Looking for some advice. My son plays for a reputable travel organization and has been committed for a while. His primary position is MIF and that is what he was advised he is being recruited for but he’s also versatile and can play multiple positions. Anyway he was recently asked to play “up” with the older team because of his bat and ability to play multiple positions. The problem is the older team needs help in the outfield and while he can play outfield I’m worried about him losing reps at MIF where he was originally recruited for. Obviously he wants to be a team player and show he’s willing to put team first but I’m just wondering if a school would get cold on him if they aren’t seeing him at his usual position.
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Colleges recruit middle of the field players and corner field players. A middle infielder who gains experience in the outfield is just enhancing his profile.
My son was an all conference shortstop soph year in high school. Through age fifteen he played wherever the pitcher came from in travel. The 17u coach his post soph year recruited him as a infielder. He saw center as his best position and moved him. His first starting position in college was second after subbing in mostly in the outfield. Soph year he returned to see a high profile transfer at second. The coach told him, “You can hit and play anywhere. I’ll figure out where this fall.”
He was moved to the outfield. By the time he was done playing college ball he played everywhere but pitcher and catcher. His teammates nicknamed him Zo after Ben Zobrist.
Put it this way - there are more recruited for MIF than OF... If you have athletic skill, speed, and a desire to play OF - then that may get you on the field sooner. How many people say my son was recruited to play RF? Stop worrying and let him choose.
Recently had some dialogue on this with another HSSBW member as both our kids fall into the "versatile" category. It's a double edged sword if I've ever seen one. Assuming you're hitting, it'll help get you onto the field somewhere which is obviously a great thing. But it can mean you get shut out of a position/s because your peers are hitting but aren't as versatile as you are.
My son looks to be going through this right now. Is taking reps at SS this fall along with 2 other guys. According to my son, his defense at SS has been as good or better than the other 2 thus far. But the 2 other guys are infielders only. My son is a "INF/OF" and at this point, it looks like LF and CF are more likely than SS. To be clear, my son has no issues whatsoever in playing where he's needed, but he is one of those kids who wants to play SS most. And that's where he's played 90% of his life at in little league, high school and travel ball, so it's not simply that he WANTS it; he's very capable. He's going the Juco route and our feelings are that playing SS would be a bigger plus to his recruiting push to a 4-year than say, LF. Easier to get eyes on you at SS. I'm sure it'll all work out fine, but sometimes being versatile feels like a recipe to play a spot simply because others aren't as versatile.
The ability to play Outfield, and I mean actually know how to play the position, has really helped my son in his first fall season in college. The versatility is way more important.
The next level requires "quicker" reflex. Do you realize the ground ball speed off a metal bat from a 19 year old hitter and a 15 year old hitter?
When I tested SS I use the "range" work with a 37" SSK fungo. Left, right, right left, one hop, 5 hops. then double play with the 2b.
Play where you can learn the game and improve your quickness. When we traveled Internationally I selected 4 shortstops and moved one to CF, one to 2b and one to 3b.
What is versatility in high school, can be necessity in college. If your son is going to crack the college lineup as an underclassmen (especially post-Covid), it may be necessary that he learn to play outfield. Many college coaches will put future MIF in the outfield to see if they can hit. Those that can hit well may be given an opportunity to win a MIF position. Those that don't hit won't be given that MIF opportunity. My oldest son's college coach did this to all his future SSs. Your son will be competing against established men. Any opportunity to win playing time at the next level is a good thing regardless of where you play in the field.