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Thought this might be helpful to some...

2024 had a college visit on MLK Day at a D3 he is interested in both academically and athletically, and it was his first campus visit to any college.

He has communicated with several of the coaches, including the HC, and he and the RC/PC met with him and another 2024 from another state after the “group” academic visit. As it turned out, the two kids played against each other a couple of years ago and hit it off pretty well.

The HC and the RC/PC are in their late 20’s and played together at a D3 in the same conference as the school they are at now, and were both assistants at the same D1 programs (MAC and MVC), so these two are pretty tight. This is their first year at this school.

2024 is interested in smaller schools with strong academics for undergrad, and, being in the Midwest, there is no shortage of schools that fit the bill, with many being D3 and having large rosters. Some of the concerns that I share with others regarding D3 programs are roster bloat and JV were addressed by the coaches.

After the academic portion of the visit, 2024 headed off to visit with the coaches, and we told him we’d meet him later by the main athletics building where we parked. After about 20 minutes, he came out and told us that the coaches wanted to meet with us and the other kid’s parents. OK, figured we’d shake hands and spend a couple of minutes chatting, thank them, and then head out. Nope. We were there for about 45 minutes in a conference room, with the coaches sharing their vision for the program, asking a lot of questions, answering questions, and it was really great!

The energy and enthusiasm they had for baseball, coaching, and the school, was expected, but still very much appreciated. It was how they engaged with the boys that was impressive, relating their respective journeys to college ball (one had zero HS or club coach support), finding their way on the field and the work it took to stay there.

Regarding roster size and JV, the HC stated emphatically:

There is ONE team. They will all practice and train together and have the same coaching staff. Players will move up-and-down between Varsity and JV as needed -- comparing it to the MLB and minors.

The current roster of 60+ will be reduced by at least 25 players in the next 2-3 years via natural attrition and graduation (not going to cut anyone that is putting in the work).

They made it very clear that the school does not have a mandate as to the number of players the ball team must have. The school has a strong balance sheet and strong enrollment (near capacity), having no debt and a solid, growing endowment (learned this earlier in the day).

Program will play a true JV schedule of 25-30 games. Last year they played 26 games vs 16 teams, with 2 being rained out in the Florida trip (JV played 7 games). Schedule is posted on the website.

Head Strength & Conditioning coach at the school had the same role in the minors for a couple of MLB organizations for many years, and, importantly, knows how to work with pitchers. Said that the D1 they came from had a S&C coach who knew nothing about working with pitchers and that they were wary of him.

They did share with the boys that they were ahead of the game in terms of D3 recruiting, and appreciated their getting after it. While they are focused on 2023’s, they stated that they do look at all emails with videos if they are not 2023s, they are simply put into a folder to be revisited, but encouraged them to tweet or email updates or any good videos, just don’t expect a reply anytime soon.

All in all, a really great experience!

Last edited by CubsFanInSTL
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CubsFaninSTL,

This campus visit sounds like it was worth the time and effort, and your son got to speak to the decision makers which is very important.  This is great experience for the next schools on his list.   I can feel the optimism and promise in your post and I'm sure your son is excited about the possibility of going to school here.   

You were smart to ask questions about the JV program...that would still be a red-flag for me no matter what they say about it.   Recruiting is sales.   It isn't what you say it is what you do.

As a parent, I liked to ask my oldest son what he thought about the visit, tour, meeting immediately after.   I kept a journal with notes and comments.   Typically, he would be excited about the school and the prospect of going there.   Then, I'd ask 1-2 weeks later after some of the hype had worn off and he had some time to digest and analyze what was said by coaches, admissions, etc.   Giving the visit some time to "breathe" was key for me to understand where his mind was at.   I could always tell when he was truly excited about a school if he said the same positive and worthwhile things about the experience 1-2 weeks later.  In his case, it was more the exception than the rule.

JMO.  Best of luck!

Last edited by fenwaysouth

My simple thoughts, my son is not in the MLB or minors, there alternatives, any program that has more than 35  - 40 would be at the bottom of the list.




