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My son is getting quite a bit of attention from scouts and sports agents. He is a senior RHP and is committed to play at a D1 school in the fall. 

We want our son to go to college. It’s really a non-negotiable point in our minds. He does too. However, what do we do with the scout and agency attention? 

1. Is there any benefit to saying you’ve been drafted out of high  school even if you don’t take the deal?  

2. If we decline invites to throw bullpens for these scouts or agents, are we burning bridges for when he wants the attention in college? 

3  If he’s certain he’s not interested in the draft, do we tell everyone that now? 

He has been in contact with scouts from seven MLB teams at this times and two agents. Some are lower level scouts but others are the area supervisor ones. All were unsolicited contact after people saw him at training camps with his summer team over the past couple months. 

Thanks!  We have no experience with this and honestly don’t know what to do. 

 

 

Original Post

Why not just get drafted and don't sign unless it is a million plus?

Plenty of college players get drafted out of HS and do not sign. usually those players communicate the signabilty somehow and then get drafted in late rounds with the teams knowing they likely won't sign.

I'm no expert on this but why not tell the scouts I'm going to college unless I get an offer I can't refuse?

It’s a good process and good experience.  The entire goal of the scouts coming to the house is to determine signability.  They do not want to draft you high if you aren’t going to sign because they lose that pick but also the slot money associated.  If it is non negotiable, just tell them (when they ask) that you feel strongly that he needs to go to college.  I would never talk in absolutes.  I would also start interviewing the advisors. They can be helpful in navigating this and should be fine with your current plan of waiting until college to go in the draft.  They can help you with what to say or how to approach the situations .  We are going through the same thing and I think it’s all a learning opportunity.  Our son doesn’t know for sure what he wants and this gives him a broader knowledge base. There is really no reason to not go through the process.  

Last edited by baseballhs
baseballhs posted:

It’s a good process and good experience.  The entire goal of the scouts coming to the house is to determine signability.  They do not want to draft you high if you aren’t going to sign because they lose that pick but also the slot money associated.  If it is non negotiable, just tell them when they ask that you feel strongly that he needs to go to college.  I would never talk in absolutes.  I would also start interviewing the advisors. They can be helpful in navigating this and should be fine with your current plan of waiting until college to go in the draft.  They can help you with what to say or how to approach the situations .  We are going through the same thing and I think it’s all a learning opportunity.  Our son doesn’t know for sure what he wants and this gives him a broader knowledge base. There is really no reason to not go through the process.  

Great advice above and a good plan to follow.

I am NOT a fan of going pro out of HS. It's completely different from what you think that it might be, so it's good to learn all about it before draft day.  There are a lot of things to consider, that can be a different discussion on a different day.

I am going to ask backdorslider to weigh in, as his son, a top pitching prospect in 2018, chose Vanderbilt over the draft. That choice isn't available to everyone, everyone's situation is different.

I guess I'm wondering about the value of throwing bullpens for people full strength in January, if we know that college is a family priority. Because of the connections he's making through his summer team (the coach assembles off-season camps with some very high level instruction), people are getting excited about his arm but we could be running around doing bullpens for all sorts of people, and it seems like an awful lot of effort when he already has a great scholarship at a school where we really like the coaching staff (and they are dedicated to developing him). The flip side is that we just don't know enough about this process to know when we're "burning bridges." Thanks for the advice!

We did everything asked with both middle and youngest son.  Neither got drafted because we were where you are and we put the money high enough that it would truly be life changing and worth skipping college.  I'm not a fan of pro out of high school so it had to be top couple of rounds.  But we answered all the questions and did all the stuff they wanted.  Those same guys hopefully will be in similar positions in 2 1/2 more years when he is eligible again and we did not want to say no because of the possibility of the future.

There are many, many threads (some quite recent) on every facet of this issue.

On one extreme are kids who will go to college, no matter what. 

On the other extreme, there are kids who will go pro if drafted - no matter what. (I knew a kid who took 35k and was cut the very next year.)

I just did an analysis for a PAC-12 coach to be included in presentations to the drafted portion (or likely draftable) of the recruiting class. Money-wise, if a kid develops in college as expected of a potential HS draftee [i.e., he will be a high single digit round], the monetary and MiLB trajectory/difference is surprisingly small. And, the potential problems if a HS kid quits during the life of his initial contract (I believe 6 years) include, but are not limited to: refunding a bonus (prorated) he's already paid taxes on and losing the MLB scholarship. In all events, he loses his college eligibility.

