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My question is is prompted by an evaluation we just got from coaches at a top D2 program -- one that regularly is a contender for championship of its very tough conference and also for the D2 regionals and world series. It sort of crystalized for me how he's seen.  I imagine there might be other players  in the same boat.  So a discussion would be nice. 


In one way, it  was a very strong evaluation.  They  rated the  kid excellent in all categories and said many encouraging things about his showing in front of them. But they also  gave him some things to work on.  The overall implicit message  seemed to be that the main thing he was lacking from their perspective is sufficient  muscle mass, basically.  They mentioned building up his arm and core strength a couple of different times at both the beginning and the end of the evaluation.


 Being a  pretty small guy, he gets this kind of thing a  lot.   Last year, for example, when the kid still  weighed a whopping 125 lbs,  a scout wrote on his evaluation  -- and this is almost an exact quote --   "love your speed and athleticism, but 125 is too small. GET BIGGER!!"   He worked really hard the past year to try and get bigger.  He managed to add 20 lbs of what seems mostly muscle, since he is still only 4% body fat.  So now he is a massive  145 lb specimen.  Not exactly intimidating. 


Which brings me to my question.   Since the main thing that seems to be holding him back is not his level of skill, but his   physical development/maturity -- well, besides the fact that his been spooked by a series of injuries, as you may recall,  but let's set that aside for the purposes of this conversation --  we're looking at avenues that will  put less of a  premium on his having to be an awesome  physical specimen from the moment he first steps on the field.    We're mostly focused on  D3 now. We have  gotten the sense from a couple of  conversations with  coaches at highly competitive D3, who consistently compete for championships, that they are more open to developing kids physically than the D2 and D1 coaches are.  One such coach compared the kid to his current starting CF, said he came in looking physically about like my son, with a very similar skill set,  but turned into much more of a physical specimen under their coaching and tutelage and is now one of the top D3 outfielders in the country.   He said he could see my son developing in the same way.  That was encouraging.   


The other real  possibility is a JuCo.  I've heard it said that JuCo option is a good option for kids with highly developed skills, but who need to develop physically, who might still want to keep D1 and/or D2 dreams alive.  The one JuCo coach we've had extended dealings with seemed to echo that sentiment pretty strongly, but I don't know first hand if it really  holds in general.  Does it? 


I'm not entirely sure, as a parent,  how to think about the choice between a D3 and a JuCo for a kid whose skills get rated very highly, but whose  main cited deficit is physical maturity. 


On the one hand,  it seems to me that if he can develop more  muscle mass, my son has gotten the consistent message that he does have  a very high upside.  Plus he does have a relentless hunger and an outstanding  work ethic. (of which several evaluators  have also taken notice)  And probably he won't always be so mass challenged.  That kind of  argues for giving the JC route a try and taking a shot at a big time D1 or D2 program once he  does fill out and physically mature.


On the other hand,  the parent in me  who sees beyond baseball and sees baseball as just a temporary thing in his life,  really  wants  him to have a true college experience,  with all the benefits that entails, without putting all of his eggs in the baseball basket. That seems to argue for the D3 route. 


Of course, it's ultimately his decision and his life.  I know that.  But I have to admit that in my secret heart  of hearts I've actually always  been pulling for the highly competitive D3 option.   He gets to play college baseball at what is still a very high level, even if not the highest.  He gets a great college experience.  And if he really does take off physically while playing competitive  college baseball at the D3 level and reach his full upside potential, who knows what can happen?  I know D3 would give him far less of a chance of playing beyond college, but I assume the chances wouldn't be completely non-existent -- although I have the impression  (which might be wrong) that's its mostly top notch D3 pitchers who get the chance to keep playing beyond college.


