how to decide the college level where a player "fits"?

I know no one can evaluate a player based on posts here.  But I could use some advice:

My son is going to Headfirst in August.  He is a 2020 RHP and his goal is a high-academic school.  Several coaches have told him he could potentially play at a lower-level D1, but he has been thinking D3 because his primary goal is getting into the best academic school he can, rather than the best baseball school.

Son's coach recently made some changes to his delivery and he has struggled to incorporate those.  His velocity is up, but he has not performed well this summer (far too many walks). 

At the WWBA earlier this week, things finally clicked:  touched 86-87 on several pitches and averaged 83 mph; 2 Ks per IP.  This is the fastest he has thrown by a good bit.  Still too many walks, but they were down and he was effective.  I know these numbers don't make him a P5 prospect.  But in addition to D3 HA schools, should he also target the Ivies and/or Patriot League (and similar)?  He's 6'1", built like a tight-end, won't get any taller.  His pitching coach, who is the best around these parts, says there is still room to increase his velo.  I'm not asking "will he get a D1 offer?" but just "are these numbers likely to get a HA D1 coach's interest"?  He'll continue to target HA D3s in any case.  I know he has nothing to lose by sending emails to D1 coaches; but I'm trying to help him set realistic expectations and goals.

Original Post

Those numbers are certainly in line with similar numbers of pitchers from around here who have played Ivy League & Patriot League...

Good to hear that your son stuck with the mechanics changes even though the early results weren't great.  Kids can be very results oriented.

From OP  "...Still too many walks, but they were down and he was effective.  I know these numbers don't make him a P5 prospect..."

Walks at his age are generally not a big concern for coaches and recruiters from my experience. It is important to remember that a lot of what is being decided is based on potential.

If you look at PG, there have been several recent commits in the 2019 class that have committed to  D1 baseball teams in the P5 conferences that top out at 86-88 mph, and I saw several cruising this velo in the CWS last month. Another thing to note, is that there are currently only 7 pitchers in the 2019 class that remain uncommitted that have  touched 90 or 91.  No one that has 92 or more has remained uncommitted.  Most all of these kids committed to D1 baseball programs.

So, if your son adds 3 or 4 miles per hour by next year, I think that he is a legit D1 commitment ANYWHERE.  Regardless of when coach/recruiter say they look for something other than velocity, the facts just don't show that to be true.  The instant most kids touch 90, they become a recruitment target. I have seen this repeatedly in my son's 2019 class.

Additionally, P5 does not mean the same thing in baseball that it does in football or even basketball.  The SEC is different.  The ACC, BIG12 and PAC are not too different from other competitive conferences.  The Big10 ( and I spent most my life living in the middle of Big 10 country) is on par with D2 in the Southeast.  That's not a dig at the Big10, they have great baseball players. It just tells you how competitive the southeast is.

Now just because your son is potentially high D1 caliber, that does not mean it is the best place for him.  My son, could go just about anywhere he wanted, and we have always made education the top priority.  He was contacted by several of the Ivy's, and really liked Georgetown.  Ultimately, while he loved those schools and their academics (we made time to visit several), he felt the schools commitment to baseball, not the coaches, was lacking.

My short advice would be this for your son.

1. Work at Baseball - become a better stronger pitcher

2. Visit the schools and learn about them - decide where you want to go to school

3. Let schools know your interested - make a list, visit, call, go to their camp, send a 30s bullpen video

4. Keep an open mind - you may find you like the situation at D2 or D3

5. And Most important - have fun playing HS and Summer seasons

 

 

 

 

 

So, make a list of the schools he would like to attend for the Academics. Don't matter if it's D1, D2, or D3. The question will eventually come up as to what is his priority? A strong Academic school with a strong program in his interested Major and a chance to play baseball?  or is he willing to forego one of his listed high academic schools for the opportunity to play? There is no wrong answer but something to think about.   

My son & I discussed this topic a little this week.

This winter as a Sophomore he is going to start out with a list of about 50 schools.  15 schools where he knows he can play (i.e. The perennial loser D3 a half mile from our house, local low level in state JUCO's etc), 25 schools at the level that his travel program director thinks he is currently projecting towards (this is important, getting qualified objective opinions from someone who isn't immediate family) and 10 schools that are Dream Schools (LSU etc).

