Pair of Arkansas pitchers enter transfer portal
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FAYETTEVILLE — A pair of Arkansas pitchers have entered the transfer portal, HawgBeat has learned.
Right-handers Jacob Burton and Nate Wohlgemuth have left the team and will pursue opportunities elsewhere. They are the first Arkansas players to transfer since the fall.
Although there are two weeks left in the regular season, the timing of their departures is not uncommon in college baseball. Non-contributors typically have their exit meetings following final exams and then begin offseason training, go play summer ball or decide to transfer. The UA had its finals last week.
One of several promising arms in the Razorbacks’ 2018 class, Burton struggled as a freshman, but was expected to make a jump because of his stuff - which includes a mid-90s fastball.
He posted a 4.82 ERA in 9 1/3 innings across 11 appearances in 2019. Last season, Burton was nearly unhittable when he threw the ball over the plate, but that proved to be a problem. Despite opponents hitting just .077 against him, the Texas native had a 4.15 ERA because he issued seven walks and hit a batter in 4 1/3 innings across five appearances.
Unfortunately, he never got a chance to work through those command issues. The 2020 season was cut short by the coronavirus pandemic and an arm strain suffered just before the season kept him off the mound this year.
Wohlgemuth was one of Arkansas’ top players in its heralded 2020 signing class. In fact, only Cayden Wallace (No. 25) was ranked higher than him by Perfect Game, which tabbed him the No. 44 overall recruit in the country.
There was a concern the Oklahoma native might not make it to campus, but the shortened MLB Draft likely helped that happen. However, Wohlgemuth hasn’t lived up to those lofty expectations. A lingering back injury hindered his progress early and when he did get on the mound, it didn’t go well.
Although he allowed only one earned run, it came in 1 1/3 innings across three appearances, giving him a 6.75 ERA. Command has been his biggest issue, with only 24 of his 62 pitches finding the strike zone. That led to six walks and two wild pitches in his limited action.
Originally signed as a two-way player, Wohlgemuth focused on pitching once he got to Arkansas, but he did make one plate appearance. He was hit by a pitch in the Razorbacks' 26-1 blowout win over UAPB last month.
Wohlgemuth’s departure means only three of Arkansas’ eight top-200 signees in 2020 are still on the team: Wallace, Nick Griffin (who missed this season after undergoing Tommy John surgery) and Jaxon Wiggins.
The others were either drafted and signed professionally out of high school (Masyn Winn, David Calabrese and Markevian “Tink” Hence) or have transferred (Wohlgemuth and Michael Brooks).
However, it’s worth noting that the 2020 class included second baseman Robert Moore before he reclassified and enrolled early, as well as productive JUCO signees Jalen Battles, Brady Slavens, Charlie Welch and Ryan Costeiu.
A few of the lower-ranked high school signees have also flashed some potential as freshmen, including Gabe Starks, Dylan Leach, Heston Tole and Ethan Bates.