Within the last month, my 2020 committed to a D1 baseball program. Last week, he got a call from an area scout who invited him to throw a bullpen. He did that, and since then, the area scout has taken quite an interest in him and has recommended him for elite travel teams, connected him to various people, shared his information with a regional scout/cross-checker, etc. 

We don't know how to handle the sudden attention, who to trust, what we should be doing, etc. The man seems knowledgeable and nice and has connected my 2020 to some very influential people, but it feels overwhelming.  

Any advice on how to move forward wisely? 

Thanks!

 

Original Post

Go with the flow.

An area scout simply scours his area and makes lists; he's ranking every draft eligible player in his area. So, that list may contain a hundred names (or more in baseball hot beds), yet only a couple will get the draft call (for many reasons).

The scout needs to see a player play as many times as possible - and the lists winnow down quickly once spring season begins.

(Make sure you're speaking about an Area Scout and not an Associate Scout; the former is paid by the MLB, the latter works for free. Associate scouts often are employed in the baseball field (think travel ball coaches) and may have dual loyalties (to make money for themselves as well as locate talent.))

And, I have learned that scouts do talk amongst themselves and assist each other in identifying talent. 

If an area scout is speaking to his cross-checker or above, that's a good sign.

All that having been said, search through some draft threads to get a feel for the process. IF there is real interest, you can educate yourself before the insanity starts. Also remember that only about 400 HS kids are drafted each year, so this is a real longshot.

The players I know who have received scout attention all have an "Advisor," which is an agent who can't be called their agent yet. They seem to be providing advice and guidance to the players/families so it may not be a bad idea. Like hiring any professional, do your research and don't take the first one that comes along. If/when the time comes to sign any paperwork with anybody (advisor, team, etc.) I strongly recommend you have your own independent attorney review it to be sure you and your son understand every word. I would never trust my son's future to an agent with blind faith; I would also have all paperwork reviewed independently. Just my opinion as a skeptical attorney. 

With all due respect, that post gives some pretty bad suggestions and doesn't show an understanding of the draft process. 

There was a lot of cart before the horse advice.

Let's start with the Area Scout and dissect what he does. It's his job - as well as the other 50+ Area Scouts working for the parent club - to scour their areas for ANY player who has A SINGLE PROJECTABLE MLB tool. Leads about these players come from every source: travel coaches, personal coaches, HS coaches, showcases, tournaments, etc. The AS then scurries about evaluating these leads; some AS' even create their own teams in fall (called scout teams). (Scout teams in Southern Cal can have up to 100 players rotating in and out of games.) All sorts of approaches are used, but the idea is to find EVERY SINGLE PLAYER who fits the criteria.

From these leads, the AS essentially ranks these players in order. At the beginning of the kids' senior seasons the list FOR A SINGLE AS can be pretty long - in hotbeds sometimes 100+ HS players.

So, the TOTAL NUMBER OF POTENTIAL HS players PER CLUB preliminary identified will number in the thousands. Remember: the TOTAL number of HS draftees will be app 400.

From those identified as having a single potential MLB tool, the next stage of the winnowing process is to determine which will go to college NO MATTER WHAT. It can be family desires, the particular college committed to (e.g., Ivy and Stanford are viewed as hard and fast commitments compared to the local JUCO), maturity, anything. For the vast majority of those, the buy out bonus exceeds what the scout believes is their worth and those guys are dropped from the draft list. (Has nothing to do with talent; has to do with signabilty.) (Also, if the kid is a slot potential pick, the AS will continue to communicate as the draft approaches to make sure the bonus ask is hard and nonnegotiable; if the bonus ask comes into "line," the kid goes back on the list.)

How does the AS learn the demand? He asks - through the questionnaire, home visits, the personal coach, etc. These visits, communications, etc., give the AS insight into the recruit; is he ready for prolife, is he mature, can he take care of himself, etc. - whatever the AS thinks will shed insight into the player makeup. (At this point a family can finesse the bonus demand by truthfully saying, "let's let the season play out and well decide closer to the draft.")

So, at the beginning of the HS season, the AS has a rough idea of rankings of kids, a rough feel for who has a strong college commitment (and who can be bought out of that committment), and a rough feel for the kids readiness for prolife.

