What to know about Tennessee baseball roster 2025, transfer portal, draft for Tony Vitello

Tennessee baseball’s roster is undergoing significant changes following the program’s first national championship in its history.

Coach Tony Vitello and his team have a highly regarded draft class departing, a top recruiting class coming in, and several key players returning.

Here is what to know about Tennessee’s 2025 roster:

Nate Snead, Dean Curley highlight Tennessee baseball returners

Dean Curley is the most experienced batter returning after emerging as the starting shortstop as a freshman. He will be a centerpiece at either shortstop or third base as a draft-eligible sophomore. Nate Snead is the top returning pitcher and is expected to transition from reliever to starter. AJ Russell’s recovery from Tommy John surgery will significantly impact the pitching staff’s composition, as arm soreness limited him to only six appearances as a sophomore.

Pitchers Dylan Loy and Andrew Behnke appear ready to play significant roles in the pitching staff. Infielder Ariel Antigua is poised to gain more playing time. Tennessee will rely on catcher Cannon Peebles, outfielder Reese Chapman, utility player Dalton Bargo, and pitcher Marcus Phillips to step up and take on bigger roles.

Catcher Stone Lawless and infielder Blake Grimmer redshirted in 2024 but could make substantial contributions next season. The same goes for infielder Hunter High, who played sparingly as a freshman. The Vols have high expectations for Lawless’s future.

Which Tennessee Vols will be taken in the MLB Draft?

Tennessee could have its most impressive offensive draft class yet under Vitello, which is saying something.

Second baseman Christian Moore and third baseman Billy Amick could be first-round picks, similar to how Drew Gilbert and Jordan Beck went in the top-40 picks in 2022. Outfielder Dylan Dreiling and first baseman Blake Burke are also likely early picks. Outfielder Kavares Tears had a breakout season in 2024, and all five are expected to be top-100 picks.

Pitchers Drew Beam and AJ Causey are likely to be selected in the first few rounds, while Aaron Combs appears to be a draft pick candidate after his strong performance in the second half of the season.

Outfielder Hunter Ensley has hit his way into a potential pro opportunity after this season but could return to Tennessee as a plus defender in center field. Pitcher Zander Sechrist, who is out of eligibility, should be a pro prospect, as should catcher Cal Stark for his defensive abilities.

Who else is departing Tennessee baseball?

Kirby Connell is gone after five seasons as a mainstay of the staff. He is expected to join the coaching staff at UT if he does not pursue pro options. Chris Stamos is also done after one season with UT following his transfer from Cal.

Infielder Ethan Payne is out of eligibility. Catcher Charlie Taylor could return for one more season or move on.

What are Tennessee baseball’s transfer portal needs?

The Vols are turning over the middle of their lineup, with all five 20-homer players heading to pro ball. They will look to add power threats and top bats from the transfer portal, aiming for impact similar to Billy Amick’s after his transfer from Clemson.

Tennessee will also be seeking starting pitching in the portal, as most of their most-used arms and top starting options are departing. Nate Snead is the lone returner likely to profile as a starter, so the Vols will want to add more options to the staff who can start. Expect an emphasis on acquiring left-handed pitching options.

Who are the top incoming recruits for Tennessee baseball?

Tennessee has the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation, with nine top-100 players according to Perfect Game. This could make for a more interesting draft for the Vols from a recruiting class perspective than in previous years, as six prospects are ranked in the top 200 by MLB.com.

Right-handed pitchers Tegan Kuhns and Anson Siebert lead the way. Kuhns, a 6-foot-4 pitcher from Gettysburg Area in Pennsylvania, is ranked No. 96 by MLB.com. Siebert, a 6-foot-8 pitcher from Blue Valley Southwest in Kansas, is ranked No. 108.

A flurry of middle infield prospects are also highly ranked MLB Draft prospects: Basic (Nevada) shortstop Ty Southisene is No. 111, North Cobb (Georgia) shortstop/second baseman Jay Abernathy is No. 122, Westminster Christian (Florida) shortstop Manny Marin is No. 149, and Liberty North (Missouri) shortstop/third baseman Trey Snyder is No. 155.

Siebert and Marin are both two-year draft-eligible players if they come to Tennessee.

Catcher/first baseman Levi Clark from Marietta (Georgia) is another big-time prospect. Brayden Krenzel from Dublin (Ohio) and Tate Strickland from Powder Springs (Georgia) are solid right-handed pitching prospects.

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