Baseball Roster Movement
Since the 2022 South Carolina baseball season ended in Hoover on May 24, the Gamecocks have seen about 1/3 of their roster turnover. We wanted to consolidate the turnover in one place for our readers. Obviously, next month's MLB Draft could lead to 2-3 more changes. Below is a compilation of the outgoing/incoming transfers.
Jalen Vasquez was part of the 2020 recruiting class. The Summerville native was ranked as the 9th best prospect in the state by PerfectGame. He hit .225 with 1 home run in 31 at-bats this season. He also appeared to be a defensive liability in his limited appearances fielding at a .905 clip.
Elijah Lambros was the 7th-ranked high school player in Virginia in the 2021 class and the 298th-ranked player overall per PerfectGame. He had 36 at-bats this season and hit .152.
Aidan Hunter is another Summerville native and was also part of the 2021 class. He came to Carolina as the 10th-ranked player in the state by PerfectGame. Hunter threw 48.1 innings this year for the Gamecocks and finished with a 7.63 and a 5-5 record. He gave up 68 hits and a .329 batting average against. Hunter made 3 midweek starts for Carolina this season.
Thad Ector came to Carolina as part of the 2021 recruiting class. The Georgia native was the #1 ranked outfielder in Georgia for 2021 and the 74th ranked player in the country by PerfectGame. The switch-hitting outfielder struggled in his limited appearances hitting only .067 in 15 at-bats.
Matt Hogan began the season with a bang with a home run in the season-opening win over UNC Greensboro, his only of the season. Hogan started 17 games for Carolina but hit only .137. The Vandy transfer struck out 21 times to only 7 hits. Only 1 of those hits came in SEC play.
Michael Esposito pitched 8.1 innings for the Gamecocks in 2022. He gave up 12 hits and walked 10 in those innings. Opponents hit .324 off of the Junior lefty. Esposito appeared in three SEC games and failed to record an out in two of those outings.
CJ Weins could never master his control. He, like Esposito, had a powerful arm but neither could control their stuff. Weins finished 2022 with an ERA of 11.81. He pitched 10.2 innings and only gave up five hits, but he walked 13. Of those five hits, four left the ballpark. Opponents only .139 off of Weins but he was prone to the long ball and issuing free passes.
Vytas Valincius was a highly regarded recruit out of the Baylor School in Chattanooga. He was ranked as the 6th best prospect in Tennessee by PerfectGame in the class of 2021. Valincius only had six at-bats this season, none in SEC play. He went 1-6 with an RBI and three strikeouts.
Chris Veach was a teammate of Cade Austin and Matthew Becker at Chapin High. Veach is a PC transfer that is a two-way player. Veach started 16 games for the Blue Hose this season at DH where he hit .322 with two home runs and 11 RBIs. Veach went 1-4 with an RBI double in PC's March 29th win over Carolina in Columbia. In 2021 on the mound, Veach threw 20 innings with a 2.70 ERA and a .186 batting average with 10 walks to 19 strikeouts. Veach could pitch out of the bullpen for Carolina next season.
Dylan Brewer was the first of three former Clemson Tigers to transfer to Carolina this season. Brewer started in 39 of the 46 games he played for the Tigers this season and batted .208 with four home runs and 24 RBIs. He is expected to play first base or corner outfield spot for Mark Kingston. Brewer is a Latta, South Carolina native and was drafted in the 32nd round of the MLB draft by the San Francisco Giants in high school.
Jonathan French "Frenchie" hit .217 last season, with a .333 OBP and a .428 Slugging %. The Sophomore bated in 22 runs and hit 8 HRs in 44 games played. French missed the entire Covid season with a broken leg, but split time with Adam Hackenberg in 2021, playing in 25 games, before playing in 44 games last season while putting up decent offensive stats and looking very solid behind the plate for the Tigers on defense.
The Lilburn, Georgia native was ranked as high as the #56 player in the country out of high school in the 2019 recruiting class. From a defensive standpoint, French is not much of a drop-off from Burgess. French has two seasons of eligibility remaining. He should be in the mix for the starting catcher position.
Nick Proctor comes to Carolina by way of Cal Berkeley. He is going to add an instant power arm to Carolina's bullpen. The righty went 4-1 with a 4.11 ERA. In 30.2 innings of work, he struck out 48 to only 10 walks. He also recorded 1 save. The only concern is that his ERA ballooned to 7.90 in Pac12 play and conference hitters hit over .350 against him. Proctor will be using his extra Covid year for the Gamecocks next spring, meaning he will be one and done.
Jacob Compton is probably the best player Kingston has added thus far this off-season. Compton was first-team All-AAC this past season for Memphis. He led the AAC in RBIs with 56 and doubles with 18. Compton is a 1B/Corner OF that can hit for power and average. He had 11 homers, only 3 in league play, for the Tigers in 2022 and hit .291. Compton could also enter 2023 as a good DH option. Compton will have two years of eligibility remaining.
Ricky Williams is a Lexington native and River Bluff High School product. He was considered as the #356 player in the country and 10th player in the state by PerfectGame coming out of high school in 2020. Williams has two seasons of eligibility remaining. Last season for Clemson, Williams primarily pitched out of the bullpen but did have three midweek starts. He finished 2-0 with a 2.95 ERA. The right-hander struck out 12 in 21 innings. Williams needs to work on his control, in those 21 innings he walked 13, hit four batters, and threw three wild pitches. Opponents hit only .222 against him. He pitched only 1.2 innings in conference play and gave up two unearned runs on one hit against Miami and walked three and struck out one in .2 of an inning against NC State. He also threw two wild pitches in the NC State outing.
Williams should get some midweek starts next season and pitch out of the bullpen on the weekends. He can get up to the mid-90s with his fastball, but he is primarily a low 90s velo type guy.
Caleb Denny is another Owasso, Oklahoma native to play college ball in Columbia. Denny is a utility player that can almost every position. Second base or a corner outfield spot is most likely where he will play in Columbia. Denny started 53 games in right field last season. He could fill the shoes of another Oklahoma native, Braylen Wimmer at second in Wimmer opts to leave in next month's MLB Draft. We projected Wimmer to begin his professional career.
Last season for Oral Roberts, Denny started all 58 games for the Golden Eagles. He hit .331 with 11 home runs and 57 RBIs. Denny slugged .565 while striking out 53 times and scored a league-best 57 runs. Denny also led the Summit League in hits with 73. He committed just 4 errors in the field. Denny was named All-Summit League First Team for the second consecutive year in 2022. Denny began his career at Arkansas before transferring to Oral Roberts after his redshirt freshman season. Denny has two years of eligibility left, but he has described himself as a Graduate Transfer, which means he likely is going to finish his college career in 2023.
The Summit League has some quality teams but it is usually a 1-bid league. Oral Roberts played a weekend series at Ole Miss, a home weekend series with Dallas Baptist, two midweek games apiece against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, and one game a piece with Texas A&M and TCU. In those 12 contests, Caleb hit .255 with 1 home run and 5 RBI with 16 strikeouts.
The Gamecocks could potentially add 1-2 more for the transfer portal depending on the draft. Stick with GamecockScoop for all the latest on South Carolina baseball, and follow us on the Insider's Forum to catch news and notes between articles.