From this group (and late bloomers who are identified later in the process), the BEST OF THE BEST are marked. For these guys (maybe 100 - 200 NATIONWIDE) more attention is given. These are the guys who are slot potential (or slot equivalent [e.g., college senior slot savings which can be wheeled to a lower pick]) and who will be seen by the regional scout, cross-checker, GM, owner, etc.

These are the players who may benefit from an advisor.  For these guys, there is plenty of time to find a reputable advisor (and there are far more charlatans than reputable guys). For everyone else, an advisor is unnecessary, a distraction, and provides needless pressure.

(Here is where I'd ask other posters with more current knowledge to chime in; in my son's time, if you had an agreement with an agent, you lost your amateur status and could not play college ball.)

Pressure, you say? Try being a HS potential slot pick (and you can tell simply by looking at the crowds of scouts at each game) pitching in front of GMs from 20 clubs, dealing with your GF who is angry she isn't getting her 100% attention, being the butt of HS pranks, taking tests, finessing your college coach while maintaining a strategic ambiguity about going pro, etc. I have seen countless guys simply be HS kids in this situation (meaning he is not ready - yet  - for proball; only the rarest thrive under that pressure).

About end of May, the clubs create their draft lists. Scouts will then confirm bonus demands, hard college commits, arrest reports, whatever, and draft from that surviving group.

A couple of points from this rambling mass of info: without that projectable MLB tool (very rare to see in HS kids, not rare for college players), all is for naught; only a few kids will be offered or worth the unicorn bonus (but many players/families disagree).

So, what's the best advice for a HS player? Grind and improve your skills; ignore the draft. For parents, search the threads and the internet for useful info (e.g., MLB scholarship program, slot amounts, previous draft histories, terms of the CBA), realistically evaluate and understand prolife and ask: is my kid really ready for this new type of hell?

When and if the time comes, all contracts are the same (except for the bonus); there are really no negotiating terms.

Oh, and recognize if the kid gets his unicorn and two years later decides that living in 100° heat for two years, with no friends, no freedom, regimented days focussing ONLY on baseball, with constant failures in the field, is no fun and quits: the bonus is refunded to the club.

 

Sorry for the length of this rant.

Goosegg posted:

With all due respect, that post gives some pretty bad suggestions and doesn't show an understanding of the draft process. 

There was a lot of cart before the horse advice.

Let's start with the Area Scout and dissect what he does. It's his job - as well as the other 50+ Area Scouts working for the parent club - to scour their areas for ANY player who has A SINGLE PROJECTABLE MLB tool. Leads about these players come from every source: travel coaches, personal coaches, HS coaches, showcases, tournaments, etc. The AS then scurries about evaluating these leads; some AS' even create their own teams in fall (called scout teams). (Scout teams in Southern Cal can have up to 100 players rotating in and out of games.) All sorts of approaches are used, but the idea is to find EVERY SINGLE PLAYER who fits the criteria.

From these leads, the AS essentially ranks these players in order. At the beginning of the kids' senior seasons the list FOR A SINGLE AS can be pretty long - in hotbeds sometimes 100+ HS players.

So, the TOTAL NUMBER OF POTENTIAL HS players PER CLUB preliminary identified will number in the thousands. Remember: the TOTAL number of HS draftees will be app 400.

From those identified as having a single potential MLB tool, the next stage of the winnowing process is to determine which will go to college NO MATTER WHAT. It can be family desires, the particular college committed to (e.g., Ivy and Stanford are viewed as hard and fast commitments compared to the local JUCO), maturity, anything. For the vast majority of those, the buy out bonus exceeds what the scout believes is their worth and those guys are dropped from the draft list. (Has nothing to do with talent; has to do with signabilty.) (Also, if the kid is a slot potential pick, the AS will continue to communicate as the draft approaches to make sure the bonus ask is hard and nonnegotiable; if the bonus ask comes into "line," the kid goes back on the list.)

How does the AS learn the demand? He asks - through the questionnaire, home visits, the personal coach, etc. These visits, communications, etc., give the AS insight into the recruit; is he ready for prolife, is he mature, can he take care of himself, etc. - whatever the AS thinks will shed insight into the player makeup. (At this point a family can finesse the bonus demand by truthfully saying, "let's let the season play out and well decide closer to the draft.")

