Standardizing College Statistics: Transfer Portal Evaluation

An attempt to standardize College Baseball statistics

If you have not read Part 1 of this series, check it out right here. This series is a deep dive into finding better ways to evaluate draft prospects across college baseball by standardizing statistics against their peers in a given year.


Standardizing College Statistics: Transfer Portal Evaluation


Let us start by recapping how significant the changes across college baseball have been over the last couple of seasons.

Yearly Averages in College Baseball

As we can see from the table above, there have been increases in every offensive category since the 2017-2018 seasons. The most significant increases have been in the power department. The average power hitter in 2018 slugged 0.394 with a 0.126 ISO. Those averages at the conclusion of the 2023 season are up to a 0.446 slugging percentage, and a 0.167 ISO. Those are significant changes. With the knowledge of these changes, we are able to use this information to not only better evaluate players each and every year, but also compare teams from different seasons, and factor in the conference they play in.


Comparing Teams from Different Seasons


The 2022 Tennessee Volunteers team was loaded. They finished the season 57-9 and spent the majority of the season ranked number one. Their lineup was one of the best in the BBCOR era. Check out their numbers:

2022 Tennessee Offense

Those are impressive numbers for an individual player, but this is the cumulation of the TEAM! Wild stuff. We have already analyzed that offensive production was up in 2022 compared to 2018, so let’s compare this offense to the top offense during the 2018 season.

’22 Tennessee vs. ’18 Tennessee Tech

Both these offenses have an argument to be made as the best in the BBCOR era with video game-like numbers. The major comparison point is in the power department. Tennessee ranked higher in slugging percentage, OPS, and significantly in isolated power. But based on the comparison of the run-scoring environment in the year they played in, Tennessee Tech was the better power-hitting team. The University of Tennessee team finished with 158 home runs and 156 doubles, while Tennessee Tech finished with 135 home runs and 141 doubles. Tech finished the season with 23 less home runs and 15 less doubles, but was the better team from a power production standpoint.


The Conference Difference


I assume most people looking at the comparison of Tennessee and Tennessee Tech are saying the same thing. “But Tennessee plays in the SEC, and Tennessee Tech plays in Ohio Valley, there is a difference.” There most definitely is a difference in talent, but there is no exact way to quantify that. But what we are able to do is compare the run-scoring environment of each conference to each other. Let’s look at the comparison of the SEC and the OVC.


The averages were calculated based on the 2023 conference-only stats. This allows us to better understand the run-scoring environment, specific to the conference a team plays in. Obviously, we know from the MLB that the ball flies differently at Coors Field than at sea level. So this allows us to group conferences in different areas of the country to understand the run-scoring environment.

As we can tell, the OVC is a much better environment for average by almost 9%, and slightly better in OBP, SLG, and OPS. But where there is a significant swing is in ISO. The SEC is a more power-friendly conference than the OVC. This makes what the Tennessee Tech team did in the power department even more impressive. The assumption could be made that they would be 9% better in ISO in the SEC than the OVC.

Understanding this, while also acknowledging that there is a major talent gap between the SEC and OVC is important. But as mentioned we are just analyzing the run-scoring environment a given team plays in and how that impacts performance. Those conference differences can be major when looking at the reality of the sport today with the Transfer Portal.


Transfer Portal Impact


Over the last couple seasons in college athletics, the transfer portal has revolutionized talent acquisition. If an underrated recruit goes to a small mid-major school and has a productive season, the sharks in the water immediately smell blood. The big programs do anything in their power to add those smaller school players to their roster. More times than not this means the smaller programs lose their top talent, leaving them reeling trying to replace high-caliber players.

With the transfer portal being a major component of talent acquisition, we can alleviate some of the guesswork of player evaluation. Imagine if we could take a player’s full season stats, factor in the conference they played in and the one they are moving to, and find out what they would have hit at their new home. Well, we can.

We will use a couple of the big-name transfers from this past offseason. We will specifically highlight Billy Amick (ACC to SEC), Braden Montgomery (PAC-12 to SEC), Payton Tolle (AAC to Big 12), and Wehiwa Aloy (WAC to SEC). Take a look at their full-season stats at their 2023 home.

2023 Full Season Stats


Billy Amick


We will start with Billy Amick who was one of the biggest transfers in the 2024 cycle. He was transferring from Clemson who currently resides in the ACC, to Tennessee who as previously mentioned is in the SEC.