Anyway,  it seems like there's not really all that  much  downside and only upside to the highly competitive D3 route.  I do suspect  that playing  D3, even at the highest level,   pretty much closes off the possibility of eventually playing D1. (and that's what's getting in his way of really feeling completely comfortable with this option).  And that, I admit, is a loss.    But given his current physique, I think it was never all that likely anyway.  We pursued it, to the extent we did, because some schools seemed intrigued enough by his skills to give him a look over.  (Didn't work out.  Maybe if injuries hadn't gotten in the way, the skill might have overcome the bulk issue.   But who knows?  That's water under the bridge, in any case.)


What do you think?


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I get the sense you are beating your head against the wall.  Don't.  Help your son understand pros and cons and move forward with his choice.


I think you can have your cake and eat it too with D3 or JC.  Your son is not getting the offers he wants and eventually that is how these kids figure it out.  I think you got valuable feedback that is honest and real from that coach.   There is a reason for it, and I think that Coach is really trying to help.  First, I think you underestimate the feeling these kids get when they play college baseball at any level.   Once they get on the practice field or game field they don't care if it is D1, D2, D3, JC or D37.   It is all business.  They want to win, and they are playing college baseball.  Second, many kids get invaluable summer college baseball experience through various leagues across the country.  I went to a Cal Ripken Summer League All Star game in Betheseda, MD last summer with swampboy as his son was going to pitch.  These were high level college talents playing summer college baseball across DC, VA and MD.  The rosters were mostly D1, D3 and a few JC kids (including Cal Ripkens son).  Scouts were there, and it was great exposure and opportunity for everyone that took the field.  My point is two D3 kids started on the mound for each side in that all star game.  So, there is opportunity for guys to step up and don't underestimate an opportunity in summer college baseball as this is really where things happen for guys who don't get the exposure during the regular season.  JMO

Last edited by fenwaysouth

How can you state that we should put aside the fact that he has been hurt?  

That has just as much, if not more, to do with whats going on. And I agree that you are beating your head against the wall.


I don't mean to be rude, sluggerdad, but I think that you are way too involved/concerned in something that you can not change or control (his weight and  height).


The main object of recruiting (for everyone) is to use their skills to help to get admitted to college, and help to pay for their education, because in all probability, like most he will not play ball after college, whether it be D1,D2,D3, NAIA, JC

If it does happen, well I always tell people that I call it the icing on the cake.


There is NOTHING wrong with attending an excellent JUCO, but the only problem is that you have to make sure that it is where he will get the attention he needs to build his arm strength as well as muscle mass.


Its not what you want, but what your son feels will give him the best educational opportunity.  The way I see it, if these coaches felt that they could help turn him into the stud you would like him to be, there would be an offer to come join the team. Yes, I can tell you from experience that his injuries past and present are not good, unless of course his skill talent was so high that they overlook it (dont forget one HAS to declare all injuries when being recruited).

Why don't you all sit down as a family and discuss it, come out and ask him what he REALLY wants to do.  


I hope that you take this post for the purpose for which it is intended, to help you to understand whats going on to help your son make the decision that is right for him, not you.


Have you taken him to a doctor for the latest injury?

Last edited by TPM

He is not going to be a pro player, or likely D1, so find the best match for him academically and on that moves him closer to what he wants to do with his life and where he fits baseball wise. Do not underestimate the level of competition at the top D3's and JC's. From what it sounds he would likely not make the travel squad at my son's D3, and probably not at some of the JC's where his friends played, there is nothing wrong with this if he is in a program that has a S&C program that can get him to where he needs to be.  If it was me I would find a D3 where he could develop physically, and if he develops enough to eventually play, great, and if not he gets a good education and can move on with his life. There is a lot more to life than baseball, . (posting this on a baseball website is dangerous, but it is the truth)



A follow up to my earlier comments.  You asked about baseball I gave you my two cents.  However, my views on education are vastly different.  One of my typical questions is to ask a poster: "what is most important between baseball, academics and financial" can only choose one  There is no wrong answer but what is most important to you.  Depending on the answer that is what you go with


Again, from my viewpoint we send our kids to college to learn and give them the tools to earn a living.  Baseball can be one of those tools, but a more likely scenario is your son earns a degree, possibly plays some college baseball and gets a job or starts a business after school.  90% if college baseball players don't get drafted so that seems like a logicial progression.


