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Hi.  I have a 2023 MIF/OF/P.  5ft 8in 145lb.  R/R.   He has always been a very good baseball player but I've come to the realization this year that he will have a hard road to D1 baseball.  He's probably close to done growing and doesn't have a big build.  I'm thinking he could gain 15 lbs max in the next 2 years.  Honestly,  academics comes first (computer sciences) and he would probably always select a better school rather than go somewhere just to say he's playing D1.  So his metrics are 7.0  60;  82 exit velo off tee (BBCOR); 80FB; 80 INF velo.   I know COVID will change recruiting but do you think it will normalize by the time he's a junior.  Can someone give me some suggestions on how he would go about getting D3 recruited?   Does he try to go to college specific camps?  Or are the headfirst/showball showcases good enough?  Thanks in advance.  

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My son just graduated from HS and is going to play D3.   At the beginning of his Junior year of HS we created a list of schools that he fit academically that were D1 and D3.  We, like you, pretty much knew his baseball future existed in D3 unless he pumped up the velo out of his left arm.  He was not interested in being a doctor, lawyer or engineer but when he struggled in AP Econ we decided to eliminate all liberal arts schools.  That really reduced his D3 options. 

What worked for him was his outreach to these D3 coaches during his Junior HS baseball season.  He started to get on the radar of some of these coaches.  He emailed again as the travel season started with his schedules and hoped the coaches would see him.  He emailed again regarding his headfirst date.  This all really worked as his top targets all got to see him play at some point last summer, some multiple times.  He got quite a bit of  D3 offers/interest post Head First last August but importantly got it from schools on his target list.   He was most excited about two schools and when one offered he immediately accepted and has not looked back.

Additionally his travel coaches last summer were very helpful. They called my sons two top choices and spoke to the coaches not only about his ability but his character.   My son played HS ball with a catcher who has a better academic profile than my son and is certainly good enough to play D3 baseball.  He didn't get one look.  He went to all the school camps last August/Sept/Oct without the coaches knowing who he was which really was not a great strategy.  He showed up at Amherst at an October camp and he said there were 20 catchers there.  How will they find your son if he's 1 of 20 and they don't know him?  My son went to the camp of the college he chose (at their request) and there were 100 kids there!  Do I think an LHP throwing 86 has D3 recruiting advantages over a Catcher or MIF/OF/RHP, I do, but I do think that an outreach program will play a major role in getting any legit D3 player serious looks.

Good luck. This was just our route/experience but I highly recommend reaching out and creating your opportunity.  

As Gunner says, every path is different.   In my 2017's case, he did no college camps, played on a Connie Mack team that got zero exposure, and attended very few recruiting events, which included the NorCal World Series, HF, and Stanford during his rising senior year.  That was more than enough.  In fact, if he had attended only the first event, he would have ended up at the same D3, or he had attended only HF, he would have had many good options.  Stanford was fine, but only one school of interest there recruited him, though the coach of his D3 was at Stanford unofficially, so it may have helped a bit.

I don't think my kid sent more than a few emails, but those were during Junior year and didn't generate much more than camp invites.  IMO emails help make sure targeted coaches take  a look at the kid at the showcase, but that's it.  I did put together a highlight video for him, and I believe that sending that helped solidify interest among the coaches who reached out to him after the showcases. 

As for camps, IMO they are fine to learn about a program and to get experience but they are not essential nor are they a reliable path to being recruited.

So my opinion is yes, HF and Showball are enough, assuming your kid has the skills required and shows up to play.

Of course grades are a very big deal if you're fishing in the high academic D3 pool, but I'm sure you know that.

And for your Covid question.... nobody knows what  things will look like in summer of 2022.  Hopefully they'll be more or less back to normal but who the heck knows.

Edit to add -- do a search of the site for the Arizona Fall Classic and the HA game there. Many folks here swear by both the Jr and Sr version of the event and there are some good threads.

Last edited by JCG

Agree that every path is different.  There are two big questions to ask about D3; these two things, plus athletic talent (of course) determine everything else:

- does your son want to stay fairly local, or is he willing/interested to go anywhere?

- are you focusing on High Academic schools with low acceptance rates where you need the baseball coach to support admissions, or are you looking at schools he could get into without support?

 If you plan to stay local, and you live in an area with lots of D3 schools, you can either go to their individual camps, or to local showcases like the state PBR.  Or have your high-school and summer coaches contact them.  We knew kids who did both.  If you're more interested in national options, then Headfirst/Showball make sense, the summer before senior year.  Take a look at the schools who attend those showcases, and see if they are the ones of interest.  As for what things will be like in 2022, who knows?  But fortunately, you've got time.

D3s recruit starting the summer after junior year, all through senior year.  "Getting on their radar" before that may not matter, because once they get to their recruiting window, they are looking for the best possible players, and it won't matter whether you were on their radar before that.  At least, that was our experience; my son got a lot of local D3 contact after a PBR showcase in late May (after junior year), realized he did not want to stay local so went to Headfirst and got HA offers from all over, he was definitely not on any of their radars before post-junior summer.