There was a poster here whose son matriculated at Cal Lutheran around the time they became a national champions in 2017.  At that time they had a JV program that sounded like it was BS (too many players recruited, very few games;  very few JV players making the leap to main team). This poster's son never made the "real" Cal Lu team.  But those who did became national champs.  If you're one of those @35 guys on the main roster, then selecting that school was a great call. If not, then not so much.  My point is if you're very confident that you're a dude or at least a top recruit at a school with a JV team, then go for it. The fact that they have a JV team has no bearing on you.  But if you're not, or if you're wrong about where you stand, it probably will not work out very well, baseball-wise.  Of course you can probably say that about any program at any level with or without JV.

I guess I'd only add, it all depends on what your son wants out of college baseball.  If he wants to be on the field playing on the main team and competing for national championships, then JV may be a red flag.  These days, the market for D1 dropdowns is booming at ambitious D3s.  If he wants an extracurricular and to be in a group with a bunch of guys who love baseball, then maybe it's fine.

I would wonder who the JV team is playing; 25-30 games is quite an expense, on top of the main team.

@JCG posted:

There was a poster here whose son matriculated at Cal Lutheran around the time they became a national champions in 2017.  At that time they had a JV program that sounded like it was BS (too many players recruited, very few games;  very few JV players making the leap to main team). This poster's son never made the "real" Cal Lu team.  But those who did became national champs.  If you're one of those @35 guys on the main roster, then selecting that school was a great call. If not, then not so much.  My point is if you're very confident that you're a dude or at least a top recruit at a school with a JV team, then go for it. The fact that they have a JV team has no bearing on you.  But if you're not, or if you're wrong about where you stand, it probably will not work out very well, baseball-wise.  Of course you can probably say that about any program at any level with or without JV.

KISS Method, if your goal is to be on a varsity roster and maybe play, better to know early and be cut than be strung along on a JV Team.

There are better options.

From a tuition perspective, JV team makes sense.

coach to player ratio

How many players in the locker room. lol

Glad you had a great experience.  This is sort of piling on other posters' skepticism and I apologize in advance.  This school may ultimately turn out to be a fantastic fit for your son.  But please continue to take heed with the interpretation of "coach speak" from others who have long since been down that road.

Love your enthusiasm and excitement and it does sound like there are many positives.  But, while the coaches spun it well, there ARE two teams and a huge roster.  That's already been well covered.  A few other things to note...

Two brand new coaches might just nail it and be great.  But odds are, once the honeymoon is over, this is likely to be short lived and there WILL be learning/growing pains for them the first few years.  It typically takes a few cylces for new coaches to figure out what they can and cannot do (administration/school/department hurdles).  It can be even more difficult if both primary coaches are new, let alone very young.

"One team ... same coaching staff."  60 guys coached by 3-4 coaches makes it very difficult to drill down to personal instruction/development.

"not going to cut anyone that is putting in the work"... most likely means that roster size will not shrink as much as stated.

"... just don't expect a reply any time soon."  is not something a coach would say to any player at any level if he is particularly high on the player.

Lastly, be aware that while there may not be a quota at this school, D3's/private schools greatly benefit financially from having large rosters of student athletes who are paying some or all of tuition fares.

Again, I could easily list more positives than red flags...  just trying to advance your awareness and knowledge as you go through these visits.

Best to the two of you as you navigate the path!

Last edited by cabbagedad

In this case or any other, if something you hear gives you pause, don't hesitate to seek out the observations of players and parents who have been associated with the program. In our  case, it was the head coach's assertion that if our son made the contribution they expected, they'd apply additional athletic money to his account as it was freed up in the future.

In this instance, the head coach went so far as to suggest that we contact several players he named who had benefitted over time in the way he was describing. Our son reached out to several of the players named, and we spoke with 2 or 3 of the parents; all of whom corroborated the coach's assertions. As it turned out, the coach was a man of his word...and then some.

"Trust, but verify."

Ronald Reagan by way of Suzanne Massie

Red Flag 1 - 60 players on a roster for a game that plays 10 at any time

Red Flag 2 - Even if there is a JV program - the fact that they're pushing and selling it so hard is a bit concerning.

