How fast does a LHP really need to throw to play D1 or D3?

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August 5, 2009 9:14 PM

I just want to get a realistic idea of what schools I should be looking at as potential baseball teams right now. I'm a LHP rising junior (I still have time); I throw probably 82 MPH right now.

I have decent movement on my baseball and all, but I'm aware that velocity is the main determinant of where I'm fit to play baseball. I'm not really looking at huge D1 programs but rather the Ivy Leagues and some D3 schools; my academics come before athletics so I could never get involved in a big-time baseball program (plus, I wouldn't realistically have a chance).

Assuming I do not improve my velocity over the next year, is 82 MPH as a LHP adequate for D3 programs? What about Ivy League schools? My goal is to get up 4-5 MPH by the end of junior year; will this drastically increase my chances at getting attention from Ivy coaches? I would love to play ball for schools like Harvard, Princeton, and Dartmouth (and if I couldn't make it in for baseball, I'll likely try to get in just as a student).
 
 
 
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August 5, 2009 9:23 PM

87 to 88 will get you a look if you have good movement have a better than avg. off speed pitch. try to have your off speed 10 to 15 mph slower than your fast ball.
 
 
 
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August 5, 2009 9:55 PM

I disagree...a lefty throwing 82 as a rising junior, in my opinion, is definitely good enough for D3. I think (following normal growth) you would be up to the mid-high 80's by next year which is good enough for ivies. It depends on your body type also. If you're 6'3 160 then there's a lot of room for growth. If you're 5'9 190 and fully developed, there might not be much more velocity. Not knowing your body type though, I think 82 is still impressive for someone your age.
 
 
 
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August 5, 2009 10:06 PM

Not enough for a scholarship or athletic grant in aid. Ramp it up to 85 by working on your core and legs. Work with a reputable pitching coach to get the most out of your motion. What you do in the off season is crucial. There are no guarantees just because you are a leftie. I agree that you are fine now, but you need to work harder to get noticed.
 
 
 
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August 5, 2009 10:10 PM

Get up to about 98 and they'll love you for sure.
 
Last edited by hardnosedgamer55 August 5, 2009 10:10 PM
 
 
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August 5, 2009 10:10 PM

Thanks for the responses. Regarding my body type, I don't think I've filled out yet; I'm 6'0" 160 lbs right now.

Also, I'm not really looking for aid/scholarships; from what I've heard, Ivies don't offer athletic-based aid anyways. I would be more than happy just with the opportunity to play at a top academic school.
 
 
 
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August 5, 2009 10:32 PM

I've seen many low to mid 80's pitchers in my area get D1 scholarships in the Big Ten, OVC, MVC, as well as some others. Colleges do notice when you have the ability to get hitters out despite being below some made up threshold of velocity. There are MANY guys that throw less hard than you in D3 schools, but they are great pitchers/competitors! Work at gaining velocity, don't get me wrong throwing harder is great and makes the process much easier, do NOT give up just because you don't think you throw hard enough. If you can pitch, there is someplace you can play.
 
 
 
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August 5, 2009 10:34 PM

A LHP at 82 can get a D1 scholarship. That is what my son threw and he had interest from some top colleges and several offers or offers to attend their camps.
Our second choice which wasn't based on BB gave him a great offer without ever being seen other than DVD.
I listened to D1 for years before my son went and have heard several comments by announcers about soft tossers at big programs. I also know a few in MLB.
You should know by now if you can pitch.
 
 
 
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August 6, 2009 2:12 AM

Well it depends. If its straight it better be hard like 85 plus for d1 if it moves at least 75 for a d3.
 
 
 
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August 6, 2009 7:19 AM

Monstor,

If you have the desire to pitch in college, you will. Being a LHP has its distinct advantages and coaches drool over LHP pitching.

Good luck.
 
 
 
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August 6, 2009 7:55 AM

quote:
Originally posted by monstor344:
I throw probably 82 MPH right now.


Probably?

You may want to know EXACTLY what you are throwing. Not trying to sound harsh, but a lot of people "think" they are throwing harder than they really are.

It's a real slap in the face sometimes when you get a radar gun on you and you know for sure what your velocity is. Eek
 
 
 
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August 6, 2009 10:13 AM

monstor

you have a PM
 
 
 
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August 6, 2009 11:59 AM

quote:
Originally posted by RobV:
quote:
Originally posted by monstor344:
I throw probably 82 MPH right now.


