Son is a 2022 catcher, 6'1" and about 155 lbs. Will either be starting JV catcher or backup varsity catcher this spring on a league champion team. Current varsity catcher is a committed 2021.
My son is also a 4.0 student in honors classes. He already knows what he wants to study in college and we are targeting the top schools in that field. On his target lists, there are some top D1 schools, some less competitive DI schools, and a few NAIA schools spread out across the country.

I have watched some of the travel teams in our area ( NorCal) travel to Arizona for tournaments or across CA for college camps. I am not sure if that would benefit my son as there are only 3 of his target schools on the West coast. I also don't believe the cost of these teams and the travel would benefit us due to this.

As we get ready for his sophomore to junior summer, I want him to see better competition without having to play in the Arizona tournaments unless many of his target schools will be there. We are planning to attend the All Academic Showcase this fall during his junior year as well.

How can he play against top level competition this summer without having to do the showcase tournaments?

Original Post

Welcome to the site.  You are right to help your son prioritize getting in front of his target schools as part of his recruiting strategy. 

Have you looked into Scout ball?  In some areas of California, it has historically had some of the best HS talent participating and the cost with many of the organizations is very reasonable.  Travel is minimal, depending on how close you are to the hub.

Beyond that, most competitive summer ball is being played via a travel organizations.  Even if a given organization is not playing in front of schools that your son is targeting, he  can still benefit from the competition and some of the top organizations attend the bigger national level tourneys that are played in front of a large representation of schools across all levels and all regions.  Then, he can target specific schools at their prospect camps for individuals.  Also, you may be surprised to know that many California travel organizations participate in events that include schools from across the country such as some of the HA events.  

If you are trying to avoid the travel and costs you referred to, you should be able to find travel team options that focus more locally or regionally.  But the trade-off is often level of competition.

Also, have you two researched feasibility of playing college baseball with consideration to whatever his preferred field of study is?

 

I agree with Cabbagedad and would look at it as a two-pronged approach: 1) play high level travel ball (if financially feasible) so that he can face strong competition, continue to develop, and work with coaches who may have good contacts with colleges; 2) attend on-campus prospect camps individually at the schools that he is most interested in attending.  

Btw, registration is already available for the Junior Fall Classic Academic Game Try-outs: https://azfallclassic.com/junior-all-academic-game/. I highly recommend this event and, ideally, your son would find a team to play with in the tournament as well. Good luck!

 

BBMomAZ posted:

I agree with Cabbagedad and would look at it as a two-pronged approach: 1) play high level travel ball (if financially feasible) so that he can face strong competition, continue to develop, and work with coaches who may have good contacts with colleges; 2) attend on-campus prospect camps individually at the schools that he is most interested in attending.  

Btw, registration is already available for the Junior Fall Classic Academic Game Try-outs: https://azfallclassic.com/junior-all-academic-game/. I highly recommend this event and, ideally, your son would find a team to play with in the tournament as well. Good luck!

FolsomBallDad -  Agree with BBMomAZ that it is probably in your best interest to take a dual pronged strategy or a modified strategy depending on the interest level your son experiences at this point.  This is what my son did, and I know many others took a similar approach to figure out where it made sense academically based on his major, and athletically.  My did attend a couple high academic showcases and camps in addition to numerous PG events.   It wasn't one event, it was a combination of all of it that led to interest, serious interest then offers.

A few observations.

A 2022 has three semesters of grades - two of which most schools don't look at; great work on the GPA so far, and, I assume, he's taking the most rigorous courses his HS offers (you've got to check the "most rigorous" box to have the shot at the HAs). If you haven't done so, lock down all your academic questions through meetings with his guidance counselor. 

Scout ball (definitely alive and well in NorCal) is a great option (it was my son's only "travel" team).

Over half of HS kids will ultimately change the major from their initial HS choice; and, even if the kid stays in the area, some schools have better sub-specialties than others (e.g., Engineering has many, many different sub-areas.) So, start with a list of schools broader than his current choice but that fit his academic profile.

