2023 CSE™ Softball Transfer Portal Team Rankings©

In the realm of collegiate softball, the recruitment and transfer of athletes play pivotal roles in shaping the competitive landscape of teams and conferences. With an increasing number of student-athletes transferring between institutions, it becomes imperative to establish an equitable ranking system that objectively assesses the impact of top transfers on the sport. By the count of CSE, 697 Division 1 softball players entered the transfer portal in hopes of finding a new home. At the writing of this article, a total of 390 players have come out of the transfer portal eager to take full advantage of the new opportunity that lies ahead of them.

CSE has aimed to identify the best players that have exited the transfer portal as well as assign a ranking to each school that landed a new player. This proprietary algorithm leverages a multifaceted approach that combines derived statistical metrics, player performance analysis, and player eligibility.


How are CSE’s Transfer Portal Class Rankings calculated?

Each player in the nation is ranked by awRAA (run creators) and aFIP (pitchers) from their 2023 performance. Those rankings are then used to give signed players a “recruiting rating” from 5-stars to 2-stars where the highest rated 5-star player is worth 100 points and the lowest rated 2-star player is worth close to zero points. These ratings are then boosted by the appropriate multiplier regarding their primary position and eligible years remaining.

CSE has adopted the theory that pitching performance should be weighted higher than run scoring thus receiving an additional factor of up to 2.5 times. A further bonus is applied if any player has more than one year of eligibility remaining.

These ratings are then summed for each university’s transfer portal class and arranged in descending order to determine team rankings. Bench players who did not meet a plate appearance or innings-pitched threshold were not given ratings and therefore did not contribute to their team’s total.

 It is imperative to understand that signing a higher number of players does not necessarily mean that their team ranking will also be higher. Each team’s athletes are placed in descending order of their rating on the Gaussian distribution. An athlete’s point contribution to their team is dependent on where they fall on the curve with a team’s best recruit garnering the most points. The average transfer portal recruiting class is 2 athletes with a standard deviation of 1.45, therefore, if a team signs two transfers, those two transfers are worth 100% of their rating value. One can then determine at which percentile the next whole numbers lie on the distribution to appropriately assign the percentage contribution for the 3rd, 4th, 5th…. 10th recruits. 

6-25 Transfer Portal Teams Rankings

6. South Carolina - 260.8 Pts

South Carolina signed former Stanford dominant pitcher, Alana Vawter, this past off-season to fill a huge need in the circle, in hopes of building on their Super Regional finish from 2023. Vawter will bring a dazzling 1.98 aFIP and 1.81 ERA across 190 innings of work, as well as valuable WCWS pitching experience. She immediately slots in as the ace for the Gamecock pitching staff who is also returning senior, Bailey Betenbaugh, and sophomore, Jori Heard.

Coach Beverly Smith also signed a plethora of solid position players. Former Auburn third baseman, Denver Bryant, figures to slot in at the hot corner bringing over a 6.8 wRAA, .319 BA and 5 HRs from her 2023 campaign for the Tigers. Another addition to the lineup is former Texas A&M Outfielder Bre Warren. Although 2023 was a down year for Warren, she has a track record of success as she hit .308 with a .476 SLG% and .411 OBP in 2021 as a freshman. Other signees who figure to make an impact are former North Carolina outfielder, Kianna Jones and former Arkansas infielder, Kiki Estrada.

7. UCLA - 256.0 Pts

UCLA only signed two out of the transfer portal but were both impact signees. The Bruins landed a difference maker arm in former San Diego pitcher, Jada Cecil. She immediately slots in as the Bruin ace after the departure of 2023 All-American and Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year, Megan Faraimo and former All-Pac-12 second teamer, Brooke Yanez. Cecil brings over a dazzling 2.12 aFIP, 1.97 ERA, and 171 strikeouts over 156 innings of work from her 2023 season.

Coach Kelly Inouye-Perez also signed former Washington outfielder, Jadelyn Allchin. Allchin hit .289 last year for the Huskies and had a wRAA of 5.94. She also brings some pop to already stacked lineup that led the Pac-12 in SLG% and was second in home runs. She hit six HRs and had a .589 SLG% in 2023.

8. Arizona State - 250.0 Pts

Arizona State brought in seven transfers from the 2023 class and is highlighted by former Utah Tech outfielder Tanya Windle and former Boise St. outfielder Kelsey Hall, the number four and number six ranked outfielders respectively in the CSE Transfer Portal Rankings. Windle hit an outstanding .432 with a resounding .505 OBP while hitting in the leadoff spot for the Trailblazers. She also was worth 25.95 runs above average for her team in 2023. Hall hit .385 with an eye popping .854 SLG% to go along with 11 HRs for the Broncos last year. She also was awarded the Mountain West Player of the Year. They should slot into the starting lineup to replace the production of All-American Third teamer Yannira Acuna.

Former Fresno State middle Alesia Denby will also wear the Sun Devil orange in 2024 after an exceptional year for the Bulldogs. Denby hit .314 to go along with 10 HRs and 19.78 wRAA in 2023 – good enough for the 5th ranking in the CSE Transfer Portal Rankings. Additionally, she awarded the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year. Others who figure to factor in to the mix are former Michigan corner infielder, Audrey LeClair, former Utah State catcher, Makenzie Macfarlane, former Houston corner infielder, Ayden Allen, and former Texas outfielder, Maddie Pomykalski.