Red Flag 3 - Two young coaches who just made a lateral move from D1 to D3 is typically not a good sign. If they were good they'd be moving up the ranks. If they were good and wanted more money they'd be taking a HC position at a lower level - not making lateral moves. If they were solid ACs you would think their reputation and connections would leverage them into another D1 position. Especially with all the titles available (Dir of BB Ops, Head of Player Personnel, etc)

Red Flag 4 - I don't know too many coaches who brought up university debt, balance sheets, endowment, or enrollment. And if the student tour guide brought it up - it's because they're reading from a script.

It's easy to get caught up in the glamour of it all. It's cool that schools may want your son to play there and it's very easy to get caught up in a conversation with somebody who has plenty of experience and does it for a living. It's hard to be objective when you're internally thinking this could be a great place for my kid.

Unless your son would be perfectly happy there without baseball I wouldn't be considering it. Don't forget at a school like this, odds are 60-75% of all students are athletes. It can be a lonely campus if you aren't part of their social scene.

Hey, gang, lots of great comments, keep them coming!

To be clear, coaches were not making a "big deal" out of the JV program. Simply stated how it was going to be run. JV programs have been a topic of discussion that many (ourselves included) have concerns about. It was good to hear it addressed directly and it was something they wanted to address as they themselves acknowledged it can be a red flag. Most D3 conferences don't have a limit on the number of players (this goes for some other divisions, too), and, as has been discussed in other posts, they don't necessarily know who is coming until they are on campus. The schedule was published, with results. Played D3, D2, NAIA, and JUCOs. The "varsity" also played a Big 10 school.

To be certain, playing JV isn't the goal, nor should it be, but as a freshman pitcher it may be hard to get innings, so it is better than sitting on the bench, which so many do in other programs. Playing 25-30 JV games is definitely an expense for the school, but isn't an issue. As for the question about the number of players moving up and down between varsity and JV, that will remain to be seen as this is their first year. The good news is that son is a junior, and there is plenty of time to see what actually happens at this and other programs. Big shout out to College Baseball Insights, program, too! Very helpful!! As for the comment the coaches made about not expecting a reply soon after contacting them -- they will be in their season pretty soon and are recruiting 2023s. Not getting a reply right away is pretty common, many previous posters have said the same. Too many parents and athletes think if they don't hear something right away that there isn't any interest, which isn't necessarily the case at all. Regarding this particular school, coaches actually called him the week HS started last fall. They are interested (for now, anyway).

As previously stated, this visit was for academic and athletic purposes, primarily academic. The financials were part of the academic visit where numerous families were in attendance for formal presentations. Fact is that a lot of colleges are struggling financially, both public and private (he's considering both). Knowing that a school is on good financial footing is important to us, and may be for others, too, as there is less likelihood that academic programs will be reduced or eliminated, and the same goes for athletics. The school has about 1,100 students. Recently, it raised over $115 million in a capital campaign, far exceeding the goal of $80 million. School just unveiled a newly constructed athletic training center this past fall and has revamped numerous buildings and dorms -- all paid for by donations. None of the financials came from the student tour guide, that would be odd indeed.

Hard to know what's in the minds of coaches when the make their moves. They both held various positions at D1's, and those programs were successful in their respective conferences. Maybe the new HC simply wanted to become a HC and build his resume a bit. One of my cousins coached minor league ball in the Appalachian League for the same MLB organization for 20 years. Had plenty of opportunities to move up the ladder, but was happy where he was at (he also played 15+ years in MLB and won a ring). His father was the winningest coach in the history of the Cape Cod League (since surpassed). He, too, had plenty of opportunities to move up the ranks, but did quite well for himself financially outside of baseball (which he never played professionally). He was still coaching high school ball at age 86 when he passed away a couple of years ago. He simply loved baseball and teaching the game.  Son's club and coaches are very well-connected, too.

About 40% of the student population at this school consists of athletes,

60+ players is indeed a lot. As stated, the coaches addressed this and are going to reduce the roster. They feel that a roster of that size is unwieldy and may actually be a hindrance in recruiting better talent. Also, as of today, there are two transfers in the program. One came in listed as a freshman and is now a sophomore, the other came in as a junior and is now a senior. I would suspect there will be more transfers going forward, but the academics will be a bit of a hurdle.

