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2022 has a great travel ball birthday.  He can go into next year playing 16u or 17u.  He has been offered a spot on what's usually a PG top 50 17u team.  Tryouts for his current organization don't take place for a week.  He's expecting he will be moved up and offered a spot on their top 16u team which would be a top 20.  He may be offered the second 16u team which would be top 50.  He wants to stay where he is at and wants the recognition of the top team but its not guaranteed.  

Both teams are well known with lots of connections to colleges and long lists of commits.  Both teams have good reputations for development.  The current team is a bigger academy type team.

Thoughts on which path to take. Is there an advantage to moving up to 17u?

Original Post

Has he committed yet?  What level do you think he falls in with college?  If not committed, where is he at in recruiting?  Those are the questions.  17U is more competitive but 16U has more recruiting except the WWBA's and other big events.  In today's world, there are a lot more 17s already committed than there used to be.  When you look at the big teams, most of the players have already committed.

Catcher, third, pitch.  Not committed and hasn't started recruiting since he's playing 15u this year.  I considered moving him up last year but he didn't start growing until about 18 months ago.  Now he is 6' 170.  I didn't think he could compete with the bigger boys last year but the growth and weight room has really helped him out.

I am not sure how being able to play down, below his graduation year, equals "a great travel ball birthday".  He is competing with his grad year for offers.  When he gets to college he will be competing with his grad year and the next couple of older grad years for a roster spot.  What is the point of playing against kids that will still be in HS when he goes to college?

PG is looking at going graduation year rather than age. They’re the experts in travel ball and college recruiting. Does this provide any insight to a decision? My only question to PG is, what took so long to consider this change?

At what level of college ball do you see him likely to play? This should have some bearing on where he plays next summer. Which teams gets him in front of the target programs? 

Last edited by RJM

I'm not more experienced and certainly not wiser, but my son is 14u 2023. He plays as much 2023, 15u, and even 16u as he can, but will jump in a 14u tournament for fun if there is good competition. The most recent one the tournament zeroed in on him and did a lot of Twitter and video stuff on him. He would not have had that had he been in the 15u or older division.

There was recent discussion about playing up or down here (there were other issues in that thread, too):

https://community.hsbaseballwe...higher-a-big-mistake

What is his target level of school?  If his current organization has had him playing down, presumably they project him as D3, JUCO, D2?  Have you asked them?  Those levels, along with D1s, recruit at 17U tournaments the summer before senior year, that means a 2022 needs to be playing 17U next summer.

Have you talked to his current travel coach, or the organization's recruiting director, about this?  If they are a big program, they should have a pretty good idea about where he needs to be to get seen.  Why have they had him playing down?   What does the new organization that wants him on the 17U team say about recruiting?

 

Agree with Smitty that if he wants to play in college he should play with his graduating class.   If you don't agree, I'd really like to hear your reasons.

My son played on an elite travel team since he was 14U.   Almost always, his 14U team would play up in national level 16U tournaments.   By the time they were actually 16U, they won the PG 16U WWBA in East Cobb and they were playing 18U teams the following week.   Bottom line is your son should align to his graduating class to get the most eyes on him at the right time.   Travel baseball (for end goal of recruiting) is about exposure and separating your talents on the field in your recruiting class.   His 16U team can  always play up to 18U, and 16U teams are going to have more recruiting eyes on them. 

As always, JMO.

Half the tournaments played this year were 16u.  Playing in a 16u tournament right now.  Played both the 15u WWBA and the 16u WWBA. Made it to the semi's last week in a 15u and will make bracket in this weeks 16u.

If he plays for the top 16u team, we know which players are already being looked at by Tennessee, Vandy, Georgia, etc. at 15u. They are also 2022 grads.  He will definitely get seen by top teams and coaches by virtue of playing with them.

If he goes to the 17u team, does he get those same looks?

@fenwaysouth posted:

Agree with Smitty that if he wants to play in college he should play with his graduating class.   If you don't agree, I'd really like to hear your reasons.

My son played on an elite travel team since he was 14U.   Almost always, his 14U team would play up in national level 16U tournaments.   By the time they were actually 16U, they won the PG 16U WWBA in East Cobb and they were playing 18U teams the following week.   Bottom line is your son should align to his graduating class to get the most eyes on him at the right time.   Travel baseball (for end goal of recruiting) is about exposure and separating your talents on the field in your recruiting class.   His 16U team can  always play up to 18U, and 16U teams are going to have more recruiting eyes on them. 

As always, JMO.

