Dalton Bargo Celebrates an XBH for Missouri Baseball // Photo via Mizzou Baseball Twitter
Missouri utility man Dalton Bargo committed to Tennessee baseball Thursday after spending one season in Columbia.
Bargo is playing his summer baseball in the Appalachian League and he made the short trek from upper East Tennessee to Knoxville for a visit before committing to Tony Vitello and his staff six days later.
The rising sophomore brings serious versatility to Knoxville. He is listed as a catcher on Missouri’s roster but most of his 45 starts as a freshman came as a designated hitter. Bargo has the ability to catch or play any of the corner infield or outfield spot.
“For me it doesn’t matter where I play as long as I play and am helping the team,” Bargo told RTI. “Since I was younger I’ve always played as many positions as anybody would let me so that just helps get my bat in the lineup.”
Bargo’s versatility is a definitive plus but his bat is why he was so sought after in the transfer portal. The left-handed bat hit .279 with five home runs, 14 extra-base hits and 23 RBIs in 165 at-bats as a freshman. Bargo also has a frame that will allow him to add more muscle and improve as a power hitter in the next two years.
“My bat,” Bargo said of his strengths on the field. “My approach at the plate and I’m starting to get a little more power.”
Bargo chose Tennessee over a top group which included Nebraska, Ole Miss and Texas. The Omaha native had plenty of friends in his ear trying to get him to play at the local school but his desire to stay in the SEC and his immediate rapport with the Vols’ coaching staff won out.
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The 6-foot-1, 199 pound transfer particularly hit it off with Tennessee associate head coach Josh Elander who coaches the Vols’ catchers.
“It just felt like the right fit with the coaching staff that they have,” Bargo said. “Talking to them it just seemed right. I really liked talking to the coaching staff, my time in Knoxville was awesome and it just felt right.”
Bargo’s freshman season at Missouri provided plenty of lessons about life in the SEC and the challenges the league presents. The Omaha native’s mental growth was as impactful and as physical growth during his first collegiate season.
“The biggest thing for me was hitting in the SEC is really hard,” Bargo said. “If you beat yourself up about one bad game or one bad at-bat then it’s going to go downhill very fast. I learned that the hard way and ended up getting out of it but that’s just the biggest thing. I feel like this year I just matured so much mentally because I feel like I’ve always had the tools. It’s just the mental side of the game is just huge.”
Learning that lesson the hard way included a one-of-29 stretch over nine games in the middle of SEC play. Bargo eventually got out of that slump and ended his season hitting 21-of-76 (.276) in SEC play outside of the poor stretch.
Bargo is Tennessee baseball’s sixth transfer commit this offseason and fourth potential infielder. Stay up to date with all Tennessee baseball transfer news with the RTI transfer portal tracker here.