As shown above, we could predict Amick’s SEC stats based on his production in the ACC. The SEC is a little bit less friendly in the AVG department, but more friendly across the board in OBP and SLG, and significantly more power-friendly. So far during the 2024 season, Amick has seen his power numbers jump massively with nine home runs through 18 games, after only hitting 13 all of last season. He has also seen his SLG jump to .877, and his ISO jump to a .508. A more friendly power environment has translated directly to Amick’s stats early in 2024.


Braden Montgomery


Let’s now look at Braden Montgomery, who transferred from Stanford in the Pac-12 to Texas A&M in the SEC.

Pac-12 vs. SEC

The largest difference between the SEC and the Pac-12 is in AVG, which directly impacts ISO. All of the other statistics are pretty close to similar, but the largest jump from the Pac-12 to the SEC is fewer singles and more extra-base hits. So far in 2024, Montgomery has taken a massive jump across the board offensively. As a former two-way talent at Stanford, just focusing on hitting could be the reason for that, but he is currently slashing .403/.543/.871. The jump in the AVG and OBP is significant, but we see a major jump in overall power production. Similarly to Amick, the talent of the Pac-12 is comparable to the SEC, so the production comes as no surprise, but the power increase is in part to the power-friendly SEC conference.


Mid Major to Power 5 Jump


The differences between the run-scoring environments in mid-major conferences compared to the Power Five is where it is going to be the most significant. There will always be a talent discrepancy, so it is not an exact comparison. Peyton Tolle and Wehiwa Aloy both transferred from mid-major programs to Power Five programs.


Payton Tolle


Tolle made the decision to transfer from Wichita State in the American Conference to TCU in the Big 12. Tolle is a dynamic two-way talent currently pitching on Friday nights and hitting fourth for the Horned Frogs. Check out how his stats would have changed from the American to the Big 12.

AAC vs. Big 12

The AAC is a slightly below-average environment for both AVG and OBP, but it is above average in power. Compared to the Big 12, which is a more offensive-friendly environment, he would have seen a consistent uptick in AVG, OBP, and SLG. The thing that was consistent was his ISO, which is identical in both leagues. So the Big 12 is no more power-friendly for offense than the AAC is. There is a talent gap between the two conferences, which would explain Tolle’s early ’24 season struggles. With necessary adjustments, he should be close to the same productive player that he was in the AAC.


Wehiwa Aloy


Aloy had a dynamic freshman season as the starting shortstop for Sacramento State on his way to a consensus Freshman All-American recognition. He was one of the most sought-after players in the portal. He settled on heading to Fayetteville, Arkansas to be a part of the Razorbacks team. Let’s check out how his stats would compare from the WAC to the SEC. The WAC was the only conference that did not have its 2023 stats, so we had to use the 2022 conference-only stats.


Keep in mind that because we are using 2022 WAC conference stats, not 2023, the weighted difference between SLG changes. So the .468 in ’22 is actually 4% better than the SEC .466 in 2023. With all that considered, we can see significant changes in Aloy’s stats. The SEC suppresses AVG a ton which would drop him 44 points. His OBP would also drop along with his SLG. But the big change is because the SEC is one of the most power-friendly environments, he would trade out some singles for extra-base hits, and his ISO would actually go up.

Aloy is a dynamic talent but has struggled in his transition to the SEC. As cannot be emphasized enough, there is a talent gap between the SEC and WAC that has to be considered. But there is also a difference in the run-scoring environment. It is a lot tougher to hit for AVG in the SEC, but there are more opportunities for power. Once Aloy adjusts to the level of competition, the numbers should increase and look more on par with his ’23 production.




In today’s college baseball, transfer portal evaluation is arguably the most important component to success. The ability to add through “free agency” is what sets teams up to compete at a high level. The reigning National Champion LSU Tigers added players like Tommy White and Paul Skeneswho were both massive pieces to their run. Being able to evaluate players based on their conference can revolutionize player evaluation.

It is the furthest thing from an exact science. As I have constantly highlighted throughout this conversation, there is a talent factor in every situation. The Power Five has a higher caliber of talent across the board. That would explain why Braden Montgomery and Billy Amick have succeeded in their first month at their new stop. They have both looked like developed versions of themselves and transferred from P5 to P5 programs. Payton Tolle and Wehiwa Aloy have struggled in their introduction to Power Five baseball. The quality of competition is the greatest cause for that.

Tolle and Aloy are too talented to not adjust. But being able to eliminate the guesswork of how their statline would translate to a different conference is another tool in player evaluation. We are now able to find out what a statline in the Pac-12 would look like in the SEC, and that completely changes evaluating players in the portal era.

Photos by Freepik | Featured Image by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter and @EthanMKaplanImages on Instagram)

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