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2023 is about through the Jr Fall classic and I thought I'd document some observations if it is helpful to someone in future. 

1)  the 60 yard dash is, in fact, slow.  I know some kids that ran well but most, including my son,  were slower than typical.

2) This is definitely mostly a D1 recruiting event.  And I dont know if its COVID or what but there are much less coaches than what I expected.

3)  "AZFC academic team". 2023s team didnt go to event but he was offered by the Fall classic to play on their own academic team.  It was billed as a great opportunity as HA schools will follow the team as the kids all have GPAs above 3.75.   First game I was pumped.  At least 12 coaches for first 2 innings.  3rd inning they all left. Literally minutes after they leave, 2023 makes a diving catch at 3rd of an absolute laser.  Doubles off the guy at 3rd.  What was the deal? The pitcher who i thought was throwing mid 80s was actually 88-91.   No coaches at all at his next 2 games.   Worst part is the fall classic over sold spots on the roster.   There are over 20 kids!  2023 will get a total of 6 at bats in 4 games.   $80 per AB.  LOL.  Playing in the field 3 innings per game.   But i got some good video of him smoking a couple ropes for singles.

4) academic game tryout.  The few coaches there were all watching pitching. Literally no one watched the fielding portion.  Not what i expected at all.  Again maybe covid? They need to rake the infield more.  2023 was in next to last group, missed a backhand when it hit a clod or something.  Boom done.  Take a seat kid.  Hit alright. Hit two back to back line drives up middle at 89 each.  One mom exclaimed when the first smashed the L screen bar in front of the thrower.  I swear on my grandmas grave the evaluators were mostly chit chatting by that time.  They would go 8-10 kids at a time without watching a single swing or just a  one time glance.  One guy had his head down looking at papers of kids for 5 straight batters. Another actually said. "Oh good its time for lunch. " I wonder whether they had the 60 and infld scores by then and only paying attention to the kids with certain metrics.  This part was really unprofessional.  I almost said something like "these kids paid a lot of money and have a dream,  the least you can do is watch them." 

I hope this doesnt sound too bitter.  If you are the right kid I'm sure this is a great event.  But id say for 98% of the kids it wont matter.  2023 had fun in the dugout.  And he is realizing where he fits in college baseball so there was a silver lining.  Cheers.

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@RJM posted:

If it’s a D1 event coaches typically aren’t there to discover players. They’re there to watch players they’ve either seen before or players who came recommended by travel coaches with credibility. Once they see what they came for they move on.

Thanks buddy. It's certainly not billed as just a D1 event.  Doesnt change that the kid was flat out dirty and no one saw him. Son asked him for story after he saw the stuff.  Throws upto 88.  Coming back from a leg injury.  Im sure he wrote a bunch of coaches in advance.

Thanks for this really candid summary of this event.  I'm curious, did they stream this for coaches who couldn't be present?  I hope you will let us know if your son gets any contact that you didn't expect, based on who you saw there.

Did your travel coach contact D1s (or anyone else) beforehand?

I dont think the games were live streamed unless they put the premium teams on some special fields that i didnt see.  The academic game tryouts had a video purchase option where you agreed to make the video available to any school who wanted it.   Unfortunately i bought it so his slow 60 and missed backhand are preserved for posterity.  Son wrote 15 or so schools in advance.  He thinks about a third watched his video based on some activity tracker. 3 sent a text to travel coach.  Coach reportedly did contact a few other schools proactively.  Will definitely update if any contact comes from this.  Cant imagine it will.  Pretty meh academic tryout and no one saw him hit or field.   

I had a look at their website -  they did livestream the academic game, and it's up on Youtube, all 3.5 hours of it.  They don't seem to have posted the academic tryout, but maybe they provided video access.

The schools listed for the 2019 (pre-covid) fall junior classic were mostly D1 schools.  The senior classic had about 4 times as many, from all levels.  They list a huge number of schools for 2020 who, they say, were "in attendance or with virtual access." It would not surprise me if some coaches now choose to watch livestreams from home rather than going out there.

Thanks buddy. It's certainly not billed as just a D1 event.  Doesnt change that the kid was flat out dirty and no one saw him. Son asked him for story after he saw the stuff.  Throws upto 88.  Coming back from a leg injury.  Im sure he wrote a bunch of coaches in advance.

My son tore his MCL and PCL in his first post junior year travel game. He missed the entire summer. Before his injury he was expecting early summer D1 offers. With the help of his travel coach reporting his recovery to a couple of colleges he was on their hot list it all worked out. As a ‘23 your son still has his post junior summer to be seen. It should all work out for him.

An issue on the west coast is there are far more potential D1 players than roster opportunities. It makes the challenge of staying out west challenging. Add in he’s smaller and it’s an added challenge.

