAA

A talented two-way player, Malachi Lott spent his first two seasons in the AAC at Houston before landing in CUSA by transferring to Sam Houston State. He hit just six total home runs during his time with the Cougars, but hit 10 with the Bearkats.

Before taking over as Sam Houston’s designated hitter, Lott played a lot of right field early in the season. He has some pop, but the Razorbacks probably also like the athleticism and speed he brings to the table. Although he had only nine this year, he racked up 27 stolen bases over his two seasons at Houston.

RHP/INF Noah Sullivan – South Carolina Upstate

R/R | 6-1 | 225
R-Jr. | Orlando, Fla.
64Analytics Portal Ranking: No. 13
2024 Stats: 57 G, .324/.453/.613, 17 HR, 56 RBI, 37 BB/56 K, 5-5 SB
2024 Stats: 14 G/14 GS, 8-1, 4.88 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 51 K/22 BB, 75.2 IP, .262 BAA

Another two-way player, Noah Sullivan was South Carolina Upstate’s designated hitter when he wasn’t pitching this year. That landed him a pair of All-Big South honors, as he was a first-team utility player and second-team starting pitcher. It’s worth noting that he played some first base in his injury-shortened 2023 season.

As a freshman in 2022, Sullivan posted a 3.31 ERA and 1.01 WHIP while holding opponents to a .188 batting average in 32.2 IP, plus slashed .303/.410/.394 with 42 home runs. That made him the Big South Freshman of the Year and earned him a spot on Collegiate Baseball’s Freshman All-America team. Perhaps the biggest improvement he’s made over the years is his power at the plate, as he hit just 5 total home runs in 76 games over his first two seasons and then hit 17 this season – including two in an upset win over Clemson.

According to 247Sports, South Carolina is hosting him on a visit this week.

OF Logan Maxwell – TCU

L/L | 5-10 | 185
Sr. | Lima, Ohio
64Analytics Portal Ranking: No. 14
2024 Stats: 46 G, .335/.447/.482, 3 HR, 25 RBI, 30 BB/23 K, 10-12 SB

Although he ended the year as TCU’s designated hitter, Logan Maxwell has played left field quite a bit. He’s not much of a power hitter, with only five career home runs in 342 at bats, but he does satisfy the Razorbacks’ desire for athleticism/speed, as he’s 19 of 24 on career stolen base attempts. Maxwell has also laid down 11 successful sacrifice bunts over the last two seasons. That’s not to say he’s only a singles hitter, though, because he did have 12 doubles and two triples.

According to HawgBeat, Maxwell is visiting Arkansas this week.

OF Rocco Peppi – Fresno State

R/R | 5-11 | 200
R-Sr. | Huntington Beach, Calif.
64Analytics Portal Ranking: No. 16
2024 Stats: 56 G, .327/.392/.602, 14 HR, 56 RBI, 7 BB/28 K, 6-9 SB

After three years at Long Beach State, Rocco Peppi finally enjoyed a breakout season at Fresno State. He hit just 11 home runs in two seasons with the Dirtbags following a redshirt year, but hit 14 with the Bulldogs in 2024. One constant has been his knack for getting plunked, as he had 20 HBP this year and has 51 in his career — which is more than his 41 career walks.

Peppi was Long Beach State’s everyday left fielder in 2023 and primarily played there at Fresno State, but also started a handful of games in right field and was a designated hitter some.

RHP Nate Knowles – William & Mary

R/R | 6-0 | 185
Sr. | Arlington, Va.
64Analytics Portal Ranking: No. 27
2024 Stats: 19 G/19 GS, 8-3, 2.48 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 112 K/39 BB, 80 IP, .178 BAA

Nate Knowles was dominant as a sophomore in 2023, posting a 3.43 ERA with 70 strikeouts in 65.2 innings. All he did was follow it up with an even better year in which he ranked in the top 20 nationally in ERA (9th), hits allowed per nine innings (5.6 – 13th) and strikeouts per nine innings (12.6 – 20th).

That earned him Pitcher of the Year honors in the Coastal Athletic Association, plus a spot on the All-CAA first team. If he doesn’t get drafted and sign professionally, Knowles has the stuff to help a high-major program in 2025:

INF/OF Charles Davalan – Florida Gulf Coast

L/R | 5-10 | n/a
So. | Montreal, Quebec
64Analytics Portal Ranking: No. 28
2024 Stats: 56 G, .288/.413/.514, 10 HR, 37 RBI, 28 BB/35 K, 13-18 SB

Ranked as the No. 458 overall recruit in the 2023 class by Perfect Game, Charles Davalan enjoyed a really solid freshman season at Florida Gulf Coast this year. He displayed a nice mix of power (10 home runs) and speed (13 stolen bases), plus managed to be hit by a pitch 20 times. Just looking at the numbers, Davalan looks like a prototypical leadoff man, which is where he hit all year for the Eagles.

