I'm not sure you can paint all non-baseball scholarship players with such a broad brush. Yes, some may be slightly behind the scholarship players, but there could be other reasons too:
* They may have gotten on the recruiting school's radar late in the game -- after the school had already given out all its money.
* They may be very talented players with incredibly good grades and the coach decides to have them count as one of the 8 recruited walk-ons because they can get so much academic scholarship money for them.
* They may be diamonds-in-the-rough that need refining in one or two areas before they can contribute.
* They may be late bloomers who cannot necessarily make a contribution their freshman -- or even sophomore -- year, but will eventually bulk up and become impact players.
Remember, there are probably several players on each team who in the past may have been books-only or tiny-scholarshp players who now would receive no monies because of the 25% minimum. I know of one tiny-scholarship player who is headed to the Cape Cod league this summer.
I think a lot can depend on the college program. There are some programs that want to place all of their focus and energies on their impact and scholarship players and see recruited walk-ons as aforementioned "insurance players." There are other programs who place a huge emphasis on developing all of their players and are willing to be patient and wait for their younger players (on scholarship or not) to improve. I even know of one recruited walk-on who was the only player recruited for a certain position. There are a lot of variables to consider.
I agree with you in some respects, and a lot of it has to do with the coaching staff. That's why I would ask the question of how many other players will be walking on in the fall, the expected fall roster. There are many programs that will continue the practice of having large fall rosters, despite the new rules. There are many programs that will continue to begin the fall with 35 or less just as they always have done in the past and work to develop all players from the first day they set foot on the field. There are other programs where the staff will just take the best and let the others go after a long fall. Do your research and you won't get burned.
Beleive it or not, unless you were a pitcher, most $$ given out in the past has been very little for position players. We have a friend whose son was a top prospect, I think he only received 30% to play at his school and that offer was large for him Some may take that as an insult when offered but that's reality. I know of quite a few players who turned down offers at schools because it was small and were insulted and went with the larger offer, only to find out that sometimes that doesn't mean much. Taking the larger offer doesn't always make a great fit.
However, I still stand by the fact that it's important to play, and coaches will play the best 9. If the coach has two players with equal talent, the one he has given money to will most likely be the one found in more games, IMO. Coaches have to justify to their bosses use of the school's money or they could lose it. That's just how it works, some programs it matters, some it doesn't. Your chances of playing as a walk on (recruited or not) in big programs is very difficult.
Obviously, this is a fairly unique situation, but Robert Stock is one example of a player who was technically considered a recruited walk-on his freshman year but made a big contribution to his team.
Quoted from Baseball America article: "The Stocks were the ones who first broached the possibility of early enrollment with the USC coaching staff, and they were told the Trojans had no more scholarship money to give out. But the Stocks decided getting to school early was important enough that they would pay Robert's way his first year."