If I remember correctly your son is strong academically. There’s still time for mid major HA D1’s. For HA D3’s the game is just getting started.

From experience I learned injuries during the recruiting process can be unnerving. My son taught me you get what you want if you’re determined and don’t give up. Following his journey I’ve seen kids survive injuries in person and here on this site.

Your son should be fine. Good luck.

Last edited by RJM

I dont think the games were live streamed unless they put the premium teams on some special fields that i didnt see.  The academic game tryouts had a video purchase option where you agreed to make the video available to any school who wanted it.   Unfortunately i bought it so his slow 60 and missed backhand are preserved for posterity.  Son wrote 15 or so schools in advance.  He thinks about a third watched his video based on some activity tracker. 3 sent a text to travel coach.  Coach reportedly did contact a few other schools proactively.  Will definitely update if any contact comes from this.  Cant imagine it will.  Pretty meh academic tryout and no one saw him hit or field.   

This might mean nothing when you compare it to your overall experience, but don't sweat the 60.  EVERYONE is slower at the Fall Classic, jr. sr., soph, whatever. It's like geometric proof.  Terrible track for a 60.  It was that way in 2015 and, in the immortal words of David Byrne, it's the same as it ever was.

Sorry your experience was so rough, but really appreciate you sharing it.

The only reason to attend a showcase is to either get verified metrics for coaches to see or to be present for coaches that already know who you are and have you on a shortlist of guys to watch. These guys get paid to be there, they don't care about the dream, they care about guys who can help their program and the odds are that unless they already know about your kid, they won't, unless he has a tool that really really stands out or is a tall pitcher throwing hard.

It's nothing your kid did wrong, but the idea that coaches are going to watch every swing for hours on end would be inaccurate. They don't even watch every swing at their own practices.

My advice for pitchers - throw hard.

My advice for position players - find a travel team where the coach has connections to college programs. It's easier to listen to a trusted source than it is to sit at an event like this and hope somebody catches your eye.

It's nothing your kid did wrong, but the idea that coaches are going to watch every swing for hours on end would be inaccurate. They don't even watch every swing at their own practices.

My advice for pitchers - throw hard.

My advice for position players - find a travel team where the coach has connections to college programs. It's easier to listen to a trusted source than it is to sit at an event like this and hope somebody catches your eye.

Just an FYI, the AZFC academic tryout is a selection process for a game that a fair number of coaches (usually) attend.  The AZFC staff are supposed to be evaluating the players to whittle down from 150-200 to 20 pitchers and 30 or so position players who play eachother that night. They should be watching the kids as this is more a tryout than a showcase.  There are coaches there doing their own thing and they can watch or not of course.  Although I did somewhat observe the same experience last year. Pitchers were chosen purely on velo. Watched a kid get selected who was missing the 8x8 net behind home over another kid who threw 1/2mph slower but threw all strikes.  

From personal experience a coach from a HA D3 saw my LHP at the academic tryout last year and came to watch him pitch two days later.  Made contact later for more info.  So maybe not the D1s but there were coaches wandering around actively looking.

Last edited by LousyLefty

@Dadbelly2023, sorry about your underwhelming experience as a whole at the AZ Jr Fall Classic. My son did it last year and it was overall a decent experience for him. My son made the Academic team/game and performed well. The best part about it for him (opinion alert) was not just that he was one of 6 catchers out of 36 kids that tried out to make the squad but that there were several great catchers from TX - WA that were there that did not make the academic game. It was the first time my kid had played outside of our 3 state area here in the upper midwest. He definitely felt like he belonged with the better kids. My son has tracked it and he believes that of the catchers one kid committed to Stanford, another to Johns Hopkins, another to an Ivy, and a 4th to a D1 I cant recall right now. (my kid is still uncommitted at this time...has some options but had a pretty rocky spring summer from an injury standpoint)

It stunk that D1 coaches were not allowed to be present to recruit cuz my kid raked in the BP portion of the tryout (had heard that the year prior coaches were 3-5 deep all around the BP field) and was good enough in the defensive portion of the tryout to make the Academic Game. He played on the academic orphan team and honestly we did not expect much for recruiting from that team. We just did not want to fly 3 hours each way and not play for the weekend if he did not make the academic game. He was below average for himself on the team but it was pretty hard to get in much of a flow with the weird lineups and covid tourney rules. I (and my kid) thought that the coaching was excellent on the team and while he wished he had more ab's he did feel like he learned some things from the coaching staff and they gave him some great feedback via email post weekend. The head coach even volunteered to write to any coaches we were in contact with talking about his coaching thoughts on my kid. I think that it held some weight as the coaches both were (and probably still are) coaching in the Angels system.

Its all a grind and I wish you and DB son the best in this process.

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