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Hey everyone. First post here. My son is a high academic kid and is a soph. RHP. Had some terrible travel ball experiences playing on a few elite regional teams. Had an injury during first year with national level travel team, which he seems to have overcome. I know he burnt out this past summer, too. Didn't play last summer and came back to HS ball in spring and really reconnected with the game and had a good year on varsity as soph. despite not playing at all for the year before. We're about to talk to ask if he's ready to commit to trying to play in college; needs to be his decision (I think he was playing to please rather than for himself). He wants to go IVY academically or high academic D3. He is 6'1, about 160 lbs., probably tops out 81-82 right now with plus curve, developing change. I'm a former DI pitcher so I have no illusions. His Mom and I see baseball as a way to get into the best school possible rather than it turning into anything beyond that. From what I see, if he wants it and puts on some muscle, adds strength, he can get in the ballpark 85+ and get in the conversation. He's about my size when I was his age and I eventually topped out around 87-88 mph as a soph. in college. The question is if he chooses to go for it, should the circuit start this summer or after he's stronger and more developed, i.e. fall/winter showcases then go full out summer before senior year? 

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My 2019 RHP topped 82 as a sophomore, but not as tall as your son.  Here's the path we took (everyone's is different):

  • Played legion summer of rising sophomore and junior year, focusing on developing his craft
  • Attend college camps in fall, after developing list of interested schools, continue email dialogue
  • Played regional travel team and attended camps summer of rising junior year


Son received multiple D1 and NESCAC offers. 

Sounds like the first bullet above may be important for your son, as the desire and commitment may not be there just yet.  Your son doesn't have off-the-charts measurables, so I see no need to play for an elite/national travel team.  That may only hurt him in playing time and regaining the love of the game.

He has time, especially in the HA D3 space, as they won't recruit him until next summer.

Good luck!

Hi and welcome to the posting side.  Considering he is targeting IVY or HA D3, he has time.  Combining that with the concerns you state about "playing to please rather than himself", I would continue to be patient.  While baseball can help get students into certain schools, you know well that it is a heavy commitment and the desire needs to exceed the notion of using it as a vehicle to get in.  

No doubt you are plenty capable of evaluating the numbers, skill set and projectability.  I suspect he is fine in that regard.  I just get the impression that he still needs to come to his own conclusions about what level of commitment and love of the game he ultimately has.  With continued positive experiences, that will likely grow.  If he feels pushed, I suspect there is a chance that will retreat again.  You may want to gradually feed him the information he will need without pushing... "If you decide you want to pursue... be aware..."  

Cool that he has reconnected!  Hopefully, that continues to go that direction.  At some point, it usually clicks one way or the other.

Last edited by cabbagedad

I assume you have the academics part of the equation down, but I'd have him taking the SAT/ACT as soon as possible once he's ready. Also, since you're in Maryland, there are ample opportunities for quick trips to visit lots of HA's (which seem to concentrate in the East). That will help determine the type of school he thinks he likes.

Rather than showcase before he has something which stands out, I'd pay instead for top of the pack personal PC and strength trainer skilled in pitchers.

My son sat 80 - 2ish sophomore year and attended Headfirst and Stanford camps as a rising junior - but he was also shorter and lighter than your son at that age. That - combined with clear top academics  - was good enough for coaches to follow him and when he returned to those camps as a rising senior the same coaches came to see him (velo now sitting 85 -7). My son never played any real travel ball (just several seasons of Scout ball), just locked onto a great PC who developed his pitching skills and worked hard.

As you probably know, the velo thresholds have risen substantially since you played. Ivy's profess to seek 90, but I think 87 with control and a "magic pitch" gets big attention. D3 HAs are a bit less.

If you haven't done so, take him to a college game. If you're in the DC area, the collegiate summer league also provides an opportunity.

Welcome to the site!

Thanks guys for the quick responses. My experience (graduated HS in 1991) was you play high school, play legion, hit a few area camps. For me, I performed well at a few camps and got an offer. It seemed much more casual than the baseball machine that exists today. It's nice to see alternative paths still exist. In the end, we're really lucky to have a good, smart kid with some choices to make. If he decides to go for it, I just want him to understand what it will take, i.e. make an informed decision without fear. Who would have thought playing ball could be some damn complicated? Geez. 

So, there are a couple things your son is going to need to do to get an Ivy coach's attention.   He's going to have to nail his SAT/ACTs and then demonstrate he's got the stuff to compete at the mid to low D1 level.  To accomplish these things he is going to need to take care of business and focus over the next 15 months.   For a HA D3 he would have more time probably 18 months.   But the bottom line is this is not easy stuff, he has to have something tangible to show any college coach.   For your son that may be academics opening the door for athletics.   My son and I tried leading with athletics (he was topping out in low 90s as 6'1" 175lbs) with excellent academics.   It was a lukewarm response.  Once he started leading with academics at the HA schools, he got many doors to open up.   There are many ways to get there, and you've got to help your son find his path.   I'd get started ASAP mapping out some plans, events and timelines.   

So, based on that rising junior timeline, he'll need to take care of the SAT/ACTs first (in the Fall) and keep working on the velo and developing to achieve this goal.    Honestly, there isn't a lot of time and you're probably going to have help him get started as junior year is a killer with activities, time management and juggling priorities.  

Good luck! 

Last edited by fenwaysouth

Fenway makes a great point about leading with academics; it's logistically so much easier to start with a pile of guys who have a shot of admission (as athletes) and find the baseball skills than the other way around.

