Before I invest in flights and registration costs, I’d love to get some insight into “what’s typical” for a RHP at camps like Showball and HF.

My son is a sophomore and has a 3.96 unweighted. He’s 6’3”, 190lbs. Throws in the mid-80s. And pitches in the WCAL in CA.

Is that enough to get interest? Or are there lots of kids with similar numbers?

We’re trying to decide if we should wait until next year, and get a bit more velocity and weight. 

Thank you for any thoughts you may have. 

Original Post

RHPINSF -- what's his goal?  Ivy?  Patriot League?  He'll get lots of looks with those stats -- especially if he can throw strikes.  I had a LHP WCAL pitcher with a 3.6 and he thew low-80s and got decent interest.  Can't say enough about HF.  

My son is also a RHP, not as tall as yours, similar velo, went to HF summer after soph year in 2018. 

HF is very well run and was a great experience for my kid. He got to talk directly with some coaches, got some good advice about the recruiting process from the HF folks. In my opinion, the expense was worth it.

BUT, if you are evaluating things strictly from a recruiting standpoint, you may want to wait until fall or next summer. Your son’s stats will get noticed. However, D1 coaches can’t talk recruiting with 2021s until after Sept 1. Based on my son’s experience, D1 coaches will not say more than “Good to meet you, but I can’t discuss recruiting with you yet. Keep in touch.” (Granted, if your kid is good enough and a coach wants him, there are plenty of ways around this. My son was not in that position, although he got some emails and texts from D1s at and after HF.) The D3 HA schools generally don’t recruit until summer after Jr year. Son met several coaches and had some good conversations.  IMO it can’t hurt to get on the radar even in a preliminary way, and son continues to correspond via email with several of these schools.  But for D3 schools (most of the colleges at HF), summer of 2020 will likely be more directly productive for your son. I think it comes down to your time and budget. It’s a significant expense. It’s also a chance to take a trip with your boy and spend some time together (although HF is not in a part of Long Island that I would choose to vacation in). Know what the return on your $$ is likely to be, then make your own evaluation. 


This is a great question.   MAM is exactly depends on your son's goals.  Before I invest in any airfare, hotels or anything I'd want my son to specifically identify the schools he's interested in.   I want a list in my hands, because this can go sideways quick if there is no plan in place.  

A schools division (D1, D2, D2, etc..) determines the school's recruiting timeline.   Many D1 schools are looking at sophomores.   If your son has any thoughts about playing D1 then he needs to be seen wherever D1 college coaches happen to be....academic or not.  The same can be said about D2, D3 or whatever and understand what their recruiting timeline is...typically  junior year.  Your son has to identify what schools he's interested in to make sure he is hitting the right timeline, make sure the coach is in attendance....this is how you pick the appropriate academic showcase and make a good investment in your resources.

As always, JMO.

Fenway has a lot more experience than I do, but one addendum I'd offer to his post:  Schools definitely tend to pick in order of NCAA divisions, but the most academically selective HA D1s seem to mostly wait until grades are in for a player's Junior year.  Sophomores absolutely can (and IMO should) get on the radar of these schools, but I wouldn't expect an offer until well into Jr year at earliest.  Take a look on the PG web site at commitments for the Ivies, Georgetown, Northwestern--they typically only have one to three 2020 commits listed at this point.  (Some HA D1s do have more--Fenway's advice to decide who you are targeting is spot on.) 

If my son had been throwing 90 mph as a sophomore, then his experience could have been very different (and every player's path seems to be unique in some respects), but when he was at HF the summer after his soph year, he got a few emails and texts from D1s, but they were versions of "we like what we saw, let us know how your Jr year goes."  There is value in that for sure, but I don't think many players get more than that at HF as rising juniors.  (Others posting here may tell you differently... I'm no expert.)

Thanks for all the great replies. It's my first go at this, so I really appreciate your baseball brain power. My son is using baseball as a way into the best college possible. He doesn't really care if it's D1,D2, or D3. He's interested in economics, so I'll have him create a list of his academic dream schools, and we'll target those first. Thanks again for all the great info.


Kind of amazing that a freshman already knows he wants to major in Economics. 

An academic dream list for econ should include Claremont McKenna IMHO but they don't attend HF, last I heard.  I recommend you try to get him into the NorCal World Series next year.  Stanford may be a good choice too.

Because of all your smart advice, we'd decided to register for Headfirst West 4 in Woodland this September. And Showball in Albany NY in Aug. And next summer, hit a couple more. I didn't know about NorCal World Series, that looks great too. Thanks for that lead. I'm not a baseball guy (I rowed in College and never played baseball.) 