We don't get caught up in glamour too easily. Have a family full of athletes across many sports: MLB, A ball, AAA ball, NBA, D1, D2, D3, NAIA, National Teams, All-Americans (yes, even glorious D1). One played in a Final Four. I even played soccer in 4th grade (and was terrible).

Yes, son would be perfectly happy at the school without baseball. There are plenty of additional schools he's looking into, as well. His school is recruited very heavily for academics and has excellent outcomes. Playing a sport at a school that isn't an academic fit isn't going to happen in our family. 2024 also isn't caught up the various levels of play. He wants a great academic experience and education and to play some baseball and good time. Heck, he may choose not to play ball a year from now, and that's fine with us. Bottom line is that if he does play ball, there will be no transferring to another school just to play ball unless he wants to foot the bill himself.

Love the idea of a journal to record notes and thoughts! I think I read that in another post or two and am doing it. As for 2024, he enjoyed the day, then studied for exams on the trip home.

Last edited by CubsFanInSTL

I think that schools with very low acceptance rates, which are lucky to be able to bring in 8 players a year, don't have JV teams.  The ones with JV are those where they want to attract as many paying student-athletes as possible, or, as in the case in this thread, where they can enroll, for whatever reason, more kids who want to play baseball than they can fit onto one team.

Google "college jv baseball team", a lot come up.  Some seem to call it the "developmental team".  They are all over the country.

I found a D2 school that lists 45 players on its 2023 roster, almost all juco transfers, and also lists 64 players on a 2023 jv roster.  I guess it's good that 100 kids like baseball.

Last edited by anotherparent

Does this school play intercollegiate JV games?  My 2020 son talked with a lot of D3 schools and visited 6 or 8, none of them had JV teams.  I literally never heard any coach mention JV.

Is this a midwest phenomenon, maybe?  My son mostly looked in other regions.  (Nothing against the area--I went to a midwestern D3.)

Hopkins had a JV team around the 2010 time. There was nothing about it on their baseball website. I only knew it existed from a conversation with a travel player. His older brother had warned him if he’s doesn’t think he can start by soph year look elsewhere. He might get stuck on JV.

Last edited by RJM
@TravD posted:

Side note on roster size. A kid from my kids school is going to play football up north. Looked at the schools football roster on their website….. 206 kids! Crazy

Mount Union?

To the original poster, congrats.  Go to one of their games this spring.  Size your son up with the guys who are playing this spring and ask, am I (is he) good enough to beat out one of those guys?  My son and I were invited to a D3 practice and we watched them.  After practice, we both felt he was better than anyone on their roster.  That school won the D3 national championship a few years later.

If you add up all the JUCO's, NAIA's, D3's, D2's, and D1's, there are only so many guys who get to play.  That is what you are signing up for after high school regardless of where you go.  Whether guys are bouncing levels now does not change the musical chairs nature that only the best players get to play in college.  If a D1 guy bounces down to your roster, so what?  In college, if you want to play, you will have to beat one or more guys out that are as good as you or who are better.  If you like this school, then it is always going to be a competition thing regardless of the roster size.  If you are trying to get into MIT, or Johns Hopkins, or Cal Tech or something like that, you may be able to leverage baseball to get into a school that would otherwise deny admission.  Since you mentioned the Midwest, some of the most competitive D3 baseball schools exist right here - especially in Ohio.  Schools that routinely make regionals.  I believe Baldwin Wallace from our area made the D3 College World Series last year.

Last edited by ClevelandDad

Cubsfan,

I read and re-read your very thoughtful post. As a bit of background, our son was recruited by a very similar sounding HC a number of years back. He was in his second year and had strong and very clear visions of the program he intended to build. This is a HA D3!

That coach has been incredibly successful at the D3 level including winning a National Championship and taking teams to the D3 World Series multiple times. He has also been selected as the NCAA coach of the year-all divisions. When he recruited our son and a number of others, he was clear, direct, and mostly succinct in outlining his vision and how the recruit sitting with him was expected to contribute (assuming the player did all the work expected.) As a side note, after his MILB career ended, our son returned to the program as an assistant and recruiting coordinator before moving to assistant positions at the D1 level.