So, at the beginning of the HS season, the AS has a rough idea of rankings of kids, a rough feel for who has a strong college commitment (and who can be bought out of that committment), and a rough feel for the kids readiness for prolife.

From this group (and late bloomers who are identified later in the process), the BEST OF THE BEST are marked. For these guys (maybe 100 - 200 NATIONWIDE) more attention is given. These are the guys who are slot potential (or slot equivalent [e.g., college senior slot savings which can be wheeled to a lower pick]) and who will be seen by the regional scout, cross-checker, GM, owner, etc.

These are the players who may benefit from an advisor.  For these guys, there is plenty of time to find a reputable advisor (and there are far more charlatans than reputable guys). For everyone else, an advisor is unnecessary, a distraction, and provides needless pressure.

(Here is where I'd ask other posters with more current knowledge to chime in; in my son's time, if you had an agreement with an agent, you lost your amateur status and could not play college ball.)

Pressure, you say? Try being a HS potential slot pick (and you can tell simply by looking at the crowds of scouts at each game) pitching in front of GMs from 20 clubs, dealing with your GF who is angry she isn't getting her 100% attention, being the butt of HS pranks, taking tests, finessing your college coach while maintaining a strategic ambiguity about going pro, etc. I have seen countless guys simply be HS kids in this situation (meaning he is not ready - yet  - for proball; only the rarest thrive under that pressure).

About end of May, the clubs create their draft lists. Scouts will then confirm bonus demands, hard college commits, arrest reports, whatever, and draft from that surviving group.

A couple of points from this rambling mass of info: without that projectable MLB tool (very rare to see in HS kids, not rare for college players), all is for naught; only a few kids will be offered or worth the unicorn bonus (but many players/families disagree).

So, what's the best advice for a HS player? Grind and improve your skills; ignore the draft. For parents, search the threads and the internet for useful info (e.g., MLB scholarship program, slot amounts, previous draft histories, terms of the CBA), realistically evaluate and understand prolife and ask: is my kid really ready for this new type of hell?

When and if the time comes, all contracts are the same (except for the bonus); there are really no negotiating terms.

Oh, and recognize if the kid gets his unicorn and two years later decides that living in 100° heat for two years, with no friends, no freedom, regimented days focussing ONLY on baseball, with constant failures in the field, is no fun and quits: the bonus is refunded to the club.

 

Sorry for the length of this rant.

Thank you. My son got some attention from scouts in the area — questionnaires, conversations — but nothing that really made any of us think that he should skip college. This is a really helpful guide to the draft process.

Let me throw my two cents in here.  Until you talk to someone who can make a decision don't rush it.  I have been through it twice and both times the money we were talking was not worth skipping college.  You don't need an advisor unless you have someone that fits that bill already until you are talking to decision makers consistently.  One scout will not constitute that.  I'm not being mean just being honest as I was where you are.  You will get an MLB questionnaire and team questionnaires if there is legitimate interest.  My last son got them from 15 teams.  Your son will need to fill them out and be honest.

As to the contact with high level teams, take all the help he will give you but as has been said if he not a true area scout then he is probably getting kickbacks from travel teams in some form for sending players their way.  If he is legit, then he is helping both sides because he earns respect from organization for sending players and he earns your respect by getting him on a good team.  Don't get too high or too low as has been said which means don't get too excited too early and don't get too low if you don't hear from anyone for a while.  It is a process.  As a GM told me "One scout doth not a draft pick make." 

I apologize but have not had time to read the other responses.  My quick comments concern my experiences as a coach and so, take them for what they are.  I have come to the opinion that in many areas, scouts are a dime a dozen.  Naturally, parents get excited as well as players.  Where is this scout in the hierarchy of their organization?  I have had players throw bullpens, take BP, ... all because a scout wanted to see them only to then find out that this was a bird-dog scout who was working off and on for an organization or to provide information to a college.  Do your homework.  

If this scout has contacts with TB teams, is the scout affiliated with that organization?  Is that organization decent and does it have a good reputation?  Is this scout then offering lessons etc. at their new super de duper facility?  