There's no harm in attending the requested workouts - if the player feels like it; it just adds to his experience base (my son did several and they were pretty cool; the workouts, however, were closer to the draft and fit nicely with his conditioning.)

Someone posted: "The same scouts will be around in three years. They want to get to know him and will follow him through college." It's a bit more nuanced than that straight line. IF the player goes to a college in the scout's area, the scout will continue to follow him; if the kid goes to school outside the area, another area scout will scout him. There is generally little to no interaction between a club's various area scouts (although all films and reports from whatever source and time will be in the club's database for viewing/reading). So, basically it's like starting over with a brand new person  (scout). (Another nuance: many times scouts are deployed outside their home area during the summer - think summer collegiate leagues - and report on players seen during that assignment.)

One minor, transient benefit of being drafted and not signed is the ability to put it on your resume so people who simply don't understand the draft system are impressed. (In other words, baseball people aren't effected one way or the other; friends and peers are impressed.)

It's flattering and confirmatory to be scouted in HS. The system is designed to excite and overwhelm a player and the family. The best approach is to understand what is happening; what are the advantages and disadvantages of either option. An advisor may or may not have your kid's best interest in mind; every advisor brings his/her bias to the table and, therefore, it is up to the family to do the research and in-depth analysis which is then analyzed according to the player's unique position in life. SO, DIG OUT THE PAST THREADS and determine his particular, unique variables.

(I know HS draftees who are in MLB, I know a few who rocketed to MLB  for a brief cup of coffee and were cut 5 years after getting drafted, I know kids who were released after a year or two of MiLB, and I know a few who are now 8 - 10 years in MiLB with and without wives and kids. I even know one who was drafted in 2010 who got his degree while playing. There is no predicting how it comes out, except for the lack of a degree or progress towards one for the overwhelming majority.)

Imo, the low risk decision is go to college. A kid - and EVERY HS DRAFTEE IS A KID - gives up alot to play out of HS and has a totally different life trajectory than one who goes to college, and I'm not sure the HS draftee gets all that much. 

Pro-ball is a special kind of hell for HS kids.

 

 

Last edited by Goosegg

My son is currently experiencing the same thing. So here is the advice I give him which I will share will everyone. Just remember I have no experience at all and am just going with some basic common sense and things learned here on this site.

My son will attend college. I know that there is a line somewhere where the money will dictate whether you sign a professional contract. What is that line? I guess it may depend on a few things that will be unique to everyone. What are some of those things?

1. Some kids are not cut out to be college students. This applies to the general population as well.

2. Some kids have playing professional baseball as their #1 priority in life and everything else is secondary--wrong or right. They just want to know they gave it everything they had and if they have the opportunity to sign early they will. They are not willing to risk not having the opportunity in the future to be drafted for any myriad of reasons such as injury, opportunity to start in college, etc.. So they may want to jump at the first opportunity presented; they may not have an opportunity in the future.

3. Economic situation. Some kids may not be getting enough money (athletic or academic or a combination) and their family situation makes paying for college very difficult for their family.

How do you let these teams know which direction you are leaning? Opinions may differ but the advice I've given to my son is to be HONEST. These teams will have an answer from you regardless of whether you are being honest with them. They know it because they ask for it. When answering the basic MLB questionnaire (on the MLB Draft Prospect Link) you provide these answers. That may be your first opportunity to provide an answer before you actually have direct discussions with them. This question is DEFINITELY asked multiple times and in different ways--so provide honest answers.

Each team may request an additional questionnaire from you via the MLB Prospect Link. Not all teams that invite you to the Link will also ask that an additional questionnaire be answered--but many do. They may flat out ask you again if you will sign and may also ask for a number (the line). They may just ask "how you would feel" about signing a contract. These questions may just be an attempt to gauge your "honesty" in how you answered similar questions on the generic MLB questionnaire.

Have my son and I talked about the "line?" Not really. It's really a tough things to determine because of the following:

1. My son would rather have the college experience as both a student and an athlete. He knows his chances of making the MLB are very slim. Not because he has doubts in himself but because he's practical. Nobody knows what the future holds. He does know a good education will provide an opportunity for a good career and life--that's a sure bet.

2. The signing bonus numbers per round are fairly well defined. He knows he's not likely to be in the top 3 rounds so he's better off not worrying about "the number." And if he were? He'd rather not think about it because of item #1.

My advice concerning attending pro events and workouts? Do them as long as it FITS in your training regimen and cycle. You DO want these guys interested because you DO want the opportunity to be considered in the future. And if you don't want to be considered? Then it doesn't matter and you wouldn't be thinking about these things.