Splitting time between second base and right field, Davalan landed on the ASUN All-Freshman Team before deciding to hit the portal. He’ll be playing in the prestigious Cape Cod League this summer. It’s also worth noting that Davalan will be a draft-eligible sophomore next year.

LHP Alton Davis II – Alabama

L/L | 6-5 | 185
Jr. | Hueytown, Ala.
64Analytics Portal Ranking: No. 64
2024 Stats: 21 G/0 GS, 4-2, 4 saves, 5.61 ERA, 1.57 WHIP, 38 K/17 BB, 33.2 IP, .273 BAA

A heralded prospect coming out of high school, Alton Davis II was ranked No. 154 overall in the 2022 class by Perfect Game and showed quite a bit of promise as a freshman. Despite a 5.35 ERA, he did rack up eight saves in 25 appearances in his first season at Alabama, earning him second-team Freshman All-America honors from the NCBWA.

However, even with an upper-90s fastball and a really good slider, Davis has been very inconsistent throughout his career. He failed to build on the solid freshman season, with virtually all of his numbers regressing this year. The talent is there, as evidenced by him still receiving a Team USA invite, but it’ll be up to his next school to fully unlock it.

UTL Bobby Boser – South Florida

R/R | 6-1 | 209
Sr. | Wesley Chapel, Fla.
64Analytics Portal Ranking: No. 74
2024 Stats: 34 G, .299/.351/.667, 12 HR, 32 RBI, 10 BB/35 K, 6-8 SB

Bobby Boser has been the definition of a utility player. In three years at South Florida, he started at least one game at every position except pitcher and catcher. This season, he was strictly an infielder with most of his starts coming at second base or shortstop, but last season, the majority of his starts were in center field.

That versatility is valuable for a guy who can swing the bat as well as he does. Boser has been a first-team All-AAC selection each of the last two seasons. Sandwiched between those, he was named a Cape Cod League All-Star. Last year, he slashed .323/.445/.621 with 15 home runs in 55 games. His numbers this year would have been even better, but he missed 22 games with a broken hamate bone.

LHP Myles Patton – Long Beach State

L/L | 6-3 | 200
Jr. | Long Beach, Calif.
64Analytics Portal Ranking: No. 86
2024 Stats: 11 G/11 GS, 4-3, 3.26 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 85 K/24 BB, 66.1 IP, .216 BAA

Although he was a little bit wild with 24 walks and 10 HBP in 66.1 innings, Myles Patton was very good for Long Beach State until being sidelined with an injury at the start of May. Despite missing the last month of the season, he was still tabbed honorable mention All-Big West.

It was a dramatic improvement from his freshman season, when he posted a 6.18 ERA and 1.65 WHIP, plus allowed opponents to hit .339. Now the question is whether or not he’s capable of making another big jump between his sophomore and junior season after hitting the transfer portal.

OF Kyle Jones – Stetson

R/R | 6-3 | 170
So. | Athens, Ga.
64Analytics Portal Ranking: No. 239
2024 Stats: 62 G, .355/.459/.476, 5 HR, 32 RBI, 33 BB/27 K, 23-28 SB

Playing on a team that won 41 games and made the NCAA Tournament, Kyle Jones had a sensational freshman year in which he was named the ASUN Freshman of the Year and earned second-team Freshman All-America honors from the NCBWA. He racked up 23 stolen bases to go along with an impressive .355 batting average.

**JUNE 13 UPDATE**

1B Eric Rataczak — Niagara

R/R | 6-3 | 215
R-Sr. | Circle Pines, Minn.
64Analytics Portal Ranking: No. 198
2024 Stats: 55 G, .396/.485/.698, 17 HR, 71 RBI, 31 BB/25 K, 2-3 SB

In a sport filled with incredible stories, it’s unlikely any have had a crazier journey than Eric Rataczak. Not recruited out of high school, he attended the University of San Diego and played on the club team. While there, he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and then the pandemic hit. After taking a year off to focus on his health, Rataczak wasn’t ready to give up on his dream and played at two different junior colleges before returning to the club team at San Diego.

Finally, after a strong showing in a summer collegiate league, he caught the attention of Niagara. All he did in his first season of Division I baseball was nearly hit .400 with 17 home runs and 71 RBIs. Rataczak posted an incredible 1.183 OPS with a minuscule 9.5% strikeout rate. That earned him MAAC Player of the Year honors. He could also be a draft threat.

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