I know my response seems callous.  I've seen the above a dozen times.  Sure there are great opportunities out there as well.  When that "scout" brings in the crosschecker who you can absolutely verify as contracted through an organization, you know you have something to get excited about.  

I'd say it doesn't really matter.  The goal is still the same.  Get better everyday.  It will happen or it won't.  My son has gotten texts from several scouts and been invited to scout workouts, but ultimately they are just opportunities and he has to get better whether for college or a draft.  We have had phone calls and meetings with several advisors but haven't selected one yet.  Some have pushed us a bit to make decisions and another one said...you can't be drafted until next summer, at that point, you need an advisor, until then, there is no rush.  He happens to be the one my son likes the best.  If you have coaches that can help you navigate important invites from things you can pass on, that is really all you need right now IMO.  That said, this is our first rodeo.

I will add some thoughts.

Only the family knows if a kid is ready for prolife straight out of HS; no travel ball coach, advisor or teacher knows your son as well. Only the family knows if he can do laundry, balance a check book, get a haircut, amuse himself, etc. - no recent "friend" has that insight. READ SOME THREADS ON THIS SITE to try to get an understanding  of prolife and ask is my kid really, really, really ready for this?

Moreover, most of these baseball people have a conflict of interest: they dont get paid unless a kid is drafted and signed. (Even my son's personal coach, who had become a family friend by the time of the draft (and remains so many years later), had a skewed perspective tilting to becoming a pro out of HS.)

Be wary of anyone who says a decision to go pro is easy; actually, the decision is easy but the ramifications, the options forgone are often hidden behind wishful thinking and cliches.

All who  receive attention/questionnaires are to be congratulated. It is affirming you're good and have potential. BUT, the decision is hard and requires a family to do the homework - not an outsider. There may come a time the outsider is needed, but not until it is determined the kid has a slot/like slot chance.

Don't fall for the urban myths; just because one family has an advisor since the kid was 9 doesn't mean a thing to you. Research and learn.

Thanks so much for this advice! My 2020 will not be going to the draft over college...no matter what. He will only be 17 when he graduates, and JUST converted to a pitcher this year (has been a catcher almost exclusively for 10 years). He's not ready to live on his own somewhere with guys in their mid-20s. He's got a great deal for college with a D1 who is excited about investing in his future and we greatly admire the coaching staff...and I want my 2020 to get his degree. 

It's just such a weird situation because these guys talk to my son instead of us (and I understand that he's got to handle this himself), but because he's 16, he doesn't know what questions to ask. So my husband and I are left with a ton of ambiguity. We just don't know how to handle the attention appropriately. When we were still recruiting, we were polite to everyone...you never know who knows who. So we wanted to be polite to the scouts but wanted to proceed wisely too. We have never done this before, and don't know what we should or shouldn't be doing. 

What we know: 

1. The scout has connected us with a very amazing opportunity for 18U summer ball with a nationally ranked team. He's meeting the coach of that team tomorrow. We are very thankful for that. 

2. The scout has connected us with a MLB Scout Team (not sure if that's what you call them) and 2020 is going to decline pursuing that opportunity, based on advise from his college coach. They told him the those MLB Scout teams for Fall Ball are more for those who aren't committed to college yet.

3. The scout has talked to his cross-checker about our 2020. 

What we don't know: 

1. Do we keep building the relationship with the area scout? We don't want to lead him along, making him think we are open to the draft, but don't want to burn bridges either. Is this a good person to know for the future? Or do we just keep to the "be polite to everyone" mantra? 

Thanks!

 

Re: scout ball.

Scout teams are (or were during our time) made up of the best of the best of the local HS players. The overwhelming majority of the older players are committed (no surprise there). There is minimal coaching, an informal atmosphere, scores are not usually kept, there may or may not be umps, opposing teams are often from JUCOs, and there are no practices. The stands are filled with scouts and college coaches (looking for the few sophomores). The cost is nominal (we paid less than $100 for the season). Attendance at games isn't mandatory as testing and football also exist.