Some of the reasons why I think keeping these guys interested is important:

1. You want to be considered in the future. And you want them follow you through your college career.

2. Perhaps their interest can help influence future summer collegiate league placement. You definitely want the opportunity to play against top competition in the future.

3. It shows you have interest even though you TOLD THEM YOU WANT TO ATTEND COLLEGE.

Just to re-emphasize: I am NOT an expert. My son is going through this process now so all I can do is provide the best advice I can based upon what I know. Perhaps in 10 years I can update this post!

I want to add, in our sons case, he was offered by the Yankees 5 round money out of HS. Every other scout, told him going to college would be his best option.  They were right. 

He played often in HS up in Jupiter and the Cardinals had their eye on him for years, and he was drafted 71st pic out ( round 2) of Clemson 3 years later, the  drafting scout who covered the carolinas is now the Cardinals manager..  So it doesn't matter because they contact that area scout to follow. As an FYI, that Yankee scout became a manager in the Cardinal organization, so remember baseball is a very, very small world.

Remember that always!

Growing up in college, learning to face adversity prepared him for the next step.  Unfortunately, becoming weary  from rehab due to constant nagging injuries, he walked away with some money and a degree which cost him nothing ( no debt).

The key is having options, so I suggest exploring all. If you have a secure commitment for college and if scouts are asking to see him, that's just another option but be realistic in what you are asking for.

Last edited by TPM
2020two-way-parent posted:

I guess I'm wondering about the value of throwing bullpens for people full strength in January, if we know that college is a family priority. Because of the connections he's making through his summer team (the coach assembles off-season camps with some very high level instruction), people are getting excited about his arm but we could be running around doing bullpens for all sorts of people, and it seems like an awful lot of effort when he already has a great scholarship at a school where we really like the coaching staff (and they are dedicated to developing him). The flip side is that we just don't know enough about this process to know when we're "burning bridges." Thanks for the advice!

I think you can be honest.  Say it doesn’t fit into his January throwing routine.  My son was just invited to a meet and greet and to throw “if he wanted”.  He just responded that he could attend the meet and greet but wouldn’t be able to throw.  They said, great, we would love to meet you.  This is a little different because it’s before a scouting event and they will see him the next day but I don’t think anyone will fault you for not throwing extra bullpens in January. If they are interested, they will see him at games in the Spring.

I have not read all of the responses yet so if some of this is repeat, I apologize.

1. Is there any benefit to saying you’ve been drafted out of high  school even if you don’t take the deal?  

Typically, in the earlier rounds, a player won’t be drafted unless he agrees to a number. If he agrees and doesn’t sign, that can be tricky because that means the team has wanted a pick.

There really no benefit to saying that you’ve been drafted (IMO) because baseball is a what have you done for me lately sport.

2. If we decline invites to throw bullpens for these scouts or agents, are we burning bridges for when he wants the attention in college? 

I think it’s more about how you do it. (Great example above by BaseballHS) The scouts and agents have probably seen him throw and will see him throw in the spring.

3  If he’s certain he’s not interested in the draft, do we tell everyone that now? 

It happens all of the time. Most scouts will still perform due diligence but can appreciate the truth. 

2020two-way-parent posted:

I guess I'm wondering about the value of throwing bullpens for people full strength in January, if we know that college is a family priority. Because of the connections he's making through his summer team (the coach assembles off-season camps with some very high level instruction), people are getting excited about his arm but we could be running around doing bullpens for all sorts of people, and it seems like an awful lot of effort when he already has a great scholarship at a school where we really like the coaching staff (and they are dedicated to developing him). The flip side is that we just don't know enough about this process to know when we're "burning bridges." Thanks for the advice!

This is where having a good advisor might help sort out real interest from checking a box. 

All a scout is doing this far in advance of the draft is building a list of POTENTIAL draftees in his area. That list will be much, much longer than the kids who get drafted that year. 

You will have no doubt if there is interest in a player - and slot interest brings it to a whole new level. (I wrote a screed about how a club goes about winnowing HS players [maybe six months ago]).

 

 

Not mentioned above is almost all high school "kids" will be 18 when the draft comes along.  It's really their decision. All families are different. You might think of what you will do if your son has ideas different than yours. (NOTE: You in the sense of the general you, not a specific you, or you's you.)