Assuming his academics stay on course, I'd try to get into the Stanford and California HF (and like) camps for THIS summer. (My son did both as a rising junior and both opened the right doors.)

I'd also use the summer to prepare him for the ACT/SAT and take both at their first fall testing dates. Its a huge advantage to have testing done early (Sept of junior year).

If you've winnowed down your school choices, start sending e-mails to the coaches to find out their summer schedules. It's possible, for example, to combine an east coast baseball trip (to a camp/showcase populated with your target schools) with a campus visit(s) which will put a face on a far away college as well as demonstrate interest to the coach.

I also note that you're college list includes "top D1 schools, some less competitive DI schools, and a few NAIA schools spread out across the country." That's a pretty ambigious description, so it's hard to drill down. But, if it's based upon baseball (as opposed to academics) AND the major you're thinking about today is difficult, begin educating yourself on the intersection of baseball and academics at these schools - there are lots of threads about the life of a college player at various categories of colleges. A hard, academic major is incompatible with baseball at, let's say, LSU; not so much at Bucknell.

I think you're asking great questions. It's not REQUIRED to do showcase and tournaments; that is one method of exposure, and there are many paths to getting exposure. Planning is the key.

Welcome and keep us informed so as to help others coming along the highway!

PS. I'd also give him lots of reps at third and first base; make him more than a catcher.

I'm sure you're aware that there are active Legion and Connie Mack programs in NorCal.  Some of these teams seem to play locally only, while some do tournaments as well, and I would guess that the fees vary widely depending on that, among other factors.  Some of these teams  are quite good, for example, the Hoots.  And some not-so-much.  You also might try talking to NorCal Baseball.  Though they travel and play tournaments, they also play locally, and they can be pretty flexible about how much a player participates in the program.

You've told us only his height; how does he project baseball-wise as a catcher?  Has anyone told you?  If he is a D1 prospect this summer (pop-time, exit velo, etc.) then you need a different plan than if he is not.  Do you have someone you can ask for an unbiased opinion?

If he is recruitable by D1s after his sophomore year, then you probably do need to be playing tough competition (i.e. showing that he can catch and hit 90 mph pitching), or attending showcases where his target schools will be.  If he is not recruitable this summer, then the plan can look different. 

When you say top D1's and not so good D1's are you talking baseball wise or HA wise?  It seems you talk about his HA's but is that what he is looking for?  When you say most are not in Ca, where are they?  If you are talking near Ca, that is one thing but if you are talking Southeast or NOrtheast that is another thing.  If you are talking Southeast, then you will probably need to come to the Southeast to be seen at a WWBA or something like it.  Welcome.  The more information you can give, the more information you will receive.  I think we all were a little guarded when we first started on here but if you can give information it will help guys give advice.  Being a catcher, there will be a lot of teams looking for catchers for the WWBA's.  Many of those teams will not charge you because teams are always looking for pitchers and catchers.  You will just have to pay for travel expenses.

Hello All,

Thank you all of for the wonderful replies, this validates why I joined. To answer some of the questions posed about my son.

Here is the top 7 schools ( so far) we are thinking about/ looking at based on the schools reputation in the major. First and foremost, he will attend a school his is happy with, he can get into and excels in the academic major. Baseball will only tip the scales based on how much he might play.  For example, if the top academic choice will only play him 30%, but the 4th choice 100%, he will choose the 4th choice.  This is also very early in the planning of what school, I know it could change quite a bit. 

1) Purdue. 2) Ohio State. 3) Embry-Riddle. 4) San Jose State 5).Western Michigan 6).Arizona State 7) Central Washington University. 

As you can, very spread out across the country with varying divisions and baseball competition levels. 

My son has gone through a significant growth spurt in the last year and has put on about 15 lbs of muscle. I say this because we have tested his different metrics ( pop-time, exit velo, arm velo) lately. Planned to do it this spring. Not sure if he is a D1 prospect right now, but that doesn't mean he couldn't be as a senior. The goal is not to be committed to just any school, the goal is to be able to play at his preferred college. If he has the talent, he can accomplish this as a walk on. 