Pitchers will throw an inning or two and games will last often as long as either team has arms. (We drove 3 hours to his first scout game and he threw a dozen pitches and was done. We stayed for six more hours and he even got a few ABs and played the field as players left.)

Imo, no coach would dissuade a kid from playing scout ball. Yes, maybe the kid catches the eyes of the scouts and maybe he gets drafted and maybe he signs. So what? It's a credit to the college coach for identifying and signing such talent. 

I have a cool picture of my son with a bunch (half dozen) of his scout buddies during a game - EVERY ONE of them got drafted (HS and/orcollege).

What a great time: the best baseball players in a region playing sandlot baseball and having fun under no pressure.

 

As for building a relationship with the AS.

If your kid heads out of his area for college, that AS's role is done and your kid will be seen by another AS. But, heck, if you like the AS then treat him like any other potential friend. 

I have kept relationships (in the sense of saying hi and sitting and gabbing with) with every AS still working the region. Some even moved up the chain and I can text or call them whenever I please (like any other friend). (It came in handy for us; son had eliminated himself from draft consideration because of his college performance. First start senior year demonstrated that he still had the tools. I called an AS who had been promoted to national cross-checker (he had become a friend) and reported about the start. Next start, the scouts began arriving  - including from the cross-checkers team.)

It's always good to keep connections.

2020twoway, if your son has not  yet signed his NLI, there is no enforceable agreement from either party. Therefore, theoretically, a coach from a different program may try to poach your son based upon what he sees at scout ball games.

See the conflict of interest and why a coach might say "stay away from that darn scout ball!"

2020two-way-parent posted:

2. The scout has connected us with a MLB Scout Team (not sure if that's what you call them) and 2020 is going to decline pursuing that opportunity, based on advise from his college coach. They told him the those MLB Scout teams for Fall Ball are more for those who aren't committed to college yet.

3. The scout has talked to his cross-checker about our 2020. 

This is a lie or the college coach doesn't know what he's talking about, which might be worse. Truthfully, unless you've been seeking out advice from his college coach he doesn't really need to know what is going on with travel ball except what his schedule is. I would keep anything scout related or draft related hush hush for now.  The MLB scout teams are among the best travel teams assembled. They are literally handpicked for major events like Jupiter and the others with 99% of  kids committed to top of the line D1s. If your son was offered this opportunity do not pass it up. It is possible that it might not have been explained properly to the college coach, but it really isn't something you need to follow up on. As long as flights, hotels, etc are in the budget - do it and do not worry about what his college coach says. If your son is good enough for these teams and is shaking hands with the right people (sounds like he is) he will always be taken care of if things go south. 

I'm a little confused with "18U travel ball" for next summer for a 2020 kid committed to a D1.   Most especially for a pitcher committed to a D1.

I'm assuming he is a legit on the payroll area scout for an MLB club. If you google the scouts name, does he show up as an area scout for the club?

The scout team can be a really good opportunity.  Regardless of the possible future college/pro decision, the scout team can offer a chance to play against the best possible competition. Most of the rest has been covered by the other posters.

Son got a call last night from an MLB area scout.  Asked him if he would like to pitch a couple innings the first of October against a local JUCO.  Also asked if he had a team for Jupiter in mid-October.

Good luck!

I would agree with this.  Scout Team for this fall is the way to go over almost any other team.  You don't need a team next summer.  Most D1 players do not play much their summer before freshman college year and if they do it is normally just a few innings. 

BTW, Scout Team is not local playing like GOOSEGG described.  They have changed and are becoming the thing now because MLB teams can pay all expenses and travel bigger than most organizations.  My son was on the Royals Scout Team that made the change and caused a somewhat riff in travel/showcase ball.  The KC Royals paid for hotels, meals, uniforms, and others stuff.  We only had to pay to get them to the tournament which is really not that bad.  This changed the view of scout teams and now others are joining because their scouts get to spend quality time with these guys and find out what they are really about while also preparing them for the future.  I think it will ultimately transform top level travel ball in the future.  These teams are beginning to play each other more and not going to as many PG and other events because they don't need to.  Their younger teams are able to help get guys recruited at top schools because of connections. 

If anybody has a chance to play on one of these true Scout Teams, you should jump on it. 