This is really important as us Dads think that playing up is better... but in recruiting it is better to stay with your graduating group. We found out the hard way as my son played up in a 17U PG event and all of the coaches were looking at specific kids to fill gaps in their current rosters and not looking for the next following year. 

@JETSR71 posted:

Half the tournaments played this year were 16u.  Playing in a 16u tournament right now.  Played both the 15u WWBA and the 16u WWBA. Made it to the semi's last week in a 15u and will make bracket in this weeks 16u.

If he plays for the top 16u team, we know which players are already being looked at by Tennessee, Vandy, Georgia, etc. at 15u. They are also 2022 grads.  He will definitely get seen by top teams and coaches by virtue of playing with them.

If he goes to the 17u team, does he get those same looks?

Do his metrics match up with what the schools you mentioned look for?

@JETSR71 posted:

If he plays for the top 16u team, we know which players are already being looked at by Tennessee, Vandy, Georgia, etc. at 15u. They are also 2022 grads.  He will definitely get seen by top teams and coaches by virtue of playing with them.

If he goes to the 17u team, does he get those same looks?

Is he a prospect for those teams? How many commits do those schools have right now from your son’s class, 2022?  In non COVID times, the schools above normally have quite a few by now and might be close to done, unless you are a late blooming stud. With COVID, I’m not sure. Coaches aren’t permitted to recruit in the normal ways right now. They also have a backlog of active rostered players. I would suggest checking PG college commits list. Compare the players on the list of said schools with your boy. How does he stack up? Does it look like there’s room for another player similar to the caliber of your kid? 

@JETSR71 posted:

Half the tournaments played this year were 16u.  Playing in a 16u tournament right now.  Played both the 15u WWBA and the 16u WWBA. Made it to the semi's last week in a 15u and will make bracket in this weeks 16u.

If he plays for the top 16u team, we know which players are already being looked at by Tennessee, Vandy, Georgia, etc. at 15u. They are also 2022 grads.  He will definitely get seen by top teams and coaches by virtue of playing with them.

If he goes to the 17u team, does he get those same looks?

I thought this was really strange; I did not know that kids play down, especially if they have high-level aspirations.  So I looked at the twelve 15U teams that played in the 16U WWBA this summer.  Almost all had at least two or three 2022s, some had more; almost none of those 2022s were committed, nor, on those particular teams (with two exceptions), were most of the 2023s.

I'd look at your organization's 16U teams from this summer, see how many of their 2021 players (i.e. playing down) are committed, compared to the 17U teams' 2021 players.  That may tell you something.

I also have a young 2022 that can play 15U. He plays his grad year (16U). Regardless of what level your son plays at, you'd have known it already if he was at the level of a Vandy, Tennessee, etc. Son's summer teammate committed to Tennessee as a 2023...last fall. Of course there are exceptions. Find someone you can trust to give an honest assessment of the level your son can play and take it from there. Just because your son was playing 15U this year, he's a 2022, he should have been contacting schools by now.

To the OP, it sounds like you have a number of good choices. Maybe the top 20 team would gain a lot more exposure than the top 50. Your situation too is different from my son's as your 2021 is on more of a showcase team (travel to tourneys, no league).

For my son, however, playing up was quite beneficial to him. He played on a 17U team as a rising 8th grader, and 19U a few years later. He was undersized, so the experience really helped him. I remember watching his throws from SS to 1st when he just started and telling him that his arm will get stronger and the field won't grow. I knew if he faced the faster pitching early, the exposure would help and he could hit any age.  After all, that's college. If you want to play as a freshman, you'll be facing pitchers 2-3 years older than you. While his team played in a league, he supplemented by going to showcases where many coaches attended.  These showcases too had a couple of recruiting classes.  It also gave him experience as to what to expect in "skills set" portions of the when it matters.  Again different set of circumstances.

For you, an awesome choice. You didn't mention, would his playing time differ on the two teams? Would he be playing the same (primary) position on each?

Last edited by Ripken Fan

If you want to play as a freshman, you'll be facing pitchers 2-3 years older than you.

A majority of college freshman arrive as boys. The returning players are men. My son was 6’1” 175 when he arrived at college. Eighteen months later (February soph year) he was 6’2” 195.

Last edited by RJM

Update, son had a great tryout. Offered the top 16u team.  He has worked hard the last 3 years to make the top team.  They will play in mostly 17u and 18u tournaments.

There are going to be 4 2022's on the team.  One was just featured in the PBR Futures game and is getting a lot of D1 looks, so are the others. So, he is "guaranteed" to have scouts at the games. 

He made his dream team, now it's up to him to earn a spot on the field and in the lineup.

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