Probably?

You may want to know EXACTLY what you are throwing. Not trying to sound harsh, but a lot of people "think" they are throwing harder than they really are.

It's a real slap in the face sometimes when you get a radar gun on you and you know for sure what your velocity is. Eek


Truer words have never been spoken. You'd be shocked at how inaccurate people's guesses at velocity are, even those with a good deal of experience.

When you hear from a 15U about how every kid they played in the summer threw in the mid-80s, it just isn't true. There just aren't that many. You'd really be surprised how few mid-80s kids there are in general. When my dad bought a stalker, a lot of people around here got humbled. We had gotten sick of kids claiming they threw close to 90 when many couldn't get past 75.
 
 
 
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August 6, 2009 12:35 PM

quote:
Originally posted by monstor344:
Assuming I do not improve my velocity over the next year, is 82 MPH as a LHP adequate for D3 programs? What about Ivy League schools? My goal is to get up 4-5 MPH by the end of junior year; will this drastically increase my chances at getting attention from Ivy coaches? I would love to play ball for schools like Harvard, Princeton, and Dartmouth (and if I couldn't make it in for baseball, I'll likely try to get in just as a student).


At D3 level, I have seen leftys that throw low 80's.............AND some that can bring it at the 90 level.....

A Lefty who can throw strikes is a desireable commodity.....
 
 
 
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August 6, 2009 2:40 PM

Monstor, I am going through this with my 17 year old son right now. A lefty that throws 81-83 and touches 85. All the D1 coaches tell him he needs to be around 85-87 and touch 88-89. I disagree!! When he throws 81-83 his ball moves and he gets guys out. when he over throws, the ball straightens out and he gets hit hard. My advice, keep getting guys out and take your chances. I'm telling my son to keep working hard and don't overthrow. I'd rather see outs and missed bats than velocity. Keep your head up and someday the coaches will figure it out.
 
 
 
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August 6, 2009 2:54 PM

If you are a "pitcher" with control you can pitch at any college level
 
 
 
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August 6, 2009 5:24 PM

.
Loved this on the subject of velocity from PG Staff in another thread

quote:
Pro Scouts are most interested in projection. DI schools are most interested in what you have NOW. They can't afford to wait 3 or 4 years for a player to develop. However, there are many programs that are better at developing talent than others. People should be more observant regarding the best schools for developing a player/pitcher.

While there might be some DI schools that show interest in mid 80s pitchers, this is the exception not the rule. There are thousands of high school pitchers who throw mid 80s. There are a couple hundred that throw 90. Typically the high 80s and 90+ guys create the very most recruiting interest. This holds true in every part of the country. Once most all of the high 80 to 90+ guys are gone, the mid 80s pitchers are considered, if there is still a need for pitching.

Not trying to burst any bubbles, just think the facts might help people understand a bit better and make better decisions. It doesn't mean mid 80s pitchers have no chance. It means they have to be extra special and show it consistently to the right people. That in itself can be very difficult.

Also, I'm referring to the upper tier of DI for the most part. And I'm not talking about what they throw on the TV radar gun. Many pitchers who have shown the ability to throw 90 or better, end up pitching 85 to 88. Not many, especially RHPs, are given a DI scholarship because they showed mid 80s velocity in high school.

All that said... Anything is possible! And kids throwing mid 80s as high school underclassmen will create some interest. Possibly, that is what brod means when referring to projection. You definitely have to project underclassmen. Most of them get better. The 2011 throwing mid 80s might be throwing 90+ by his senior year. It happens for some and not for many others!


I have a 6'6", 220lb, Mid 80's, LHP headed for high end DI after little to no post HS 4 year interest and an award winning JC career at a top JC....I would agree completely.

Cool 44
.
 
Last edited by observer44 August 6, 2009 5:25 PM
 
 
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August 6, 2009 9:15 PM

I'm listening to a AAA MiLB game on the web right now and the LHP for Nashville, Chris Cody, is throwing fastballs in the low 80's. He's considered a "control pitcher," according to the announcer.
 
Last edited by Liberty August 6, 2009 9:17 PM
 
 
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August 6, 2009 9:38 PM

.
Yep, they are out there, but as PG said "...this is the exception not the rule."