With that background, to my reading, there is one MAJOR element missing from your son’s visit and the coaches presentation: where does your son fit, where do they see and value him in their program and is he a building block/foundation for how they see their team developing?

From what is posted, it seems your son had face to face time with the HC and assistant. I am not reading that they expressed a vision of how and where your son fits and how they value his skills and talents in how they intend to build their program.

in essence, to my reading, this was a general recruiting presentation without substance specific to your son, at least to this point.

Last edited by infielddad

Son's friend who was a 2021 went to a D2 in FLA that has a JV. He was on the JV team in 2022. And I just checked the school website and they have their 2023 rosters published for the main team and JV. He's on the JV again in 2023.

Someone posted somewhere he once that if you go somewhere that has a JV and you end up on the JV, you were never really in their plans and you will probably never get off the JV.

Then again, I know lots of kids who went to schools without a JV and they got red shirted freshman year, rode the bench sophomore year, and would only play junior year if someone got hurt.

Going to play college baseball is one thing. Only 7% of HS kids do it. But, actually playing college baseball is another whole thing. It's probably like 1% or less of HS kids.

@JCG posted:

There was a poster here whose son matriculated at Cal Lutheran around the time they became a national champions in 2017.  At that time they had a JV program that sounded like it was BS (too many players recruited, very few games;  very few JV players making the leap to main team). This poster's son never made the "real" Cal Lu team.  But those who did became national champs.  If you're one of those @35 guys on the main roster, then selecting that school was a great call. If not, then not so much.  My point is if you're very confident that you're a dude or at least a top recruit at a school with a JV team, then go for it. The fact that they have a JV team has no bearing on you.  But if you're not, or if you're wrong about where you stand, it probably will not work out very well, baseball-wise.  Of course you can probably say that about any program at any level with or without JV.

I agree this is the right way to look at it at any school. If you're in the top 20 players, you'll get playing time. If you're not, it doesn't matter how many players are on the roster.

But if you're looking to pick a D3 school based on roster size, Caltech has 22 players on their 2023 roster. If you're admitted and want to play baseball, you're on the team.

One way to look at it, at least interesting to me, is to look at the number of games played by the college team.

Let's say it's 55 games last season.

Use 2.7 plate appearances for position players. Take the team games and multiple it by 2.7 and see what you get. In the case of 55 games, it's 150 plate appearances. Now look at the college roster and see how many players on the team had 150+ PA in those 55 games.

I bet you that it's around 8 player. Maybe 7? But also could be 9.

The point is, in college baseball, much like HS baseball and MLB, you have 9 starting offensive players and everyone else is there in case of an emergency.

The way college baseball rosters are constructed, it means around 9 position players are basically just cheerleaders riding the pine all year.

It's the same for pitchers. Most college teams only rely on 4 SP to be in their rotation. And there's maybe 4 or 5 main guys out of the pen. So, that means there's 8 or 9 pitchers who are there to maybe mop up in blowouts.

To echo what others are saying: Go somewhere where you have a reasonable shot at being one of those guys who actually play. Otherwise, you're just going to be a spectator and burning off your eligibility.

Last edited by Francis7
@Francis7 posted:

This was interesting to look back and I can see how many more D3s there are in the NE and Mid Atlantic area. I’m sure there are fewer JV programs there. Would love to have a list of schools to look at that are open and state a JV program rather than just rely on intuition of looking at a roster of 50 kids and assuming there is one.

@Francis7

Very few freshman are really ready to play on a daily basis at most college programs. That might include Juco, D1, D2, D3, perhaps even HA, NAIA.

Assuming that most college coaches are really good at recruiting players for their particular program, another would be that they are good at is preparing players to be an important part of the team, at some point in their career.

Tons of preparation goes into fitting the pieces of the puzzle together. In some programs it goes into preparing players that were draft prospects out of HS for the draft in 2 or 3 years. I watched a freshman pitcher throw 94 from the left side who will get innings as a reliever, probably be ready in 2024 or 2025 to be a starter.

Yes, a player should aim for a program that would be a good fit. Some want to get on by way of walk on opportunity. I know of one that did just that last year, after having a walk on RS freshman year, ended up throwing more pitches in relief than any other and made second team all SEC.

IMO, players should attend a program with a solid reputation of winning or preparing players for the next level whatever that may be.