Having said all that, your son does have to play baseball in the summers if possible.  If he plays for the same team (or in the same organization) for a couple of years, he will have coaches who can give references and make contacts for him. 

I would say 80 FB velo is probably in the middle of the pack for freshmen that will end up playing college ball. I really wouldn't worry about it too much, he's young. Skip the showcasing and the expensive camps for now and let the priority be reps and playing time for the time being. Weight lift, train, and proper diet is always the name of the game. Even if he doesn't end up playing a sport anywhere, those are all things you want to learn when you're young, easier to avoid the beer gut than get rid of the beer gut. 

He's about 2 full years away from D3 recruiting - they really don't recruit before summer going into senior year. A lot of parents ask - how do I go about getting recruited. The first step is to be a baseball player coaches would want. Right now, nobody needs a 145 lb freshman throwing 78. He just needs time to grow and develop

There is no one right way to do this.  And COVID may make conventional wisdom wrong for at least the 2021s and maybe beyond...  If you haven't already, I encourage you to do some searches for prior threads on HSBaseballweb about HA D3s, and on Headfirst and Showball--there is a lot of great info on this site.

My son was HS class of 2020 and will be at an HA D3 this fall as a RHP.  We live in the southeast, but almost all the schools he was targeting were in the northeast and mid-Atlantic.  That meant weekend tournaments rarely got him any useful exposure--Headfirst and Showball were the keys for him.  And this site was the source of 99% of my info about the recruiting process.  

My son made a list of every school he'd seriously consider that was also a place he could realistically hope to play.  (So Ivies and few other D1s made the list, but not Stanford or Duke.)  He started emailing that list of 30 or 40 schools near the end of sophomore summer, once he had some independent metrics to share that were good enough to potentially attract some interest.  Those early messages mostly yielded camp invites and a few "thanks for your note, keep in touch" responses.  He probably didn't need to start emails until spring of his junior year.  On the other hand, the head coach of the college he will be attending kept up a fairly regular email correspondence with him starting with that initial round of messages, so you never know...  My advice is to go ahead and send emails once you have something worth sending.  You may not get a response after the first round, but keep emailing for a bit and see if you pique a coach's interest.  

The boy went to HF in August after his sophomore year and to Showball that fall.  Those were mainly for the experience of introducing himself to coaches and getting used to the format.  Those showcases did get the boy on some schools' radar, I suppose, but HA D3s don't really recruit until after junior year, when they can see six semesters of grades.  July after junior year son went to SB, and that was the camp that really seemed to matter.  He got some texts and calls before that, but after SB is things got serious.

Read the previous threads here about how to prepare for SB or HF.  If you don't lay the groundwork, they aren't likely to be very useful.  Your son also should take the SAT or ACT before those showcases--coaches will ask about scores.

My son did one school camp.  That turned out to be a lot of time and money without a good result.  But other folks here swear by school camps.  As I said, there is no one correct way to do this.

Cast a wide net with emails, and your son should talk with any school he would even potentially be willing to attend.  In my son's case, it seemed almost random which schools showed interest.  He would get serious attention from some places while others in the same conference never responded to multiple emails.  (He's a pitcher, so it wasn't about positional needs, and neither academics nor the quality of baseball at the respective schools seems to explain things either.)  My son talked or texted at various points with a lot of different schools (maybe 15+?), including a few D1s, but some of those coaches ghosted unpredictably, some disappeared for a while then came back.  It's a strange process, and you can't take anything for granted.  

This site is a great resource and the community is generous with time and advice.  Do your homework first by reading up on old threads, and you'll find people are very willing to answer specific questions.  Good luck to your son.

Last edited by Chico Escuela

Dadbelly, every word shared above is true. They describe different approaches but that's because  no two kids have the same recruiting journey.

I have two outfielder sons (college classes of '21, '23) who have gone the HA D3 route (after swinging at and missing 12-6 curveballs from all the Ivys), and a 2022 pitcher who is now developing a list of schools (not as high academic). He has already written his three top choices, including sending a short video. The coaches sent back nice generic notes: "We're gonna follow you. Let us know what events you'll be at."

While generic, it's valuable when they do that because you can then follow up with them a couple weeks before an event, hopefully with new video, and prepare for a face-to-face. If there is one step that is absolutely mandatory for D3 kids, it's that they introduce themselves via email/video to coaches a couple of weeks before any camp/showcase and then follow up with coaches at the event. There will easily be over a hundred kids at any SB/HF/Stanford showcase. The sobering, even panic-inducing reality of these events is that your kid is gonna look pretty much like everyone else. Unless he is the next Bryce Harper (hopefully with a better attitude) being "discovered" at these events is a crap shoot. So, the prior contact is critical.

 My oldest did Headfirst in fall of jr. year because I was afraid to wait til sr. summer to roll the dice.  HF was good because he got used to the showcase format PLUS the Ivy coaches he had written flat out told him that he was one of the guys they were checking out.  This was much earlier than D3's get serious and it's worth keeping in mind.