In our years of experience there are many DI programs who simply will not consider, and do not have to consider pitchers of moderate velocity as they get the pick of the liter.

But there also ARE some great DI programs who always have a mid 80's LHP or two on staff and put them to great use. One that immediately comes to mind is ASU. But at that velocity you have to be exceptional AND identify a program that appreciates such talent. We were told that you neeeded to own a swing and miss pitch or two (other than a fast ball) and be able to really control you spots, and be very tough mentally on the mound, and be a groundball picther and and be experienced, and on and on. In other words possible, but there is very little margin for error. Really have to own the craft.

Cool 44
.
 
Last edited by observer44 August 6, 2009 9:38 PM
 
 
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August 7, 2009 12:02 AM

I'd like to reiterate that I'm solely looking at Ivy League schools in terms of D1 baseball; I'm not very interested in the highly competitive D1 schools. Is it true that even at the Ivy level (which I take it is less competitive than top programs like ASU, UNC, etc) most pitchers will be throwing high 80s-low 90s?
 
 
 
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August 7, 2009 7:04 AM

Why ?
 
 
 
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August 7, 2009 8:23 AM

quote:
Originally posted by BobbleheadDoll:
Why ?

My first priority has and always will be academics. When I decide between colleges in a few years, I'll likely go with the one that presents the best academic opportunities regardless of if I'm actually being recruited to play baseball there, unless the schools I'm being recruited for are already amongst my top academic choices.
 
 
 
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August 7, 2009 8:43 AM

monstor

A few questions:

Have the schools on your list seen you pitch?
What team do you play for in the summer and fall?
where are you locazted in NY?
 
 
 
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August 7, 2009 10:37 AM

Monstor, over the last 4 months, 3 of the left handers who pitch on my summer team have committed to very large scholarships with Division 1 programs out here in California, so perhaps reading about each of them will give you an idea of what college coaches are looking for.

The first player to commit is a 2010 student, he'll be a senior this coming fall. He committed to a scholarship that can't get any larger with a private university that plays in the West Coast Conference (WCC). He is young, just turned 17, but he is 6'4" and 160 pounds. His fastball sits at 83-84, but has excellent sink and run. His #2 pitch is his changeup, which is very advanced for a high school player, in fact it is as good as many D1 players already, velo on it is about 72-73. His curveball sits around 68-70. What he does have is solid command of all his pitches, good movement on his FB and change, and a very projectible upside.

The 2nd lefthander to commit actually graduated prior to getting this offer. He was planning on attending a jr. college when he was seen by several D1 coaches in a couple of our games, and offers came in right away at that point. His fastball sits 86-87, and he'll touch 88 now and then. Good curveball and changeup. What he posses the most is command (you'll keep hearing that word here) His fastball has late movement. He's a very tough competitor with a bit of "red-***" in him, in a good sense. He's 6'2" and 175, another projectible body guy. He ended up with a very large scholarship to a WCC university, depsite being a very late sign.

The 3rd pitcher is a 2010 who just commmitted about 10 days ago to a Pac-10 school. His fastball sits at 84-85, and he occasionally will pop one as high as 88. His curveball sits around 66-68, his slider is 78-80 and his change is around 75 or so. What he does have, instead of velocity, is command of all his pitches. He's a strike thrower, a very aggresive pitcher who loves to come inside and get ahead in the count. His strikeouts to walks ratio is pretty consistent at around 5 or 6 Ks to each walk, and he averages about 1.5 Ks per inning. In other words, he misses a lot of bats. He's another guy with a very substantial scholarship. He recently turned 17, and goes 6'2" and 180.

None of these players have blazing fastballs, though the 2009 player has more velo than the other two. What all three have in common is an ability to pitch to both sides of the plate, as well as throw all of their pitches for strikes. In other words, they all know how to PITCH. All three also have learned how to compete, and don't take that lightly as it is very important. A lot of guys who can pitch a little don't know how to compete and don't go very far as a result.

They also have something else in common, and it is as important as anything to an aspiring college player --- they all have good grades in high school. If you don't take care of your academics, you can pretty much forget going straight to a D-anything school and will be looking at juco....or getting a real job.

