Should Tim Corbin take more transfers?

Vanderbilt baseball has made its name on homegrown talent. Hauling in top recruiting classes every year, the Commodores are known for developing that top talent and then sending those players off to MLB farm systems after three or four years.

But college baseball has changed. Teams like Texas A&M have overhauled their rosters with transfers, building super-experienced squads. Established stars like NC State’s Tommy White and Air Force’s Paul Skenes—and top draft prospects like Vanderbilt’s Christian Little—are now on the move.

After a year in which Vanderbilt finished with its worst SEC record in 13 years after relying heavily on underclassmen, especially in the rotation, there are questions about whether the Commodores’ old strategy can still work.

Obstacles to the transfer portal

Like with other elite academic schools, Vanderbilt faces some obstacles to taking transfers. Vanderbilt is notoriously hard to get into, even for athletes. When recruiting transfers, there are some players the Commodores will not be able to take from the start because they won’t be admitted.

Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin speaks with officials before the second game in a double-header against Wagner at Hawkins Field in Nashville, Tenn., Friday, March 11, 2022.

On top of that, Vanderbilt is stingy with which credits can transfer, meaning undergrad transfers often lose a large amount of progress toward their degree. These hurdles are due to the admissions office, and because of it, Vanderbilt and similar schools have often built strategies around avoiding transfers in roster-building.

Coach Tim Corbin’s system isn’t necessarily conducive to transfers. Corbin requires complete buy-in from players with some of his unorthodox methods, which include not having access to the locker rooms at the beginning of the season. It’s a very different system than the one run by most college coaches, and with his classroom sessions, a large part of his system is focused on development over multiple years as opposed to a one-year plug and play.

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