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Just wondering how common it is for players to find a summer league team through using their own connections versus relying on the college coach.
For whatever reason, the coach might not get the player on a team, or maybe not on a team which meets the players goals and expectations.
Is it reasonable for the player to ask around and try to secure a spot?  What are the odds of getting on a decent team this way? I know there are a lot of new pay-to play leagues, but I'm thinking more of the traditional leagues.  How are things different this year due to covid and the surplus of players?

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My experience would be with Minnesota as an example. As the head of summer placement for the Gophers, Coach Casey has developed one of the finest funnel systems in the country. In the summer of 2015, Casey placed 24 Gophers on the rosters of 11 different Northwoods League teams, one of the top summer leagues in the nation. Seven of those players were invited to the Major League Dreams Showcase and five ended up making the Northwoods League All-Star team. In 2017, 15 more Gophers were placed in the Northwoods League while three other Gophers were placed in the prestigious Cape Cod League. By 2018, the Gophers had branched out to the best of the best, sending players to USA Baseball, the Cape Cod League and the PerfectGame League while maintaining a stronghold on the Northwoods League.

I doubt you could get on those teams without  help.

RipkenFanSon played in American Legion after his freshman year and also on a senior men's city competitive league, and some NECBL late call up. Following his sophomore year, he sought to go back to NECBL or other good summer league. I kept asking him to follow up with his college coach on placement. Some times he said "It's early", other times he told me he didn't want to bother his college coach. As it turns out RC thought he had an internship and wasn't looking, fortunately he was able to get in Hamptons leagues, very late in placement.

After his junior year, he took matters in his own hands. He directly contacted 6-8 GMs of the NECBL in the fall. I think he heard from most and received two positive responses. The team he played with, put his "signing" up on twitter- second signed of team. Son had all his stats--it was pretty much an interview. The GM  later told me that some of his calls (due diligence) were to rival schools who spoke highly of him. Really a different set of circumstances.

To the OP, What we've noticed is that certain schools had "slots" on certain teams in certain leagues, usually 2 slots so that they can share housing. The college coach does play a big role. Also some teams of certain leagues won't take a non-D1, unless that person is a standout, or top Juco (not as many of those in Northeast). You could also check the rosters of leagues and see who the commits are so far for summer 2021, and what colleges the players attend for a data point.

Son’s coach reached out to an NECBL team to get him on the roster.  Since he was a freshman and yet to play a game, did not get a quick response.   We knew the GM for another NECBL team, so reached out letting him know of the situation.  GM reached out to HC and offered my son a roster spot the same day.

I know of other scenarios where kids/families made their own arrangements, one which was critical in getting player drafted the following season.

I see no harm in you making a few calls, though you may want son to let HC know (we didn’t, but since we already had an NECBL endorsement, figured it was no big deal)

Some of the league’s have links on their site for players to apply. That being said, most will need a coach’s reference.  Kids coach usually asked players where they want to play in early fall, then made placements. I see no harm however, in recommending oneself via league app, provided you have the ability to complete and you keep your college coach in the loop.

@CTbballDad posted:

Son’s coach reached out to an NECBL team to get him on the roster.  Since he was a freshman and yet to play a game, did not get a quick response.   We knew the GM for another NECBL team, so reached out letting him know of the situation.  GM reached out to HC and offered my son a roster spot the same day.

I know of other scenarios where kids/families made their own arrangements, one which was critical in getting player drafted the following season.

I see no harm in you making a few calls, though you may want son to let HC know (we didn’t, but since we already had an NECBL endorsement, figured it was no big deal)

Agreed.

If there is some connection use it, but don't be "that dad".

My son's HS coach knew the local CCL head coach and we had a good relationship so I called him and said my son was looking for a local college team. He talked to the CCL coach who called my son's college coach and in two days he was on a local CCL team.  In the background I had met my sons college pitching coach several times during his recruitment and watching his games so I asked him in advance if that was OK to make the call and he was supportive so I did it.  It is a fine line so make sure you communicate and can help the process and don't be viewed as short circuiting something a college coach has going.

Son played NECBL (thanks to college coach connections), while a few college teammates played in the Cape. Towards end of season,  teammates’ Cape team needed players and my son was contacted to play in the playoffs. Son established a great relationship with Cape coach for those two short weeks, and that opened the door for playing the next full season in the Cape Cod Baseball League. How? After the two weeks, son (not college coach) kept in touch with Cape coach, and through son’s determination and work ethic, was offered the opportunity to return to the Cape. Moral of the story is to carefully chart your own course, making sure you do not burn any bridges. Good luck!

A friend of ours found a league this summer I think in North Carolina, but I don't know what it was. Coaches used the crap out of him for two weeks before his arm gave out. He was off for a month or so getting things back in order physically. He also wasn't the best at advocating for himself, probably should have said no earlier.

I have to believe that coaches who know the college coaches are watching and want to get more players from particular schools will be more careful about how they use players, but that's just my opinion.

On a related note — what do you think of a player recommending another player to a summer league team? Son's Northwoods team ended up with several D3 players (players from Iowa D3s) at the end of the summer. He has a friend who he said is at least as good as those kids and he has toyed with suggesting to the Northwoods coach that he consider him, but is trying to decide whether that is appropriate. Thoughts?