If you believe in your "secret heart of hearts" (your words) that an education is the most important thing for your son's future and your grandkid's future .....tell him and discuss it in detail.  Your son has been fighting injuries.  Injuries happen all the time in college athletics..  My son was hurt his college junior year, and fought back hard to get back on the mound his senior year.  For whatever reason,  his Head Coach made that come back difficult despite my son being first team all conference his sophomore year.  Senior year, my son  demonstrated to everyone he could pitch competitivey again and help his team, but at the end of the day his coach was making that determination.  The one thing my son could count on was his engineering degree no matter what happened with his health or whatever coaching decisions were made.  The fact is you can't count on competitive baseball being there for a lifetime.   Again, injuries and other issues crop up in college baseball all the time.  Position your son for the short term but plan for the long term.  The best education possible is the long term.  JMO.

All of the above is great advice.  


I am not sure why so many people think that getting an opportunity to play at a big D1 program or professional ball is so easy. Even when you have the skills it is not.

If it were, then everyone would be doing it.


Choose the opportunity where he will get the best education and a degree that he is interested in and make a ice living.  THAT is the most important point in the recruiting process.



When someone uses the terms high skill but physically underdeveloped, I think of someone like Richie Pedroza.  I don't know his weight when he started at Fullerton, but as a senior he was listed as 5'6" and about 150lbs, and he might not have been either.

He also was probably the best baseball player at Fullerton during his last 2 seasons.

I use Pedroza to suggest that as with all of us parents,  their might be some rose colored glasses in how you are reading your son's evaluations. 

With that background, I don't think your answers are D3 vs JC.  The questions I think your son needs to answer including the following:

1.) How important is his education?

2.) How important is baseball?

3.) how does baseball rank with education? What opportunities do his current grades and SAT/ACT scores open educationally? What doors could baseball open to possibly enhance the educational opportunities?.

4.) Which coaches who have seen him "believe in what he can do" as contrasted with emphasizing what he cannot do? Nearly every player in HS who is not at the elite level is told to get bigger, stronger and more explosive.

5.) Of those coaches, what is their history in developing players during the time the player is with the program?  There are JC and D3 coaches who excel in developing players and their talents and skills as there are at every level of college baseball. There are JC and D3 coaches who don't, just like every level of college baseball.

6.) How capable is your son of working through adversity, slumps, injury and intense competition in the context of being away from home in a college environment and all that involves(classes, grades, parties, social life, early morning lifting, long practices, distractions of every type and new freedoms which challenge most every student.)

Of course I have never seen your son play. From everything you have posted in this site which I have read, my objective sense is that his physical size is not the only factor impacting his talent evaluations and college recruiting.  He has had a ton of exposure just since you joined this site.  When looked at objectively, that amount of exposure as contrasted with interest of the college coaches is probably the most accurate assessment of the level of talent, no matter what is on the paperwork.

Finally for your perspective, the next 4 years of college baseball and development are largely going to be determined by your son and how hard he is willing to work and sacrifice in a college environment.  You have to be willing to let go of what you want or what you see.  What will happen is what your son works to make happen on the field and in the classroom, with the one provision of making a solid choice at this point on what coaches believe in him and what those coaches have done with players in their program as the track record.

I hope some of these thoughts are helpful.  Certainly, there may be some some "tough love" tone but your son does not have a long time to make some very important decisions and judgments, based on being really candid with himself and his parents.

I remember talking to the dad of an ACC player when my son was in high school. He said every kid playing major conference baseball was all world in high school. They all believe they are pro prospects. Most of them are wrong. A lot of them don't even start in major conference ball and transfer



You and your family have some soul searching to do and it isn't easy boy do I know.


