The Kentucky Baseball team will be losing at least four players from their 2020 roster. D1Baseball’s transfer tracker reports that utility men Breydon Daniel and Justin Olson along with pitcher Jake Tate and catcher Jared Payne and in the transfer portal.
Of the four, Daniel played the most significant role while apart of the program. In 2019 he played in 46 games with 43 starts at five different positions (1B, 3B, LF, CF, RF). He hit .238 with seven home runs and 20 RBI’s while leading the team with 17 stolen bases. He played in 14 games during Kentucky’s shortened 2020 season and drove in a career-high six runs in what ended up being the season finale against Western Kentucky on Mar. 10.
As for the other now-former Wildcats, Olson redshirted in 2019 and missed the 2020 season due to shoulder surgery and will leave Lexington before ever making his college debut. Tate was named to the 2019 all-state team by the Tennessee Baseball Coaches Association and Tennessee Baseball Report as a senior in high school but did not appear for UK as a true freshman last season. While Payne, also did not appear in any games as a true freshman in 2020.
All four will look to find new baseball homes in a sport that will perhaps be more talented than ever before, with the MLB cutting their annual Draft from 40 to five rounds amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Wildcats currently have 14 players committed to joining their 2020 recruiting class and five seniors yet to have announced whether or not they will return next season now that the NCAA has allowed spring athletes who had their season cut short in 2020 gain an extra year of eligibility.
That puts the Wildcats at 46 projected players for 2021 when adding the 14 new additions and five undecided seniors. That means 11 Cats must be cut to meet the 35-man roster limit. Thus, expect more names in the transfer portal and some tough decisions on last year’s seniors.
Photo: UK Athletics