Each of these boys, though they got different deals, received more than 70% of the total cost of attendance to very expensive schools where the degree is among the most respected of any university in the country. In the end, being a quality left handed PITCHER (as opposed to thrower) and a good student is what made the difference, to them, and to their parents finances.
 
Last edited by 06catcherdad August 7, 2009 10:41 AM
 
 
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August 7, 2009 11:03 AM

By the way, since you say that you're primarily interested in going to ivy league schools, I'll share this. One of my catchers will be a freshman this fall at Yale. He's been told by their baseball coach that he has the lowest GPA and SAT of any of their incoming freshman players. His GPA is a weighted 4.35 and he scored 1920 on the SAT with an ACT score of something like 33. He was also class president all four years at a private Jesuit High School, very active in service clubs,did community work, etc. and was the starting quarterback on the football team.

That'll give you an idea of where the bar is set for baseball players at Ivy League schools.
 
 
 
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August 7, 2009 11:31 AM

Monstor that really doesn't answer the question WHY. Do those schools offer a major you are interested in or do you think they offer something that other s don't.
There are hundreds of colleges that offer excellent undergrad studies at a much lower cost. Graduate studies are a totally different issue. That is where you should be very selective. That is where you select based on a discipline that you intend to follow.
I would suggest you,if you haven't already investigate a lot more before you buy the brand and wind up at a college where you might be very unhappy.
I have had several fiends go to Harvard and they are unusual and I don't just mean smart. One is there now. He is brilliant in medical research. They wooed him and actually pay him to attend. Another guy left after 1 year. He hated Harvard and it wasn't because of money or smarts. His Dad is a corporate Lawyer and Mother a college prof.
There are lots of top students who go to colleges for undergrad because they love the atmosphere and get just as good an education.
Both my son's roommates were 4.0 students all 4 years at college. The one is starting Law school at U South Carolina and had acceptances from every law school he applied to. The other is deciding what he wants after his fiancé graduate with her masters in MD.
Don't overate undergrad studies at the big brand schools. I went to one and the truth is it was no different than any other college. Yes they had a great med school, law school etc. It had several Rhodes Scholars and students from all over the world. My Profs were as weird as the next prof with Doctorates and world renowned bodies of work. The fact is the courses were the same as every other college.
 
 
 
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August 7, 2009 11:38 AM

06catcher
Based on the documentary I watch a few weeks ago, your son's coach is pulling his leg.
Every Ivy ,Yale included has what they refer to as athletic admits. Academic scores way below your son's. In fact their was a big effort to stop this but the colleges know they need jocks and some normal students to add diversity.
 
Last edited by BobbleheadDoll August 7, 2009 11:39 AM
 
 
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August 7, 2009 12:19 PM

quote:
Originally posted by 06catcherdad:
By the way, since you say that you're primarily interested in going to ivy league schools, I'll share this. One of my catchers will be a freshman this fall at Yale. He's been told by their baseball coach that he has the lowest GPA and SAT of any of their incoming freshman players. His GPA is a weighted 4.35 and he scored 1920 on the SAT with an ACT score of something like 33. He was also class president all four years at a private Jesuit High School, very active in service clubs,did community work, etc. and was the starting quarterback on the football team.

That'll give you an idea of where the bar is set for baseball players at Ivy League schools.
I know a kid playing baseball at Harvard and a kid playing at Penn who had 3.5's and 1300's (math & verbal). When Harvard won an NCAA D1 hockey championship, I doubt they did it with a bunch of high school valdedictorians. Check out the following site .... Ivy League Academic Index for Athletes
 
Last edited by RJM August 7, 2009 12:20 PM
 
 
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August 7, 2009 4:23 PM

RJM and Bobblehead, I'm only relaying what I was told. I have no way of verifying it. I do know that the reason this player was eventually signed by Yale was that the catcher they originally wanted had turned down one of the top Pac-10 programs to attend Yale, but wasn't accepted by admissions. This was a student who apparently had the grades to go to a top west coast private university, but couldn't get into Yale.

The catcher who plays for me was offered a roster spot, but only on the condition that they could get him admitted to school. He had to go through the admissions process before the baseball opportunity was formalized. Beyond that, I can't say what the situation might be.
 
 
 
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August 7, 2009 6:05 PM

quote:
Monstor that really doesn't answer the question WHY. Do those schools offer a major you are interested in or do you think they offer something that other s don't.