My 2019 tried the same route as 2017 but he HATED showcases. After figuring that out I got him to 5 college camps in the fall of his sr. year. He did great at four of the camps and got offers from three of those schools, plus three more offers that were kind of out of the blue.  Who knows where or how they saw him.

Takeaways: contact coaches ahead of events. Create a plan that plays to your son's strengths (camps vs. showcases? a combo?). Make getting stronger and faster a bigger priority than you might think they need to be.  Speed plays. Strength plays.  Super cool when they play together.  Pick schools that are good fits socially, academically, and athletically.

And the two biggest takeaways that I underestimated: how quickly time goes by and how little of this you, as a parent, actually have control over.

Upshot: stay grateful.


Regarding his recruiting and COVID, given his profile I would expect him to be recruited during the summer of 2022. COVID is having less impact on HA D3 recruiting than other groups, and I would hope that it won’t be an issue for him at that time.

Being as you’re in TX, is LeTourneau on his radar? Good school with a CompSci major and D3 baseball. Many D3 camps are inexpensive, and showing interest in the school early in the process goes a long way with many of those coaches. Most kids come to them after their D1 plans don't pan out.

DadBelly - All of the above advice is spot on and you are asking the right questions. For what it's worth, there was a 2019 IF/OF that was a teammate of my son's on a Fall Scout Team here in So Cal. Really good player, good bat, A+ in the field, great attitude...yet very undersized. Getting D1 attention was tough. He ended up at a D3 about an hour from his home and landed the starting shortstop spot as a freshman and was hitting +.300 before the COVID. I ran into his dad a couple of weeks back and he said that his son was doing great both academically and on the ball field. A tip of the cap to you for properly guiding your son and best of luck to him on his baseball/college recruiting journey.    

I want to add since it's rarely mentioned on these showcase threads:  Headfirst, Showball, Stanford, etc. cost around $1000 each, and that is without travel.  We went to only one; I was dubious about spending that much money, until I saw how well it worked for my son.  If your goal is national-level HA, it's definitely worth it, assuming your son shows well (and much more cost-effective than travelling cross-country for multiple camps), but I'd think cost has to be part of making the decision of whether you should do more than one, or do it before junior or senior year.  Given the cost, figuring out when the best time to go for your son is, whether schools of interest will be there, and what to do beforehand, is even more critical.  If you want to play close to home, then go to camps and showcases close to home. 

Last edited by anotherparent

Solid comments above. Total unknown with how Covid pans out.

Now: focus on strength and speed, and refining glove and especially bat. You as parent: help to find baseball specific strength style training, and some sort of speed coach. At 5'8 if he gets  to 160 with strength in the right areas he'll be fine. Decent glove with obvious bat and speed will be the difference maker.

Spring Junior year email campaign to the targeted  D3's that your son deem a fit. Also email few weeks prior to showcases. These HC's show up with a shopping list of players they want to see. The metric portion of the showcases are filters for the HC. Be prepared to light it up.

Educate yourself up on the pending financial commitment. The HA D3's have strong endowments and need based financial aid (anything less than 180K AGI "can" get aid).

Find a good ACT/SAT tutor to prep so he can have a score early Junior year. That will be a filter whether certain schools are realistic. With tutoring help 3-5 point gains are possible with the ACT. As a player it's more difficult to get into a JHopkins, MIT, or Amherst than an IVY. Ivy coaches have more flexibility. Look at the accepted student ACT scores, that will guide you. The HC's will be very specific that you need a 28, 30, or 33 to have a chance for admission even with their support.

Regardless of it being D3 or HA D3 or IVY...the coaches are still baseball guys looking for the best talent they can get. They hope that player has the academic chops.

My son hit a few camps summer of incoming junior year and the fall of junior year that prepared him for the following year showcases that would count for HA D3 opportunity's. But looking back, doing 1 or 2 camps prior to senior incoming summer would have sufficed. They can be expensive. Deploy the extra dollars toward your sons  development, training and tutors.

Good luck

Last edited by Gov

I want to add since it's rarely mentioned on these showcase threads:  Headfirst, Showball, Stanford, etc. cost around $1000 each, and that is without travel.  We went to only one; I was dubious about spending that much money, until I saw how well it worked for my son.  If your goal is national-level HA, it's definitely worth it, assuming your son shows well (and much more cost-effective than travelling cross-country for multiple camps), but I'd think cost has to be part of making the decision of whether you should do more than one, or do it before junior or senior year.  Given the cost, figuring out when the best time to go for your son is, whether schools of interest will be there, and what to do beforehand, is even more critical.  If you want to play close to home, then go to camps and showcases close to home. 

This is a good point.  One option is to do a local event or two as a junior in order to get comfortable with format without breaking the bank, then spring for HF and/or Showball during the summer before senior year.  If that propels the kid into a school with the kind of endowment and generous FF that Gov mentions, it's well worth the investment. 

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