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Latest on Arizona baseball transfers, signings, pro performances

Catcher Cameron LaLiberte is headed to Oral Roberts for next season
Photo by Zac BonDurant/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It’s been a busy offseason for Arizona baseball, with the roster ebbing and flowing thanks to graduation, NCAA transfer portal activity and the MLB Draft. Meanwhile, some recent ex-Wildcats are making a name for themselves at the pro level.

To catch you up, here’s what has been going on:

Portal activity

A total of 13 Arizona players entered the NCAA transfer portal, either in the fall or since the 2023 season ended last month. Of that baker’s dozen, more than half have landed a new school.

Most recently, catcher Cameron LaLiberte has committed to play next year at Oral Roberts. The Eagles made a surprise run to the College World Series as a No. 4 seed, but they’re in need of a catcher after starter Jacob Goodman graduated.

LaLiberte shared the starting job at Arizona with Tommy Splaine, hitting .331 in 35 games (33 starts) with one home run and 17 RBI. In three years with the UA he hit .325.

Here’s an alphabetical list of all the UA transfers and where (if applicable) they’ll be for 2024:

  • OF Mac Bingham (committed to LSU)
  • RHP Andrew Carroll
  • IF Jack Grant
  • RHP Mason Kelley (committed to Utah)
  • C Cameron LaLiberte (committed to Oral Roberts)
  • IF Tyler LeJeune (committed to NW Florida State)
  • RHP Hayden Lewis (committed New Mexico State)
  • RHP Aiden May (committed to Oregon State)
  • C/RHP Luke Moeller
  • RHP TJ Nichols (signed with Tampa Bay Rays)
  • RHP Josh Randall (committed to San Diego)
  • RHP Reed Schaefer
  • 1B/OF Trevor Schmidt

As for incoming transfers, Arizona picked up its third player from the portal Tuesday when former Boston College catcher Adonys Guzman committed.

Guzman appeared in 15 games for BC, starting 12 times, and hit .168 with five RBI. He had a .992 fielding percentage behind the plate, but most notably threw out five of nine potential base stealers. Arizona catchers were 10 of 64 in that category last season, with returner Splaine 0 for 40 trying to throw out base runners.

The Wildcats have technically landed four portal transfers, though left-handed pitcher Shane Telfer opted to sign a pro contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks after coming to the UA from Pepperdine.

  • RHP Clark Candiotti (Sr., Wichita State)
  • RHP Kyler Heyne (Jr., Kansas State)
  • C Adonys Guzman (So., Boston College)

Signing update

Of the seven current or future Arizona players picked in last week’s 2023 MLB Draft, all have signed and are officially professional baseball players.

Here’s what each UA-connected player picked in the 2023 draft has signed for:

  • OF Chase Davis (1st round, St. Louis Cardinals): $3.62 million
  • RHP Blake Wolters (2nd round, Kansas City Royals): $2.8 million
  • RHP TJ Nichols (6th round, Tampa Bay Rays): $307,300
  • 1B Kiko Romero (7th round, New York Yankees): $197,500
  • RHP Chris Barraza (10th round, Los Angeles Angels): $7,500
  • SS Nik McClaughry (10th round, San Diego Padres): $25,000

Additionally, third baseman Tony Bullard signed a free agent deal with the Miami Marlins.

Professional update

The only ex-Arizona player to make his MLB debut this season is catcher Cesar Salazar, who was on the Houston Astros’ Opening Day roster but only got 18 at-bats and hit .111 before getting sent back to Triple-A.

Of those in the bigs right now, the two making the most waves of late have been righties Kevin Ginkel and Chase Silseth.

Ginkel, in his fifth season with the D’Backs, picked up the save in back-to-back road wins over the Atlanta Braves, the team with the best record in baseball, striking out the side in the ninth on Monday. For the season he is 3-0 and has a 2.39 ERA.

Silseth, who got called back up by the Angels for a spot start Wednesday, made the most of it by striking out a career-high 10 in 5.2 innings in a win over the Yankees. Silseth, who made his MLB debut last May—less than a year after pitching for the UA in the College World Series—is 2-1 this season with a 4.44 ERA.