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. 

Top 5 Transfer Portal Teams

1. Oklahoma - 417.2 Pts

Watching “#1 Oklahoma” succeed shouldn’t be a new sight to see. But in terms of the ’23 transfer portal class, OU brought in some serious talent in valuable spots that will be a fun new addition to see play live.

Oklahoma acquired prized dominant pitcher Kelly Maxwell, from nearby OSU, who will immediately slot in to replace Jordy Bahl. She brings with her an aFIP of 1.759 and a the WCWS experience that Patty Gasso needs to keep the Sooners on top. Another quality addition comes in the form of former Liberty ace Karlie Keeney who pitched a staggering 261.2 innings in 2023 and a 2.61 ERA to go along with it. Payton Monticelli will be another option for Gasso. The former Wisconsin Badger will join Nicole May and Keeney as a third right handed arm to complete a balanced pitching staff. Monticelli had a 3.05 aFIP in 2023. While it is unclear who will be eating the bulk of the innings for the Sooners, Gasso now has the options in the circle to make a run for a 4th straight national championship.

Oklahoma also inked former Furman catcher Riley Ludlam to platoon with senior catcher Kenzie Hanson. Ludlum carried a 16.9 wRAA and provides some pop with 10 HRs and a .676 SLG%.

2. Nebraska - 357.0 Pts

When you sign arguably the best pitcher in the game, you are likely find your name towards the top of the CSE Transfer Portal Team Rankings. Jordy Bahl returns home to Nebraska in hopes of replicating her success in Norman, or at the very least, pushing the Huskers past their regional finishes each of the past two years. Bahl had an adjusted FIP of 1.06 this past season and will undoubtedly bring a presence that will be hard to overcome for opponents.

Coach Rhonda Revelle was also active in bringing Bahl a battery complement in the form of Peyton Cody, the former St. Johns catcher, who will form a solid platoon behind the plate with 2022 Big Ten Freshman of the year Ava Bredwell. Cody also brings with her 3.8 wRAA and 6 HRs to the lineup.

Former Purdue Boilermaker and another Nebraska native Bella Bacon comes in to fill a void at first base from the graduation of former 2x Big Ten all-defensive team infielder Mya Fender. Bacon hit .250 last year in 32 at-bats for Purdue.

3. Arkansas - 355.5 Pts

The Razorbacks were busy in the transfer portal aiming for stars in the circle and in the field. Former Southern Mississippi pitcher Morgan Leinstock becomes the frontrunner to lead Arkansas in innings this year completing 183 innings with an aFIP of 2.44 in 2023. She is no stranger to taking on the workload as she pitched 199 innings in 2022 and 107 innings in 2021. Coach Courtney Defiel was also able to snag freshman pitcher Reis Bererlein from Mississippi St. She pitched 76 innings for the Bulldogs working mostly in relief, but had a 3.00 aFIP and is now one of Deifel’s 6 pitchers that has pitched meaningful innings at her disposal.

Arkansas’ transfer portal success branched off into the position players as well as they signed two top five options at their positions. Former Auburn 1st Base Bri Ellis brings some pop to an already power-filled lineup that will now feature four players who have hit 18 or more home runs in a season including along with Ellis (20, 2022), Hannah Gammil (18, 2022), Cylie Halvorsen (19, 2021, 2022), and Rylin Hedgecock (21, 2023).

The Razorbacks rounded out their star filled class with former Iowa Hawkeye Nia Carter. Carter figures to slot in at the top of the lineup where she hit .479, had a .527 OBP and had a wRAA of 25.2 in 2023.

4. Florida Atlantic - 333.4 Pts

Coach Jordan Clark went for quantity in the 2023 transfer portal but was also able to get all very high quality players. Former Maryland pitcher Trinity Schlotterbeck is the highlight of the Owl’s transfer portal class. She brings an outstanding aFIP of 2.03 over 122.2 innings and can also hold her own at the plate bringing along 2.34 wRAA, .269 BA and 6 HRs from her 2023 campaign. Clark also snagged South Florida freshman Jaden Martinez who had an FIP of 3.35, but a 2.25 ERA over 59 innings of work. Both Martinez and Schlotterbeck bolster an already solid rotation comprised of junior returners Gabby Sacco and Ainsley Lamber. The Owl’s pitching staff led Conference-USA in ERA in 2023 and are primed to do so again.

Coach Clark also reached high for position players outfielder Presley Leebrick of Lipscomb, corner infielder Gabby Baylog of Virginia, and catcher Megan Moll from Missouri. Leebrick hit .336 with 4.59 wRAA while driving in 20 for the 2023 Bison. She also brings a defensive prowess in right field having only committed one error.  Baylog hit .241 with 4 HRs while playing first base for the Cavaliers and will bring 4.59 wRAA to the team. Moll hit .204 for the to go along with 3 HRs for the Tigers. Other contributing position players from the Owl’s transfer portal class are 3-year starter former Duke outfielder, Kamryn Jackson, former Troy catcher, Katelynn de Leon, and former Arkansas outfielder, Cally Kildow. All figure to strengthen an Owl lineup who ranked towards the middle of C-USA in most hitting categories.

5. Alabama - 291.8 Pts

The Tide rolls into the CSE Transfer Portal Rankings as the #5 team. The 2023 Alabama transfer class is led by Kayla Beaver, a Central Arkansas transfer, who ranks as the #2 CSE Transfer Portal pitcher with a 25-7 record, 194 Ks in 201.2 IP and an aFIP of 1.601. Coach Patrick Murphy immediately gets a replacement for CSE First Team All-American, Montana Fouts.

Alabama also added Alea Johnson, LSU transfer, to bolster the pitching staff. Johnson ended with am aFIP of 3.990, good enough for 39th in the CSE Transfer Portal Rankings. Offensively, the Tide signed outfielder Riley Valentine, a Texas A&M transfer who has three years of eligibility left. Valentine, the 23rd ranked outfielder on the CSE Transfer Portal Rankings, ended the 2023 campaign with a awRAA of 3.971, with 6 HRs.

Check back tomorrow (September 13th) for the 6-20 CSE Transfer Portal Team Rankings.