What I gather the minors for a just out of high school kid is a lonely place, teammates change weekly, they are always trying to bring in somebody better than you.  Part of the discussion with my kid is that you can't win a conference championship in Rookie Ball, you can't win a Regional or go to the CWS in low A. So you get drafted and get a $100,000 (take away or add a zero to fit the circumstances, if any), don't you think you would get at least that after three years of college?

 

There's a lot of great advice here, and there's no need to rehash it. However, here's an additional thought:

In the past, one of the factors in favor of a decision to turn pro put of high school was that, generally speaking, the coaching quality was higher in professional baseball than it was at the college level. This was frequently a selling point employed by professional scouts when talking with high school players and their parents.

I think that their assertion is still generally true; but, I also believe that the degree of difference between professional and the best college coaching is diminishing rapidly. This is particularly true at top college programs, the ones that tend to compete most often for draft-worthy high school grads.

A number of top college programs are making sizable investments in coaching expertise and technological resources that allow them to develop players at a pace that rivals the minor leagues. One sign of this is the greater ease with which college and pro coaches (especially pitching coaches) are moving between pro and top college ranks.

If this trend continues, the percentage of top players choosing college and the proportion of college players populating the draft ought to rise over time.

You would be hard pressed to find a better pitching coach than Scott Brown at Vanderbilt.   Vandy has a new system that captures every movement in the pitch and within 30 secs can tell you what degree your arm is at on any pitch and that slight changes can increase velo, spin rate, etc... its a prototype.... no other pro or college team has it.  I'm sure  they will soon

What does your son want to do?  It is his life, not yours. You provide guidance, but in the end, you do not want him to have any regrets because YOU took over and made the decision for him. He has to be included in the process. You will all learn a lot. Throwing pens in front of decision makers will be a great experience as a high schooler. If he goes to college, and they are still interested, he will already have that experience under his belt.  That’s a good thing!  Slow down and enjoy the process. Don’t skip any parts. These moments are special, and can be short lived. Anything can happen including injury and illness. 

As usual, great stuff in this thread. I'll add something my son and I laughed about from this past AFL season. He rented a house with 6, 2015 guys from the Atlanta area. He, along with his college roommate were the only two who went to college instead of the draft. His roommate had much more of a chance to take the money and run after HS but went to college......my son didnt have many options for the draft but regardless, as they began their cohabitation with the other guys.....conversations popped up about college and what it was like as the other 4 guys have been in the minors. It was at that time that my son realized how much he missed college, his teammates and had the thoughts of "If i could go back etc". He said him and his buddy felt like the "old Men" in the house.

Regarding your initial question, i would go to the scout days and network. They know the deal and although many scouts could be around in 3 years, many move on. Low level guys don't lead a glorious life and usually travel quite a bit. Whatever 'life changing" money is for you or the amount that moves the needle in order to be drafted vs college should be discussed and if you do not get it, go to college. Obviously the college opportunity you get could play a factor. There is always the Juco route as an expedited was to pro ball. Everyone is different, some have plenty of college money saved up, others need to help support their families...and everybody else is in the middle. 

I know my son benefited greatly from his experience and we have talked on more than one occasion about how gracious he was with his HC at that last Clemson v Vanderbilt game in the regional when he knew he wasn't coming back. 

Last edited by Shoveit4Ks

"I laughed about from this past AFL season. He rented a house with 6, 2015 guys from the Atlanta area. He, along with his college roommate were the only two who went to college instead of the draft."

Some interesting things in this segment.

First, for those who dont know, the "AFL" is the Arizona Fall League. MLB clubs share/populate a team with their very best prospects. Each club contributes a few of their highest ranked prospects amd shares a team with several other clubs, the league plays games in the Phoenix area, and is a springboard to MLB (or at least an invite to MLB camp). Guys playing in the AFL are viewed as the best of the best of the upper level MILB players.  Its an honor and a fast track to MLB for these guys. 

[There is also an Arizona Instructional League for newer draftees, where each team populates the entire roster with promising lower level players. It is an honor, but also really extends the season for younger, inexperienced players.]

For those interested in the HS/college issue, note that 4 HS guys and 2 college guys are now playing at the same level; there was no time advantage to signing out of HS. Moreover, the college kids miss/look back with fondness at their college team and college life. (I think this feeling is virtually universal amongst college draftees.) That is NOT the way MILB players look at their time; proball is NOT about the team and not about building a network of life-long friends. (This played out at my son's wedding where he had over two dozen college teammates but only 2 pro teammates present.)

A HS kid gives up so much by going pro; and most of what is given up cannot be replaced later.

 

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