Perhaps not literally just Ivy D1 schools, but I want a school that offers me strong academic opportunities. I don't know exactly what I'd like to pursue as an adult but coming from a wealthy family with high ambitions, I have set high academic ambitions for myself as well. I understand that there are hundreds of great colleges in the US but just like the best baseball players want to go to the best D1 schools, as a strong student I want the best academic schools that will leave me with the best chances to succeed in life. I am not strapped for money so I am not looking for the strongest scholarship opportunities either. Believe me, I am not obsessed with school prestige; I have done a bit of research on colleges this summer in fact.

quote:

His GPA is a weighted 4.35 and he scored 1920 on the SAT with an ACT score of something like 33. He was also class president all four years at a private Jesuit High School, very active in service clubs,did community work, etc. and was the starting quarterback on the football team.

That'll give you an idea of where the bar is set for baseball players at Ivy League schools.


I've yet to take the SAT officially but based on my results from blue book practice tests, I'll be well-qualified for top schools, with or without baseball.

EDIT: Going by the AI chart my AI will probably be in the high 230s.
 
Last edited by monstor344 August 7, 2009 6:12 PM
 
 
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August 7, 2009 6:10 PM

quote:
monstor

A few questions:

Have the schools on your list seen you pitch?
What team do you play for in the summer and fall?
where are you locazted in NY?


MIT and Columbia have seen me once; none of the other schools have seen me.

I play for my high school in the summer and fall.

Sorry, but at the moment I feel slightly uncomfortable disclosing my location.
 
 
 
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August 7, 2009 6:11 PM

It seems to me that RJM's example doesn't contradict the assertion relayed by 06catcherdad. A weighted 4.35 can easily be a 3.5 unweighted. 1300 on two tests prorates to 1950 on 3 tests. And "1300s" probably means more than 1300, and thus likely well more than 1920.

Now for some very stale information. Forty years ago, I worked at Yale, and was privy to what it took to get admitted to Yale as an athlete. As I recall, possibly dimly, only football, hockey and basketball could expect to get sub-par students through admissions. At the time, hockey was seemingly bigger than basketball. (By the way, the #3 criterion was "alumni father or uncle.")

I suspect that, even now, non-revenue sports take in mostly band 3/4 players, so that the revenue sports can bring in the academic challenges.

I am still amused by the the following: Back in the dark ages, Yale computed a projected GPA for each incoming student, and distributed that along with the class list to each professor. I think the intention was to identify students who might need extra help. A professor I knew was stunned to find that he had a freshman student with a projected GPA of 0.0! Upon checking it turned out 0.0 really meant less than 1.8 (or 1.9; I don't remember exactly). Still this was an extraordinarily low projected GPA for an admitted student. The student made it barely through the first semester, and gave up all pretense of trying during the second semester. Then it was back to Canada and into pro hockey! Yale had a pretty good season that year......

But I don't think it happens in baseball.
 
 
 
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August 7, 2009 6:51 PM

Monstor

I can assure you that going to Yale or any other college will assure you of success. Once you get the door open it will be up to you and what you learned in college may or may not help you.

I also grew up in a wealthy family and it could have been the worst thing that could happen. I vowed never to spoil my kids. Everything is handed to you and you really don't have to think about or pay for anything. My connections did get me to places I might not have gotten to but I finally realized I didn't want what I was heading to. Fortunately I was able to land on my feet.
 
 
 
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August 7, 2009 7:09 PM

3Finger according to the documentary I watched BB also had a small share of academic admits. I was surprised at the large % of admissions set aside for athletes. It was as high as 30% at some ivy colleges.
I know several hockey players who attended Ivy's and graduated . 2 years ago the top NCAA D1 ladies hockey player was a friend of my son. Mitchel Haines at Cal Berkley (rowing) just graduated and is a close friend of my son. He has friends at some Major D1 schools in several sports. Most of them got big scholarships in tennis,basketball, rowing,track. I can tell you that several could not get into colleges without sports in the US. Schools like Cornell, Peperdine, Miami,Oklahoma,Boston,Harvard and many others.
 
Last edited by BobbleheadDoll August 7, 2009 7:10 PM
 
 
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August 7, 2009 9:26 PM

quote:
Originally posted by Liberty:
....the LHP for Nashville, Chris Cody, is throwing fastballs in the low 80's. He's considered a "control pitcher," according to the announcer.