Then once he attends a PG or PBR Showcase in the spring he'll have a web link with his measureables to send out to coaches, and he can begin the process of contacting coaches.  And when time allows we'll visit some campuses, and take in a game or two.  And yes attend a few camps.

We already started visiting campuses in the last few weeks on Travel Ball weekends (Illinois & Valparaiso).  I want him to visit dozens of campuses over the next few years so he can really get a feel for what he likes and doesn't like in terms of college campuses.

We'll adjust the lists over time if his skill level increases or based on interest or lack of interest from coaches.

Your son's situation is similar to my son's when he made his decision a few years ago (although he is a position player not a pitcher).  He chose a HA D3 and loves it. 

A few thoughts based on your OP.  It sounds like your son's priority is (1A) academics, and (1B) baseball.  My response is influenced by this.  I think something he should consider is the challenge of balancing the academic schedule with his baseball schedule.  A D1 schedule averages ~56 games in the spring.  A D3 schedule is 40 regular season games plus any playoff games.  Travel to away games is usually more local as well for D3.  There may be an early spring trip to Florida or the west coast for a week of games but that typically the extent of travel.  As for the fall, they will have morning workouts 4-5 times a week at 6:30 AM.  I don't think that is any different than D1.  However they are more limited to coach led practices in the fall. 

The quality of talent that we see at the HA D3s is outstanding (this was one of the most unexpected things for me).  Most pitchers consistently throw 85-87 and you will see several guys throwing 92-93 with schools at the top conferences. 

Good luck at HeadFirst, they do a great job. Your son should take advantage of interacting with the coaches.  He will have access to them during games on the field and in the dugout unlike any other showcase my son attended.  HF was where he received the most real interest from coaches and was also the showcase that first started his communication with his school. 

For a 2020, next Summer is the prime time for HA D3 and some HA D1 recruitment.  Averaging 83 now, and touching 87, puts your son in the discussion at both levels as a 2020.

As others have noted, he has time for development/improvement.  Given his desired college focus on HA schools (very few verbal commitments yet at most HA D1), he should focus on improvement of velocity and command now.  Average velocity continues to rise across baseball.  And it can be improved.

Also, as has been noted, casting a very wide net at this stage is a great idea.  Lots of schools could fit...hard to say where at this point.

Having been to this rodeo a couple times, I'd look at camps/showcases beginning later this Fall and into the Winter to begin testing the waters again after more development.  Places like Headfirst Jupiter and Winter camps at places like Harvard or Northeastern.  Continue to work a plan of engagement with coaches (and potentially admissions reps) of the schools on his vetted list, e.g., campus visits, send video and emails, etc. through next Spring.  The time to really shine will be Summer 2019. 

Good luck!

 

Chico Escuela posted:

I know no one can evaluate a player based on posts here.  But I could use some advice:

My son is going to Headfirst in August.  He is a 2020 RHP and his goal is a high-academic school.  Several coaches have told him he could potentially play at a lower-level D1, but he has been thinking D3 because his primary goal is getting into the best academic school he can, rather than the best baseball school.

Son's coach recently made some changes to his delivery and he has struggled to incorporate those.  His velocity is up, but he has not performed well this summer (far too many walks). 

At the WWBA earlier this week, things finally clicked:  touched 86-87 on several pitches and averaged 83 mph; 2 Ks per IP.  This is the fastest he has thrown by a good bit.  Still too many walks, but they were down and he was effective.  I know these numbers don't make him a P5 prospect.  But in addition to D3 HA schools, should he also target the Ivies and/or Patriot League (and similar)?  He's 6'1", built like a tight-end, won't get any taller.  His pitching coach, who is the best around these parts, says there is still room to increase his velo.  I'm not asking "will he get a D1 offer?" but just "are these numbers likely to get a HA D1 coach's interest"?  He'll continue to target HA D3s in any case.  I know he has nothing to lose by sending emails to D1 coaches; but I'm trying to help him set realistic expectations and goals.

congrats!  Sounds like he is in a good place... with his velo, his focus on academics and having access to a great P coach.