The most important thing to remember is your relationship and him getting a degree.

In the end the degree is what matters the most as we found as our son progressed though the job market, a  BA,BS is entry level for many jobs and they still want experience and or internship.


If your son has a passion to play pro ball it is tough to try and make them see how hard it can be, and to not compromise futures based on that. That is always a huge hurdle and never easy.




JuCo --- not sure what the rules are but where I'm  at they practice, scrimmage, workout and play games all the time..... so I think he could develop in  JuCo.   But if you are not ready to play, you will not play at JuCo... most of the  time I see the ones that are playing are D1 and D2 talent that maybe slipped through the cracks, or had grade issues trying  to get back to D1 , D2 or get drafted.


You could try JuCo and always transfer to D3.....   after one or two years.... JuCo class work is not as demanding as D3.... The D3's I know do not practice as much as JuCo due to school.


As others have said, whats first on the  list  baseball or school?  Good luck it will work out. Not the end of the world.

I think the overwhelming statement that is made on this site, is go where you are loved.  If multiple coaches told me that they loved my kid, but they constantly pointed out his lack of size and strength, I would be really concerned. At that point, I would be more concerned about son's future.  Therefore, D-3 and education would come first. 

in most cases, I think education should come first, and in the case of your son, I definitely think it should come first.  Too many things working against him.  First, the fact that very few make it, his injuries, his lack of size and physicality, etc.  Think education first, and hope for the other things to come along.  If they do, great!  If they don't, great too!  He will be in a good position for his future.

Reality check:


84% of American MLBers are selected in the top ten rounds of the draft.

94% of American MLBers are selected in the top twenty rounds of the draft.


Granted a player can grow and develop from senior year of high school and junior year of college. But if a player isn't even on D1 radar screens coming out of high school where does that place the odds at the moment? Does it shift the emphasis to education over baseball? If the player beats the odds in development there are collegiate summer ball leagues he can showcase himself against D1 talent.





Here is the perspective from a parent that had his son go the JUCO route. My guy was on the radar during HS, attending Yankee workouts in Tampa prior to his senior season opening in the Spring. He went on a Travel Ball Trip over Christmas and broke his femur. No senior year, and went undrafted even though he was still being seriously considered by the Orioles, he answered a question the wrong way (what would it take for you to sign).


At any rate, he went the JUCO route believing that once he proved he had overcome his injury he would get drafted the next season. That did not happen and he transferred to a second JUCO with better exposure. After hitting .457 he again went undrafted and was recruited to the University of Tampa where he played 2 years and had a great experience. He was drafted as a senior sign (aka no money) after UT.

He would have loved to play at the University Level for all 4 years in hindsight, he had a fair number of offers and actually decommitted to attend JUCO.


If your son is most likely to play colligate ball and then join the workforce, I would recommend going to the 4 year program that loves your son. He will likely have a wonderful college experience going that route. 

Originally Posted by SluggerDad:

Anyway,  it seems like there's not really all that  much  downside and only upside to the highly competitive D3 route.  I do suspect  that playing  D3, even at the highest level,   pretty much closes off the possibility of eventually playing D1. (and that's what's getting in his way of really feeling completely comfortable with this option).  And that, I admit, is a loss.    


What do you think?


SluggerDad, regarding the portion of your original post that I bolded, I would not say the possibility is closed - but, what I think might happen often is that top players at the D3 level just end up really liking the school, their team mates, the D3 experience and there is a sense of allegiance - therefore, no reason to pursue.  Believe me, if guys like Tim Wilson, Nick Fisher, Lubking or any number of guys from son's conference had put out feelers to transfer.....I would think this would hold true for many D3 conferences, talent-wise, certainly every conference in the West Region. We actually did lose a great player from my son's D3 team this year, who is transferring to play at a good D1 in Calif.  Although a bummer, everyone's celebrating his success, as its a great move personally for him on a number of fronts.

Last edited by like2rake

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