I know and have watched Chris Cody. He attended Brewster "Bears" HS in NY and Manhattan College. Was drafted in the early rounds by my friend Bill Buck of the Tigers. Got traded and watched him pitch for the Brewers West Va Power, Brevard County, and with the Huntville Stars prior to Nashville. Cody is a proverbial soft and crafty throw to contact type. His arsenal includes late movement of his 83 mph fastball, a + deuce, and a big league change. He has command of pitches, throws strikes early in the count, hits his spots and should he continue to get AAA hitters out (as he did in AA, A+ & A ball), may get called up in Sept.

There are places in many colleges at any Division, for a LHP with the ability to throw quality and consistent strikes, and get hitters out.

This type of skill is NOT considered an exception by anyone who knows baseball, projects talent, leaves the radar gun in the car and watches a kid for "pitchability".
 
Last edited by Bear August 7, 2009 9:35 PM
 
 
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August 22, 2009 12:36 AM

Came back from my first showcase a few weeks ago; posting here just to respond to a few points:

1) I was somewhat weary about responding to posts asking if I was a pitcher or thrower because, well, I couldn't be sure until the showcase. After pitching at the showcase and receiving feedback from coaches I feel confident in saying that I am a left-handed PITCHER who throws for location. I am not an erratic gun-slinger.

2) With that said, my velocity prediction was spot-on.

3) I'm not really looking for athletic scholarships. Just the opportunity to play baseball at a strong academic school would be enough for me (plus, I'm aware that Ivy League schools do not offer athletic scholarships, only scholarships based on need).

Also, another question: are certain Ivy League schools considered stronger and thus more difficult to get recruited by? Or is the league well-balanced making each school as difficult to get recruited by as the others?
 
 
 
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August 22, 2009 4:15 PM

Monstor,

You can answer some of your questions with a little research. Go to the Ivy teams sites and go through their rosters. Make a little spreadsheet and list each player's secondary school baseball accomplishments. Look at the stats pages and figure out who the starters were.

I believe you will find that most of their starters had pretty high credentials.
 
 
 
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August 23, 2009 12:44 PM

quote:
Originally posted by monstor344:
my academics come before athletics so I could never get involved in a big-time baseball program (plus, I wouldn't realistically have a chance).

I would love to play ball for schools like Harvard, Princeton, and Dartmouth (and if I couldn't make it in for baseball, I'll likely try to get in just as a student).


I think that you have a very realistic approach to this whole thing, you have determined what is best for you, and there is nothing wrong with going to a specific program for academics first. Smile

OB44 and PG have done a nice job of replying to your post.
From a D1 standpoint, what I have seen, no top tier baseball program recruits LHP with less velocity than 90+, you will find a few LHP lower, but in most cases, they never become starters, and just used in situational matchups (lefty/lefty). That does not change even if someone is getting players out, the coaches from big schools want higher velo guys in their program, period.
But there are some very fine programs with great academic programs that can be as valuable as a Harvard, Princeton or Dartmough degree. What you need to do is contact coaches that you are interested in, that's always a good starting point.

Good luck.
 
 
 
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August 23, 2009 3:52 PM

Thanks for the response TPM. When you say a top tier baseball program, I assume you are speaking of Texas/LSU/ASU/etc? How much do Ivy League schools compare to that level of competition?

Also, I've never heard before that pitchers need 90+ velocity to get noticed by D1 programs, especially not LHPs. Are you sure that pertains to top academic schools with relatively high academic standards for their athletes? And what about "Group 4+" athletes, or athletes who are above an Ivy League school's average academic index?

Another thing; lots of responses have been targetted towards my interest in Ivy League schools. I am also, however, interested in a few top academic D3 programs, including MIT (possibly my top choice from an academic standpoint). Am I where I need to be for those schools?
 
Last edited by monstor344 August 23, 2009 3:54 PM
 
 
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August 23, 2009 5:26 PM

My son's college was playing Florida state a few years ago, The one LHP on FS was throwing 78 and they referred to him as a very successful pitcher. FS was ranked #1 that year.
Also there are lots of great relievers in college ball and not all want to be a starter.
Regardless of your velocity let the coaches tell you and do not rely on other people. Lots of D1 pitchers including RHPs do not throw 90+.
 
 
 
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