@T_Thomas posted:

Just wondering how common it is for players to find a summer league team through using their own connections versus relying on the college coach.
For whatever reason, the coach might not get the player on a team, or maybe not on a team which meets the players goals and expectations.
Is it reasonable for the player to ask around and try to secure a spot?  What are the odds of getting on a decent team this way? I know there are a lot of new pay-to play leagues, but I'm thinking more of the traditional leagues.  How are things different this year due to covid and the surplus of players?

Would your son be interested in the Great Lakes League?  I have an in with one of the top teams in the league.  Great facility and the team has kids from all levels....P5 D1's down to some kids from the local NAIA team.  Great fanbase and no 8 hour bus rides lol.  a 6'4 LHP shouldn't have much trouble finding a spot lol

Would your son be interested in the Great Lakes League?  I have an in with one of the top teams in the league.  Great facility and the team has kids from all levels....P5 D1's down to some kids from the local NAIA team.  Great fanbase and no 8 hour bus rides lol.  a 6'4 LHP shouldn't have much trouble finding a spot lol

Thanks, Buckeye.  Appreciate the thought.  He's working with the college coach to see what they can come up with, but always good to have options.  I'll get in touch and let you know how things develop.

If I were your son, I'd find out first how older players on his college team have been placed. In some cases, the college coaches expect to be the ones doing the placements exclusively. In others, they feel less strongly about it. Knowing the protocol in advance, though, can be valuable.

Then, after getting a good feel for how his teammates had been placed, I'd suggest that he talk directly with his coaches about the process they expect to follow in his case. He might learn in the process that they have something in mind that he hadn't even considered. He might also learn that they've already had some conversations with summer team officials on his behalf. ... or, they might benefit from knowing what he had in mind; even to the extent that they'd help him get there.

In most cases. better to be working on mutually understood, parallel paths with the college coaches than not.

Does this coming summer look like the past? Not talking Covid, just the new leagues.  Do we think the top leagues from the 2019 summer are still the  best leagues, or have things realigned? My son is saying he wants a certain league and I am encouraging him to just wait for the coaches suggestions before he makes his preference known.  I don't think where he wants to go would be a bad option for him, just feel like it's hard to know this coming summer with all the changes from both possible Covid restrictions and mlb leagues and partnerships.

@baseballhs posted:

Does this coming summer look like the past? Not talking Covid, just the new leagues.  Do we think the top leagues from the 2019 summer are still the  best leagues, or have things realigned? My son is saying he wants a certain league and I am encouraging him to just wait for the coaches suggestions before he makes his preference known.  I don't think where he wants to go would be a bad option for him, just feel like it's hard to know this coming summer with all the changes from both possible Covid restrictions and mlb leagues and partnerships.

The consensus among coaches seems to be that the Cape will still be the Cape; that it'll be some of the others that end up getting affected most.

Years ago I heard of a kid playing summer college ball in Canada. Not sure if that still exists but if so, how does that stack up against US college leagues?

Does anyone know anything about the Western Canadian Baseball League? http://westerncanadianbaseballleague.ca

Their website looks pretty interesting, but I'd love to hear some more firsthand info about the teams or league.

Also, following up on Bob's comment, does anybody know if 'Mericans are allowed north of the border this summer?

Thanks

No firsthand knowledge of the WCBL, but next time I talk to my son I'll ask him. I would bet that he knows a few kids playing there. There are all sorts of US players playing up there normally. It's a pretty seamless transition playing up there normally, and the prairies and Rockies are beautiful in the summer, but Covid has changed everything. Who knows what it will be like in the spring, but as of now the Canadians have stricter quarantines than most of the USA, even though their death and infection rates are at a significantly lower level.

      I would imagine that the teams themselves would have the best idea of what is going on, and would have a very hard time filling out a roster without American players. The covid situation is so fluid it's hard to say anything definite as of now...in three months everything could be well under control- or not.

@nycdad posted:

At son's school, it seems that the coaches do all the placement.   ...

Yes, and that does seem to be the most common method.  The point of this topic is to explore the other possible options.  There could be lots of reasons why a player might want to play in a different setting - maybe closer to home, maybe farther away, who knows.  In my son's case, his school mostly puts players into relatively local leagues around the southeast, and he is interested in perhaps exploring different parts of the country.  So just he's looking to see what might be available... 

@T_Thomas posted:

Yes, and that does seem to be the most common method.  The point of this topic is to explore the other possible options.  There could be lots of reasons why a player might want to play in a different setting - maybe closer to home, maybe farther away, who knows.  In my son's case, his school mostly puts players into relatively local leagues around the southeast, and he is interested in perhaps exploring different parts of the country.  So just he's looking to see what might be available...

I would advise your son to talk to his college coaches and find out if they have a preference about where he plays summer ball. If his college team has placed him somewhere there is a good chance they did it for a reason - but not always. If he was placed somewhere for a reason I suggest he go along with it. If there is no particular reason he would probably not get an objection from his college coaches about looking at options.

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