JCG, I know it's nuts to be thinking about a field of interest at this age, but we've heard from admissions people that they aren't as interested in generalist. To build a "well rounded" freshman class, they look for students to be really good at, and interested in, one narrow area. My son has a sincere interest in business. But academia prefers the word "economics." Who knows if he'll stay interested in that field after graduation. And that's ok, I think.

Take a look at the Showball academic showcases, too.  Also very good, and a slightly different mix of HA schools (as well as a good deal of overlap).  My son has done both and both were very good.  I will note that Showball only has pitchers throw on Day 2, while HF has them pitch on both days.  For my son at HF, that meant 40+ pitches on Day 1, then another 80+ on Day 2.  Not ideal... 

Last edited by Chico Escuela

My info from 2009 era (tho I keep current on some lines of info).

As a rising junior at HF (and Stanford) my son was at least 6" shorter and 30 lbs lighter (tho a LHP), he sat 80-2, had a bit better grades 😉. I thought it really helped him when he went the following summer to the same camps with very improved velo. I think it gave the coaches a feel for his progression (and, by extension, his work ethic) baseball wise and physical maturity. Foe example, most kids are trying to be seen, but because he was already on the follow lists and had been introduced, he was greeted before the games began, and again after. Getting attention is hard when there are so many kids and so little time for recruiters, so if you got something to show as a rising junior (and your son has something to show), go.

So, I'd say, if you have the budget, go for it (your son, if he sits 85 for a series of pitches, will shoot up the lists of every Ivy). 

Economics is very much a viable major for athletes. Ivy (and other) economic majors have huge employment opportunities. Econ changed from my classes in the 70s; it's now heavily math, statistics, and data oriented. And, that's what these employers are seeking.

Now, is an econ major viable in the SEC because the time commitments are even greater, I have no clue.

I have yet to figure out the downside of leveraging baseball into a HA. If your skills in baseball are good enough, you'll be found.


Is your son a rising junior then? I think a HA showcase in the fall is a good move. HeadFirst is ideal for direct communication with coaches so depending on how comfortable your son feels talking them up, he may need some prep with that aspect :-). He should reach out via e-mail to coaches who will be in attendance.

I would also explore playing in the Junior Fall Classic in Arizona - it is highly scouted and given the timing (October), coaches could possibly get two looks within a couple of months. I have attached a list of schools that attended last year. You can apply for the All-Academic game try-outs without playing on a team (but try to do both): My son did these events last year so if you have any questions, please feel free to to PM me! He committed in February to a HA D1 school.


This is an incredibe amount of great information. Thank you all so much. I may have somehow implied he's a freshman. He's a sophmore now and will be a Junior this the fall. I'll be sure to look into the Junior Fall classic! 

OK...I'll push my luck a bit, and throw another one out there.

Does he really need to bother with travel anymore? He'd rather play on his HS summer team locally. Could these showcases be enough for a RHP to be seen by the right coaches? 

Or is that crazy talk

RHPinSF posted:

This is an incredibe amount of great information. Thank you all so much. I may have somehow implied he's a freshman. He's a sophmore now and will be a Junior this the fall. I'll be sure to look into the Junior Fall classic! 

OK...I'll push my luck a bit, and throw another one out there.

Does he really need to bother with travel anymore? He'd rather play on his HS summer team locally. Could these showcases be enough for a RHP to be seen by the right coaches? 

Or is that crazy talk

In my opinion, he should do both showcases and compete with the highest level travel team at this point. If a coach has interest from a showcase performance, they're going to want to see him play in a competitive game. Hopefully, his travel team coaches are also in a good position to help him make contact with college coaches. My son (2020) has played on a local summer team but that is only because we live in Phoenix and a lot of the major tournaments are held here. If we lived somewhere else, we would do travel ball - even after his verbal commitment.

On whether to play travel.

Not one size fits all. In general, a hitter should play. But a pitcher is treated differently.

I'd approach it from the perspective of "what does he need to do to get his skills to the highest level?"

Some kids need lessons and build their summer around that (we did); others need game situations and build their summer around that; some build their summers around college camps. 

But, no path inherently increases or decreases recruiting chances. There are lots of paths to exposure; the most important thing (for every kid) is building/improving skills - relentlessly working at it. Do that with results and you will be found on one of those exposure paths.



will also add my 2 cents as my 2017 LHP played on a very well known national travel team.  They did not have the same connections for the high academic schools he was looking at as they did for the P5 conferences, and the mid D1 schools.  We absolutely had to supplement with showcases and camps (did Stanford back in its old format) in order to be seen by the coaches of the schools he was interested in.  To this extent, depending upon your son's dream list, travel may or may not make sense.  If he wants to come to the east coast, he needs to be seen by those schools for example.  You need to look at where the high powered travel team will be and what coaches may be there.  In retrospect, while yes mine played against the best competition when he played for his high powered travel team, it was not all that helpful for recruiting purposes.

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