Last edited by TPM
@Francis7 posted:

One way to look at it, at least interesting to me, is to look at the number of games played by the college team.

Let's say it's 55 games last season.

Use 2.7 plate appearances for position players. Take the team games and multiple it by 2.7 and see what you get. In the case of 55 games, it's 150 plate appearances. Now look at the college roster and see how many players on the team had 150+ PA in those 55 games.

I bet you that it's around 8 player. Maybe 7? But also could be 9.

The point is, in college baseball, much like HS baseball and MLB, you have 9 starting offensive players and everyone else is there in case of an emergency.

The way college baseball rosters are constructed, it means around 9 position players are basically just cheerleaders riding the pine all year.

It's the same for pitchers. Most college teams only rely on 4 SP to be in their rotation. And there's maybe 4 or 5 main guys out of the pen. So, that means there's 8 or 9 pitchers who are there to maybe mop up in blowouts.

To echo what others are saying: Go somewhere where you have a reasonable shot at being one of those guys who actually play. Otherwise, you're just going to be a spectator and burning off your eligibility.

With 1700 baseball programs 

22,100 get reps out of 62,000 which is less than 33%

13,600 position players

8,500 pitcher

FWIW, we know a 2020. Was on the HS team but a bench player. Smart kid with a great attitude. He would sprint to the foul line at the start of defensive innings to warm up the outfielders. Always had his uniform on perfect, never sloppy.

He "committed" to a D3 his senior year of HS.

He was on the roster as a freshman in 2021 and again last year as a sophomore. In 2 years he's played zero games and has zero at bats.

My guess is that he's on the team because he's a great teammate and has a solid GPA.  He's probably doing it because he likes being part of a college team.

The point of the story is that a D3 team will carry kids like him. Not sure that a D1 or D2 can carry too many like this.

Last edited by Francis7
@Francis7 posted:

That was a thread from 2016; here is his post in 2019, after his son had given up baseball:

https://community.hsbaseballwe...on-in-on-d-3-college

This was a west coast D3.

This was interesting to look back and I can see how many more D3s there are in the NE and Mid Atlantic area. I’m sure there are fewer JV programs there. Would love to have a list of schools to look at that are open and state a JV program rather than just rely on intuition of looking at a roster of 50 kids and assuming there is one.

If you google the school name along with jv baseball, you may find out.

@Francis7 posted:

FWIW, we know a 2020. Was on the HS team but a bench player. Smart kid with a great attitude. He would sprint to the foul line at the start of defensive innings to warm up the outfielders. Always had his uniform on perfect, never sloppy.

He "committed" to a D3 his senior year of HS.

He was on the roster as a freshman in 2021 and again last year as a sophomore. In 2 years he's played zero games and has zero at bats.

My guess is that he's on the team because he's a great teammate and has a solid GPA.  He's probably doing it because he likes being part of a college team.

The point of the story is that a D3 team will carry kids like him. Not sure that a D1 or D2 can carry too many like this.

Remember, there are no full scholarships, so you will definitely have this at D1 or D2 levels.

Stats will tell the story.

They help the APR.

@Francis7 posted:

The point is, in college baseball, much like HS baseball and MLB, you have 9 starting offensive players and everyone else is there in case of an emergency.

The way college baseball rosters are constructed, it means around 9 position players are basically just cheerleaders riding the pine all year.

It's the same for pitchers. Most college teams only rely on 4 SP to be in their rotation. And there's maybe 4 or 5 main guys out of the pen. So, that means there's 8 or 9 pitchers who are there to maybe mop up in blowouts.

To echo what others are saying: Go somewhere where you have a reasonable shot at being one of those guys who actually play. Otherwise, you're just going to be a spectator and burning off your eligibility.

I think you're just making assumptions here and you're off base.

Last year we had 15 position players appear in at least 25% of games and another 15 pitchers throw 15+ innings. There were mop up guys and there were guys with less than 10 ABs. Everybody has a role.

Yes the lions share of work goes to certain guys - but unless you're not traveling or not getting any work (less than 15 Abs, less than 10 innings), odds are you are somebody who has a pathway to success in the program if you're able to take the next step.

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