Arizona’s offseason goal to shore up its pitching staff continues to press on, with the Wildcats landing a commitment Sunday from former Kansas State right-hander Kyler Heyne.
Heyne confirmed to AZ Desert Swarm that he would be joining the UA for the 2024 season after one year with K-State. As a member of those Wildcats he made 16 relief appearances, posting a 3-0 record with one save and a 2.83 ERA over 28.2 innings, striking out 24 and walking 10 while holding opponents to a .248 batting average.
A starter in 2022 at Navarro College in Texas, Heyne figures to be in the mix for a key relief role in an Arizona bullpen that returns veteran righties Trevor Long and Dawson Netz but has to replace Chris Barraza. Barraza was taken in the 10th round of the 2023 MLB Draft by the Los Angeles Angels.
Heyne is technically the third player Arizona has landed from the NCAA transfer portal, though only two are going to be part of next year’s team. Lefty Shane Telfer, who had committed to the UA following four seasons at Pepperdine, instead signed a rookie free agent deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks last week.
The other pitcher the UA has added from the portal is senior righty Clark Candiotti, from Wichita State. He’s expected to contend for the weekend rotation, which has at least one spot open after righty Aiden May entered the portal.
May is one of 13 Wildcats to have gone in the portal either prior to the 2023 season or since it ended in early June, including righty TJ Nichols, who was a 6th-round pick of the Tampa Bay Rays. Of those to move on, four have found new homes, most notably center fielder Mac Bingham to LSU.