Curious... what is the primary change in his delivery?  is the control issue attributed mostly to getting comfortable with the changes or something else?

Pedaldad posted:

Another thing to note, is that there are currently only 7 pitchers in the 2019 class that remain uncommitted that have  touched 90 or 91.  No one that has 92 or more has remained uncommitted.  Most all of these kids committed to D1 baseball programs.

 

You raise a really good point -- throwing harder will give Chico's kid a lot more options.

I checked PG and they show 28 RHPs at 90 or higher who are uncommitted. Here's another interesting data point: in the 2019 class there are only 171 RHPs in PG's database who have touched 90 or higher.* And only 24 LHPs. So 205 total. Those numbers will rise when the 17U WWBA data gets published, and throughout the fall, but it will probably only be 350-450.** Maybe some others never do a PG event, but still, 1000 or more RHPs will go D1 each year, so clearly not everyone is touching 90 as a rising HS senior. 

*of the 143 that are committed, 1 is committed to a JUCO -- the other 142 are committed to a D1 program

**Edited to add: for the 2018 class, pitchers who have touched 90 or higher in the PG database total 387 RHPs and 74 LHPs, and for the 2017 class it's 294 RHPs and 52 LHPs

cabbagedad posted:
Curious... what is the primary change in his delivery?  is the control issue attributed mostly to getting comfortable with the changes or something else?

I'm not knowledgeable enough to tell you in detail, but my son says he has changed the way he brings his arm back and has been working on various things to use his lower half more.  Son says he was having trouble with timing after the changes (and IMO just with changing old habits).  His delivery doesn't look very different to my untrained eye, but the ball definitely is coming out his hand quite a bit faster than last summer.  Several coaches had described the boy in prior years as "raw" but with potential.  So here's one data point to suggest good coaching can increase velo substantially.  

A couple more things:  First, thanks to all for some very helpful posts.  As always, they are much appreciated and this site is a great resource.

Second, it wouldn't surprise me if my son's pitching coach frequents this site (hi coach!), so:  I trust it's clear I think very highly of son's PC.  I have had a couple of very preliminary conversations with PC about colleges and expect to rely on him heavily.  I'm just here to gather all the info I can.

Chico,

Best of luck at HF.   If your son is considering a schools academics first and then baseball second it becomes somewhat easier because your son knows exactly what he wants.  Most HA coaches will offer their support for an admission slot or tip.   After my son figured out what he wanted to do after college it became somewhat easy to pick the school that would get him there....find the best school in his area of study and then reach out to those coaches who are looking for a pitcher like him.   This approach was a lot easier than "boiling the ocean" to see who was looking for a baseball pitcher, and then trying to figure out the academics later.   You're on the right path by attending HF and other showcases like this.   It will become very apparent which schools fit him and which schools want him.

Another important aspect if not already mentioned above are the JUCO players coming in which dont show up on schools PG recruitment lists.  Not to hijack your thread, but wanted to share where we are coming from.  2019 RHP, 6'3, 180.  Played all summer (and last), Jupiter, etc.... in PG events with a competitive team from the ATL area.  Son consistently hits 88 in his outings, cruising 85-86.  WWBA 17U his last outing ( against a very good team), 5 innings, 7 K, 1BB, 3 hits, No runs, 72 pitches thrown.    Reached out to about 10-15 mid major D1 schools beginning last summer.  Reached out to schools to send schedule for his outings this summer.   Good grades and ACT, highschool and travel coach seem to really like him and his attitude, work ethic, etc....  Number of contact/offers from the mentioned schools: ZERO.   I really believe that if 90 was his velo things would be different.    We are now starting to look at some local JUCOs.....which he would be thrilled if he had the chance to play baseball in college at any level.      

My son made a list of his preference for school, Academics, size, city size, etc. He then targeted schools that met those criteria, regardless of conference. He visited those schools and targeted the ones he thought he may be able to play at. Eventually the Process showed him where he belonged. There is nothing wrong with some stretch schools, but remember coaches recruit players, players do not recruit schools. If they are interested and they know about you they will get in touch. If they don't you probably will not change there mind. 

