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Reports: Baseball’s Malakhi Knight, Jack Holman enter the transfer portal

Junior designated hitter/first baseman Jack Holman swings at a pitch (left). Malakhi Knight takes his stride at Jackie Robinson Stadium (right). Both Holman and Knight entered the transfer portal Monday, D1 Baseball reported.(Left to right: Zimo Li/Daily Bruin, Jordan Guzman/Daily Bruin)

By Kai Dizon

June 5, 2024 3:34 p.m.

UCLA baseball juniors outfielder Malakhi Knight and designated hitter Jack Holman entered the transfer portal Monday, D1 Baseball reported.

Knight was the Bruins’ highest-ranked recruit to take the field since left-hander Justin Hooper in 2015. He was ranked as Perfect Game’s No. 26 prospect in the 2021 class and headlined a freshman crop named No. 1 in the country by Baseball America. Holman, on the other hand, was ranked No. 291 overall and the No. 3 catcher in California – a position he never appeared at with UCLA.

If Knight or Holman find a landing spot by July 2 – the portal’s closing date – it would make them the sixth and seventh players from that 2021 recruiting class to transfer out of Westwood.

Of those five, right-hander Thatcher Hurd and left-hander Gage Jump both started NCAA regional games for the reigning national champions, LSU. Fellow transfer outfielder Nick McLain remained in the Pac-12 and earned all-conference honors with Arizona State.

Knight, the former No. 1 ranked player from Washington, struggled to meet his pre-collegiate hype at UCLA, with injuries shortening both his freshman and sophomore campaigns. Across three seasons, Knight held an OPS of .685 across 355 plate appearances with the 6-foot-3, 200-pound outfielder posting an isolated power of .081.

Knight appeared in 25-of-33 games to start 2024 but played in just 7-of-19 to close out the campaign, coming on the other end of a platoon with left-handed hitting sophomore outfielder Payton Brennan. Across his final 38 plate appearances, the junior slashed .161/.316/.161 – failing to record an extra-base hit after March 30.

Holman started 51 games in his breakout sophomore year – posting a .856 OPS with a team-leading 13 home runs.

However, the power-hitting lefty started just 29 this season, where his OPS dipped to a career-worst .763 across 127 plate appearances – around half as many as Holman received in 2023.

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