With that thought in mind, on all campus visits son had a sealed envelop of grades and scores (updated as he aged) to give to any baseball coach he ran into; on every campus visit on our college route he would take a whack at seeing the baseball department (alone). Tail end of soph year, he hit an Ivy baseball office during a visit, coach was in, coach made positive comments - fast forward and that's where he went. (Before the visit, he had had no prior contact with coach or school.)

On velo, i think coaches look at HS "sitting" velos for short stints (a couple of innings); college pitchers  - if knowing they are going a couple of innings - have higher velos and can maintain for longer. I know my son at the end of HS was "sitting" 90 for 2 innings; by the seventh he was 85 - 6. In college he could keep up the velo through 7 and go 91 - 3 for a single inning. 

Last edited by Goosegg

I recommend taking the SAT and ACT as soon as possible (summer/fall) and make sure he takes at least some challenging AP and/or Honors classes in his junior year while maintaining a high GPA. We found with our son that being able to demonstrate to HA coaches that the academic eligibility component was taken care of prior to/early in the junior year was a big advantage. They were primarily interested in weighted GPA. If your son wants to pursue it, try to attend a HA camp, such as HeadFirst, in the fall of junior year. 

Hey, couple more things...Aren't PSAT scores good enough if in 1400-1450 range to show IVY coaches? Does it have to be actual SAT? We'd prefer him to prep and take SAT in spring of Junior year. Also, what are thoughts on doing showcases PO versus PO and position as it pertains to the pitcher athlete perception. My kid has played varsity since freshman year and has been blocked in OF by upper classman so he's sort of become a PO but still has ability (not DI level) as hitter/OF. Curious to hear some thoughts on both questions. And thanks for all the input so far. Super helpful.

2022NYC posted:

Do Ivies look at sophs?

Yes, they look at sophs.  There are a few posters on HSBBWeb that have shared their recruiting situations with me over the years.  Ivys look at many, many recruits because they have to.  If a young recruit is demonstrating D1 level capabilities and has taken the SAT or ACT to meet their requirements they are going to want to talk.   Remember, the Ivys are competing against other D1 schools for talent.

I know nothing about IVYS. Summer before freshman year in high school, his youth coach told us he could play college baseball and would likely start for HS the next year. I got on this site and started doing research. When he actually DID become a starting pitcher the next year, we told son the following:

If you want to do the work to get to college baseball, here's the deal. We will finance showcases, a travel team, some camps, etc. IF you do the work of arranging lessons, put what you learn to work, do the lifting, get to practice, coach contact, etc

After that, I took over as lead researcher while he worked on improving his skills. The key thing though was it put the ball in his court. He got himself up for 6 a.m. lifting, arranged lessons with pitching coaches, etc., went to practices and arranged extra practices with teammates. A lot of that was outside of his comfort zone when he started and that's how we knew he wasn't doing it to please anyone except himself.

fenwaysouth posted:

2022NYC posted:

Do Ivies look at sophs?

Yes, they look at sophs.  There are a few posters on HSBBWeb that have shared their recruiting situations with me over the years.  Ivys look at many, many recruits because they have to.  If a young recruit is demonstrating D1 level capabilities and has taken the SAT or ACT to meet their requirements they are going to want to talk.   Remember, the Ivys are competing against other D1 schools for talent.

Thanks. Are PSAT scores in consideration in lieu of ACT/SAT? How are grades evaluated? 

Re: when to take the tests. As soon as he has a shot at the score needed - the earlier the better. There is no penalty to taking multiple tests. The earliest ACT test, I believe, is September; that gives him the summer to study. Waiting until spring could mean a testing logjam if he needs to take the ACT/SAT again (a very normal occurance), plus multiple AP tests, plus HS baseball.

There are 56 kids per year getting into the IVIes for baseball; the competition for one of those spots is as hard as competition for acceptance for a regular student.

I guess I'm saying its pedal to the metal on multiple fronts - academically, baseball - because if your not doing it, others are. Moreover, I understand that the NESAC conference is the same - only in D3.

Re: positions to showcase in. Any position which gets him on the field. There are no reasons to not play (except injury).

Re: PSATS. I've always viewed it as more advisory to families rather than influencing colleges; it puts down a marker for the kid but it can't get a kid into a college.

One thing the drive to these HAs does is give an opportunity to mold a HS kid's discipline and time management. 


Trying to take SAT/ACT tests in the spring or summer is very difficult, because baseball is played on most Saturdays.  Is he going to skip a game?  For Ivies and other high-academics you will also have to figure out a time to take SAT subject tests, that eats up another Saturday test date.  The fall and winter are much easier to schedule (unless your son is playing football).  For that matter, if you play in fall baseball tournaments/showcases, that eats yet more Saturdays.  So, there are really only two or three test dates that are ideal for baseball players.  For Ivies and similar, you really need an SAT score to tell them by late fall of junior year. 

PSAT is something of a predictor for SAT, and can tell coaches (and families) what is likely to happen on the SAT, but in the end they have to take an SAT/ACT to the admissions office, so that's what they really want to see.  Also, the PSAT in fall of junior year is the qualifier for the National Merit Scholarship competition, so should not be skipped.

Finally, many people do significantly better on SAT than on ACT, or vice versa, so depending on what you're aiming for (this applies to everyone, not just high academic types), it's a good idea to plan to do both.  That's two different Saturdays.

I believe at least some of the Ivies no longer require subject tests.  Doesn't mean a kid shouldn't take them, but I don't believe they are required, at least not at all.  My guess is it would be easy enough to research on the admissions site for each school.  

The earlier the better on the SAT in terms of baseball timing.  The Ivy timeline appears to be moving up in an effort to keep up with earlier and earlier baseball recruiting and commitment in general.

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