To Answer the original question, "where does a player fit?' here's what I can offer based on my son's recruiting: 

1) We looked at the chart which listed measurables (footspeed, arm strength, etc) for a MI. It delineates the levels based on "expected numbers" for D1, D2, D3 

(I know that it's located on HSBBWEB, some "oldtimer" could offer the link)

2) He had a D1 offer early on (local school) .He also had a D3 offer early on who wanted to follow him, but HC thought son would land at a HA D1. This said if son was patient he would eventually land at a D1, which he hoped was HA. 

3) Son went to showcases where you got a write-up in the end from one of your "dugout" coaches. These read-outs indicated he had some (not all) D1 level tools.

4) Lastly, son went to see games which involved schools he was vetting. Here he could see the level of play, pitching speed, etc. 

5) There is the academic piece as well, and SAT/ACT scores, transcript will give you an idea if you compare them to the "general population" of the schools are looking. 

HF is a good plan, and your son will be even more successful (camp worthwhile) if he has been in contact with schools prior to HF. You want to be on as many "clipboards" as possible.

Be prepared for the "how are your grades?" question.  

Best of luck to you and your son. 

stayfocused posted:

Another important aspect if not already mentioned above are the JUCO players coming in which dont show up on schools PG recruitment lists.  Not to hijack your thread, but wanted to share where we are coming from.  2019 RHP, 6'3, 180.  Played all summer (and last), Jupiter, etc.... in PG events with a competitive team from the ATL area.  Son consistently hits 88 in his outings, cruising 85-86.  WWBA 17U his last outing ( against a very good team), 5 innings, 7 K, 1BB, 3 hits, No runs, 72 pitches thrown.    Reached out to about 10-15 mid major D1 schools beginning last summer.  Reached out to schools to send schedule for his outings this summer.   Good grades and ACT, highschool and travel coach seem to really like him and his attitude, work ethic, etc....  Number of contact/offers from the mentioned schools: ZERO.   I really believe that if 90 was his velo things would be different.    We are now starting to look at some local JUCOs.....which he would be thrilled if he had the chance to play baseball in college at any level.      

Wow, with your son's measurables, I would think there would be a lot of contact.  Is he also reaching out to those schools, sending emails, schedule, etc?  I can see little contact last summer, as a rising junior, but I would think there would be a lot of interest this year.

Good luck!

Yes he has been reaching out to those schools. Last fall we were invited for unofficial visit to a top choice, met with coaches, etc... all went well. Son and RC would talk on a weekly basis. Then......nothing, no reply’s to texts, emails, phone calls not answered, etc...  I do know that school had some coaching changes at end of their season.  

Touching 87 as a junior to be is plenty good enough to get D1 looks.  Heck, my son is at a mid-major and I can tell you we saw a lot of RHP this season that weren't throwing above that.   As others have said....if he gets a few more MPH his options will increase dramatically and at that point you/he will have to decide if the high academic D3 is still the goal....or playing D1 because he's likely to get some opportunities there with those kind of numbers.

stayfocused posted:

Yes he has been reaching out to those schools. Last fall we were invited for unofficial visit to a top choice, met with coaches, etc... all went well. Son and RC would talk on a weekly basis. Then......nothing, no reply’s to texts, emails, phone calls not answered, etc...  I do know that school had some coaching changes at end of their season.  

Yeah, this happens. It's frustrating. My 2018 had a D1 school go so far as to ask him to swing by on his way back from WWBA two years ago and that they would "have an offer for him." Drove out of the way. Swung by. They had a volunteer assistant we had never met give him a very short tour. "Glad you came by." No offer. Never heard from them again and have no idea what happened.

I feel like this 2020 class is extremely strong.  There are several 2020s throwing 95+.  I know they are the freaks, but my 2020 throws 90 and I think he is right in the middle of a large group in the same space.  A lot of them (like my son) are uncommitted.  That said, we played a team with a RHP last week committed to a top SEC team and he sat 84-86 most of the game.  Very effective pitcher.  I would say your son will get some interest from D1s.

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