Tennessee baseball adds power arm through transfer portal

Texas A&M v Tennessee
Texas A&M v Tennessee / Eakin Howard/GettyImages

Tennessee baseball is losing a few arms from its bullpen and pitching rotation, so Tony Vitello and company went into the transfer portal to add the first arm to the pitching staff. 

Tennessee has had seven players announce their intention to transfer out of the program with the portal window closed on July 2. With the portal closed, no new players can enter it, but players can still finish their portal recruiting process and commit to a new program. 

Kennesaw State transfer Tanner Franklin announced his joining the Vols on Tuesday. The right-handed pitcher is the first player to transfer to Tennessee after the Vols' national championship run. 

"It's the best spot for me," Franklin told 247Sports. "I felt like God was telling me to go there. It's home at the end of the day. That's what led to the decision."

"I was looking for somewhere I can go and develop as a person, but also as a player, somewhere it's fun playing baseball," Franklin said. " When you watch Tennessee, they have fun every single day. It doesn't matter if it's a practice or a game, whatever it is. They're enjoying being out there and are after the same thing. That's something I was looking for."

Franklin is returning home as a Johnson City, Tennessee, native after pitching 27.1 innings and collecting a 4-1 record, five saves, 43 strikeouts, and a 5.60 ERA with the Owls. 

He brings some heat to the Tennessee pitching staff, where he will likely serve out of the bullpen. His fastball topped out at 99 MPH this past season, which is why Tennessee was interested in the young arm. 

Franklin said a big reason the staff was interested in him was his size and power on the mound. The 6-foot-5, 240-pound right-handed pitcher can throw heat and bring an intimidating presence to the mound. 

He comes to Rocky Top with two years of eligibility and joins JUCO RHP Thomas Crabtree as the first two commits to sign with Tennessee.