Christian Little.jpeg

Christian Little

Once the top-ranked right-handed pitcher in the country and a projected first-round MLB Draft pick, Christian Little is sure to have his pick of new teams in 2022 after entering the NCAA transfer portal on Thursday.

Robbie Weinstein of 247Sports first reported the news.

An early enrollee in 2021, Little was expected to be Vanderbilt’s next stud pitcher, following in the footsteps of Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter. He started 11 games his freshman year, compiling a 3-2 record with a 5.48 ERA and 49 strikeouts. Vanderbilt was 9-2 in games Little started that year.

The 6-foot-4 righty was relegated to more of a bullpen role this year as 15 of his 18 appearances came in relief. He seemed to work better out of the bullpen, lowering his ERA from 5.48 to 3.72, allowing 11 fewer hits and 17 fewer runs in just four fewer innings of work, even picking up three saves this season.

He threw the final two innings of Vanderbilt’s combined no hitter against Kentucky on April 22 and made two appearances during the Corvallis Regional. He threw three shutout innings in relief of Carter Holton in Vandy’s 3-2 loss to San Diego and he started the winner-take-all final game against Oregon State, allowing one run and two hits over three innings in VU’s 7-6 loss. 

In his two years in West End, Little had a 4-4 record with a 4.65 ERA and 95 strikeouts over 81.1 innings. A projected weekend starter for the Commodores next season, Little will likely land with a team that will give him that opportunity. He's also projected to be a first-round pick in the 2023 MLB Draft.

The No. 1-ranked player in Missouri, Little was the Gatorade Missouri Player of the Year in 2020, participating in the Perfect Game All-American Classic and was the organization’s No. 15 overall recruit in the class of 2021.

Vanderbilt's 2022-23 rotation projects to be led by Freshman All-Americans Carter Holton and Devin Futrell, plus Michael Doolin, Sam Hliboki, Bryce Cunningham and Patrick Reilly could all factor in at some point.

Follow Michael Gallagher on Twitter @MGsports_