9. Ole Miss - 241.1 Pts

The Ole Miss Rebels were busy this offseason signing five transfers in hopes to push past their regional finish from the past two seasons. Their class is highlighted by former Hawaii ace, Brianna Lopez, former Longwood star, Jaden Pone, and former Texas corner infielder, Courtney Day. Lopez, a Second Team All-Big West selection, shined with a 2.43 ERA in the 2023 season to go along with an aFIP of 2.99 over 167.1 innings. The left hander threw a no-hitter in April against San Diego and is primed to make an impact as the only left-handed pitcher on Coach Jamie Trachsel’s roster.

Pone, the Big South Player of the Year, brings dynamic speed to slot in at the top of the lineup. She stole 36 bases out of 41 chances in 2023 and hit .411 as the lead-off hitter for the Lancers. She accounted for 15.63 runs above average for her team and was top five in the country in triples (7). Day hit .308 for the Longhorns in 2023, and brings some additional power to the Rebels lineup, who ranked near the middle of the SEC in most power categories. She hit seven home-runs and will bring her .521 SLG% with her to Mississippi. Other signees that were brought in include former Illinois corner infielder, Delaney Rummell and former Syracuse middle infielder, Ryan Starr.

10. Georgia - 229.0 Pts

Georgia rounds out the Top 10 in the CSE Transfer Portal Team Rankings list with three outstanding signees, two of which are poised to help the Bulldogs make a push towards Oklahoma City. The first of their big signees is former Louisville catcher, Sarah Gordon. Gordon, an athlete beyond her years, had an outstanding first collegiate season, garnering numerous awards including the ACC Freshman of the Year. She hit .379 with 11 home-runs and a 19.67 wRAA in 2023. Gordon figures to platoon behind the plate with junior, Lyndi Rae Davis, and slot in at first or designated player when needed.

Lefty, Lilli Backes is heading over to Georgia from North Carolina as a complement to senior returners Madison Kerpics and Shelby Walters who pitched the majority of the innings for Georgia in 2023. Backes led the Tar Heels in the circle with 180.2 innings of work and held a 2.79 ERA and an aFIP of 3.06. During her sophomore year, Backes also earned an All-ACC Second Team selection. Rachel Gibson, the former Clemson pitcher, also figures to be a part of the mix for Coach Tony Baldwin’s 2024 squad.  

Rank School Points Signees
11 Louisiana 224.4 Brooke Ellestad (St Thomas - MIF) | Denali Loecker (Iowa - P) | Lexie Delbrey (Florida - P) | Sam Roe (Florida - C)
12 Houston 214.0 Shelby Smith (Seton Hall - P) | Mandy Esman (Michigan St - OF) | Lair Beautae (Tennessee - MIF) | Jazmyn Rollin (Arizona St - MIF) | Kennedy Thomas (Cal - C) | Zaquai Dumas (Michigan St - MIF) | Clare Ceynowa (Minnesota C) | Nicole Bodeux (Maryland - P) | Paris Lehman (Nicholls St - P) | Tamya Grant_Waiters (UT Arlington - P)
13 Texas A&M 211.2 Kennedy Powell (UCLA - OF) | Kylei Griffin (Louisiana - CIF) | Jazmine Hill (Arizona St - OF) | Brooke Vestal (Ole Miss - P) | Savannah Price (Arizona St - CIF) | Kramer Eschete (Louisiana - OF)
14 Fresno State 208.4 Lauren Almeida (Utah Tech - MIF) | Natalie Elias (Cal Baptist - OF) | D'Asha Saiki (Cal - CIF)
15 Florida 207.3 Korbe Otis (Louisville - OF) | Jocelyn Erickson (Oklahoma - CIF) | Brooke Barnard (Ole Miss - MIF)
16 Penn State 204.6 Mady Volpe (Coastal Carolina - P) | Haylie Brunson (Pitt - CIF) | (Gabrielle Garcia (SFA - C)
17 Michigan State 202.3 Kaelin Cash (St Joseph's - CIF) | Hannah Hawley (South Carolina - C) | Alexis Ross (FIU - OF) | Olivia Grey (Portland St - P) | Sierra Baldwin (NC A&T - C) | Star Ferguson (Texas A&M - OF) | Mik Anthony (SLCC - MIF)
18 Auburn 194.4 Anna Wohlers (DePaul - C) | Amelia Lech (Maryland - C)
19 Tennessee 184.8 Laura Mealer (Middle Tennessee - MIF) | Sophia Nugent (Oklahoma - C) | Cayden Baker (Georgia Tech - MIF)
20 Oklahoma State 177.0 Macy Graf (Mississippi St - MIF) | Caroline Hudson (Liberty - C) | Jil Poullard (McNeese - CIF)
21 South Florida 172.4 Bailey Drapola (Pitt - OF) | Maddie Snider (Missouri - OF) | Sam Mallinder (NIU - MIF) | Olivia Elliot (UCF - OF)
22 CSU - Northridge 165.4 Mackenzie Kila (East Carolina - CIF) | Mackenzie San Pedro (Cal Baptist - C) | Alexis Chavez (ULM - MIF) | Jadyn Nielsen (Hawaii - MIF)
23 Abilene Christian 163.1 Kaydee Bennett (TA&M-CC - MIF) | Angelina Russo (Ball St - P) | Skylar Padgett (North Dakota - MIF) | Emily Berryhill (SFA - OF)
24 Notre Dame 162.0 Alexis Laudenslager (Princeton - P)
25 North Carolina 161.0 Autumn Owen (Marshall - C) | Alex Coleman (Marshall - OF) | Britton Rogers (Georgia - P)

Check back tomorrow (September 14th) for the remainder of the CSE Transfer Portal Team Rankings.