On the academics, he maintains his GPA in honors classes ( not AP yet) but heading that way. Honors meaning his GPA is weighted,so it is really more like a 4.25. Thank you for the tips on the Stanford or Cal camps, I had looked into this but glad to hear it open the right doors.

We have done one of the school specific camps as a freshman, but quickly learned that was much too early in his age and development. But I see the value and this is one of avenue. For the midwestern schools, he will need to narrow his interest list before we travel.

JCG- I know about NorCal and he has friends playing there. We are going to try out for their Top 100 program as well this year. Can you please tell me more about the Legion or Connie Mack programs?

All- can anyone tell me more about the Scout programs in Northern California?  Would you consider CBA or NorCal a scout program?

You will get much response to your response    You now have me more curious about the major.  Since Embry Riddle is included, I assume it may be related to engineering?  If so, you can do a search in the threads on this site where you will find a ton of info regarding the baseball/engineering combo.  

You will also want to be aware of the significant challenges of both the walk-on route and the idea of targeting D1 schools as a senior.  Search those as well.  

Most of those schools, obviously, are D1 and some,  across the country as well... unless he has good pipeline connections, he will likely have to either have a truly exceptional skill set or be a part of one of the stronger travel organizations and attend the bigger events in order to be seen by these schools.  Yes, you can attend camps but they will want to see that the skill set can successfully compete against top level competition.  That typically won't happen at the camp.

Folsom -- this link will give you contact info on Legion programs. 

https://www.legion.org/baseball/teams/2019/ca

I don't believe Connie Mack has a website but you might Google the Danville Hoots and contact them.  They are a great org and would know of other teams closer to you.

BTW re your list of schools, you might want to check out this site for info on how CA students can get discounted tuition to schools in neighboring states.

https://outofstatecollegefairs...e-exchange-wue-faqs/

Good luck.

That is quite an eclectic list of colleges.

Can you expand on the reasons (i.e., field of study) each school made the list? 

Also, which academic box the Guidence Counselor ultimately checks on the college application is based solely on your HS's offered courses. So, a kid in a school which offers 16 APs and where the kid took 4 will not merit a "most rigorous" designation; conversely, in a school which offers four and the kid took all four will merit a "most rigorous" designation. 

I know Emory-Riddle baseball players do major in engineering. I'm not sure any Arizona State baseball players major in engineering.

As to predicting playing time, that will be determined by performance at the college; any prediction about playing time made earlier is on a "best guess" basis - and some people guess better than others. But, I can state with certainty that ASU will be out there recruiting the next player for your position from the moment a player sets foot on campus (if not earlier).

I'd really focus on hitting. That is the only sure way to earn playing time; quite simply: you hit, you play. The coach will find the position so the kid can get onto the field.

Also, for many of those schools (Big 10, ASU), recruiting for 2022s is already in full swing.

With a kid who is showing such favorable academics, I'd really be looking to expand your list. Keeping him focused academically will open more options than your current list - and there is no harm in having lots of schools on his list; recruiting has a way of springing new options onto many players.

 

My son just graduated in May from D1 mid-major,  University of Cincinnati with an Engineering Degree. He was on 40% scholarship NLI, and played all 4 years. The academic program was 5 years, as all engineering students start paid co-oping spring of sophomore year. He had 5 semesters of co-op experience under his belt when he graduated. The scholarship revenue stopped on co-op semesters then kicked back in once co-op semester was over.
Grew up in Central Valley of CA. Played 2 years on the Marlins Scout Team out of Fresno, played selectively (because he didn’t want to travel so much) with Trosky out of Northern CA for 2 years & went to Arizona Classic Jr. & Sr. year with that team. Played Legion Ball in Northern, Mn @ summer lake home.  You can message me for details of his experiences & recruitment, as Engineering can be tricky. 

