Alabama baseball standout Colby Shelton enters transfer portal
By WVUA 23 Digital Reporter Sam Thornton
TUSCALOOSA-University of Alabama baseball has potentially lost one of the team’s most important returning players Wednesday evening.
Freshman All-American Colby Shelton entered the NCAA transfer portal, according to BamaOnLine’s Charlie Potter. The news broke a day after new head baseball coach Rob Vaughn was officially introduced to the program.
The third baseman exceeded expectations during his first year in Tuscaloosa, leading the team in home runs with 25. That tied him for third place on the Alabama single-season list.
Shelton further exposed his talent last weekend against Wake Forest in the Super Regional tournament, hitting two solo home runs in Sunday’s defeat against the Demon Deacons.
He also averaged .300 at the plate in the middle of the Tide lineup. He was one of the most eye-opening players in the country through spurts of the season, and his name in the transfer portal will make him one of the most pursued players to land on a roster.
Shelton’s diligence on the field was his most noticeable trait among the Crimson Tide staff. At just 18 years old, a record setting drive was installed the moment he arrived on campus.
“Beyond the performance aspect that everybody sees, we got to see how hard of a worker and how great of a teammate and just how great of a guy Colby is,” former Alabama first baseman Drew Williamson said. “That’s what produced the results and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.”
Shelton has three years of NCAA eligibility remaining and has earned the right to choose where he wants to end up next season. His teammates believe that he’s only scratched the surface of what his ceiling can be as a player.
“I wouldn’t have guessed that he would’ve hit 25 home runs, but if anyone was going to do it, it was going to be him,” Former Alabama short stop Jim Jarvis said. “He earned it, it wasn’t just a fluke year. He deserved everything that happened to him.”
The attention will quickly shift to a response from Vaughn, who prides his coaching ability on relationships with players. It was a surprise for many Alabama faithful that Shelton entered his name in the portal given the similarities between Vaughn and associate head coach Jason Jackson.
“We’re going to establish a culture we want. You’re going to have to establish that with players in the program that get better and are better as juniors than they are as freshman,” Vaughn said on Tuesday.
When Vaughn noted that the “Cabinet’s not bare” within the current Alabama roster, Shelton was certainly a prized object sitting on the shelf.
Officially losing Shelton would be a massive loss for an Alabama program seeking the ultimate goal of returning to the College World Series for the first time since 1999.