With all the departures via the transfer portal for NC State this offseason, the baseball team has added one player to their 2023 roster in the shape of Wichita State transfer Garrett Pennington. The right-handed Pennington began his career at DII Central Missouri where he earned All-American honors in 2022.
In his three seasons with the Mules, Pennington played first base, corner outfield, and filled in as the team’s designated hitter. He hit .377/.462/.680 across 343 plate appearances, notching 31 doubles and 17 home runs with a 7.9 BB% and 15.7 K%. He also wore 23 pitches and stole 10 bases. His 2022 season saw him hit .397/.477/.732 with 23 doubles, 11 home runs, with an 8.4 BB% and 14.0 K% while stealing 9 bases on his way to the All-American honors.
Pennington transferred to the Shockers for the 2023 season where he fared quite well as the team’s everyday first baseman. He hit .307/.372/.560 over 253 plate appearances with 12 doubles and 15 home runs to go along with a 5.5 BB% and 15.4 K%. He was also successful on 11 of 14 stolen base attempts and continued to do well at not getting out of the way of pitches, wearing 11 such offerings.
The 6’0, 205 pounder will fill a need at being, well, a guy who has a proven record of being able to play college baseball at a high level. The Wolfpack need that right now, what with the seven players who have already peaced out since season’s end via the transfer portal, the loss of a pair of senior outfielders, and the impending loss of at least one more player via the MLB Draft.
Defensively, Pennington posted a .988 fielding percentage this past year while manning first base for the Shockers, committing five errors in 418 chances. He had a .990 career fielding percentage with the Mules, committing just one error in 102 chances.
Obviously the step up to the ACC will be a challenge for Pennington, and his most glaring area of improvement will be in increasing his walk rate. He is a fly-ball hitter, though, and that will play up at the Doak, especially as a right-handed hitter. He has plenty of athleticism and some defensive flexibility, too, which should be a great help to the 2024 Pack9.
The 22-year-old is, of course, eligible for this year’s MLB Draft, so that could be a factor in him making it to Raleigh, although he projects right now as a late-round pick at best, so we should see him don the Wolfpack uniform next spring.