While I believe catcher is one of the most important positions on the field, you should be aware you're probably at the biggest disadvantage from a recruiting perspective.  Very rarely will a recruiting class have more than one catcher, therefore, your son will need to be the lone C the prospective school wants. 

Something to keep in mind, and require you expand your list of schools, if baseball is a priority.

Thank you all for you time in replying.  Yes my son wants to study aviation and be a commercial pilot after college. He doesn't harbor any fantasies about playing pro ball. With this attitude, we are looking at the best aviation colleges in the US first,  who also have a baseball team. I have talked with a catcher from Western Michigan and his teammate was in the aviation program and played all 4 years, so i believe my son can handle the workload. He currently excels in his STEM classes, so I don't think aviation will be too difficult for him.

Based on the information provided here, I have taken another look at some of our local programs that offer top level competition without too much travel. We will be signing up for the Arizona Junior Academic Game this fall as well. 

This HS season will be a good challenge for him to growth athletically and we are looking forward to it.

Thanks!!

FolsomBallDad posted:

Thank you all for you time in replying.  Yes my son wants to study aviation and be a commercial pilot after college. He doesn't harbor any fantasies about playing pro ball. With this attitude, we are looking at the best aviation colleges in the US first,  who also have a baseball team. I have talked with a catcher from Western Michigan and his teammate was in the aviation program and played all 4 years, so i believe my son can handle the workload. He currently excels in his STEM classes, so I don't think aviation will be too difficult for him.

Based on the information provided here, I have taken another look at some of our local programs that offer top level competition without too much travel. We will be signing up for the Arizona Junior Academic Game this fall as well. 

This HS season will be a good challenge for him to growth athletically and we are looking forward to it.

Thanks!!

That's awesome!  My guess is it would be much more difficult to play with that major at Purdue, OSU, ASU and San Jose State than the others and also, making it as a walk-on at those schools would very much be a long shot.  Not knowing the level of his baseball skills, I can otherwise give a big thumbs up to Embry-Riddle - we checked it out at one time and I have sort of followed.  Their Florida campus has a baseball program that is traditionally quite competitive in a very strong NAIA conference and several teammates would be in a similar major.  The Arizona campus is starting a new baseball program that starts play in 2021.  The conference they will be in is not strong.  They seem to have made a decent coach hire and I suspect it won't be long before they are competitive in that weaker conference but the baseball, at times, won't be very good.  

Also, those NAIA schools typically won't recruit hard until at least junior year so he would have time to develop.  As mentioned by others, the BigTen and Pac schools typically recruit far earlier, like now and possibly into next year.

Agree the Service Academies could be a good fit, depending on the kid's makeup, but time is short if you want to have a realistic chance.  The application process has to start a lot earlier than traditional schools, and the congressional recommendations can be tricky depending on your location.

Thanks for the info @cabbagedad. Embry-Riddle is definitely something we are looking closely at, especially the new program at the Prescott Campus in AZ. We have already done a camp at SJSU and have a light relationship with the coach there. They are not that competitive in our area, so I wouldn't classify them with OSU, Purdue or ASU. They do little recruiting from before the senior year and prefer JUCO transfers. 

At this time the service academies is not a direction we are looking at, but are great opportunities.

@PitchingFan- I didn't see that Tennessee Tech has an Aviation or Flight major. Do you know what it is called. There are many other schools like Central Washington, Utah Valley State and Florida Institute of Tech we are looking at also.

Another question: What is the best way to find out which showcases a particular school ( Eastern US or Midwestern US) might attend?  Should we just e-mail the head coach directly and ask?

I didn't see many of the schools we are looking at any of the Arizona Fall Classic Showcases.

 

I apologize.  It is Middle Tennessee that has the good program.  Jim Toman is the head coach and he was HC at Liberty, AC at College of Charleston, Associate HC at South Carolina.  Highly respected coach. 

Have a son's friend who graduated and immediately got a job with Delta.  They have all aspects of aerospace so it is very beneficial to the various areas because the pilots take classes with mechanics and engineers.

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