When do the kids that pitch and play fall ball usually rest their arm? We were planning to rest him September 1 - November 1, and then start slowly ramping back up to be ready for his senior year. He hasn't had a break from baseball since March and I just want to be wise with his arm. The Scout team is talking about Jupiter in October, but then he really wouldn't get a break then and needs to be strong for his senior year. Is the point of Fall Ball and Jupiter to get ready/noticed for the draft? 

baseballhs posted:

If he is committed, Jupiter is just for draft. We would have taken off Sept-Nov. and skipped Jupiter but my son was sick and missed summer.  We are going to attend Jupiter only because he rested his arm all summer. Rest is more important.

For my son, Jupiter was a reward. He had played in only one PG tournament here in Iowa, had travelled to a large number of schools, was graduating with good grades and committed to a good school. So when a coach called out of the blue and invited him to go to Jupiter, we debated, but finally agreed that a trip to Florida and the chance to play high quality baseball was a reward for a job well done for both of us.

We took off November and December.  Did not throw at all from after Jupiter to January 1 then ramped it back up.  We don't start games until Late February so 2 months to ramp back up which should be plenty of time.  Threw limited in Fall until Jupiter and threw complete game.  If not interested in draft, then don't go to Jupiter because that is the only reason to go there, IMO. 

My son got some attention in HS, we had zero idea what we were doing and really had no one to help us through it. "We" aligned with an advisor as i guess i thought there was a chance to see son drafted and get paid. The guy was worthless. That is probably not why son wasn't drafted...the signing bonus amount vs their valuation of him and Clemson were factors deterring teams from considering him. College was the best thing that happened to him. He grew up. Folks on here say ...If you are good, you will be found, it's true. He was found in Cary NC while pitching for Team USA CNT by The Boras Corp and ultimately drafted by a team with an AS that he never met. You will know when you need help, the activity will be quite evident and it will seem like a storm. Great advice above from some very knowledgeable people.

My final sentence came across harsh but didn’t mean it to.  It was a great event every time I have gone.  But if you are not being seriously scouted or considering draft It is probably a lot of money and time away from school to go. But for both of my sons who went it was a need it to parents and got a lot of exposure to scouts in a very competitive environment.   But having to miss school and Jupiter for that week is not cheap at all it is a strong consideration for everyone who goes as to is it worth the time and money   Best of the best are there and that is why pro scouts are there.  

baseballmom posted:

"Committed" means nothing til the NLI is signed. Only then has the "talk become the walk"!

This isn't true. If this were the case players would be going to showcase after showcase and emailing a new school every week and the school would have no issues with that. It still means something, you plan to attend that school and will be receiving money to go there, it just can't be finalized until November. Once you buy into the notion that your coach is planning on screwing you last minute you're just setting yourself up for failure or in the wrong place to begin with. Players need to have some confidence and feel good about their offer. Can things change before Nov? Absolutely, but it is still a commitment that very much means something. For every horror story about pulled scholarships there are way more where the kid signed his NLI for the right amount. If you buy into the notion that the commitment means nothing, then the NLI means nothing. Then the roster spot means nothing. Then the commitment didn't mean anything until he graduated or was drafted. This is why finding the right fit and feeling good about your situation is more important than the name of the school or the conf they play in. 

LOTS of very good advice from several above.  I have not posted on here in a while, so this is going to be long.  My thoughts, for the most part, align with the advice given by Goosegg, Pitchingfan, Shoveit and others.  I do have one feeling that I have not heard expressed above.  When my son went through the process, I was also of the mindset that he was not going in the draft unless they offered him a ridiculous amount of money to buy out his LSU scholarship.  My assumption at the time, was he is committed to a traditional powerhouse with a PC that had 15 years MLB coaching experience, he would be better off in college being “watched” over as he matured and learned to become a young man.  He filled out questionnaires from 20+ MLB teams and had in-home visits from at least 8-10 teams.  He got injured April 10 of his senior season, and the professional contact dried up IMMEDIATELY.  I’m not saying I definitely would change anything, but knowing what I know now, I can ASSURE you that I would very strongly consider recommending a pitcher to go pro out of HS over college.  Obviously, each kid is different.  My thoughts and arguments were the same as the MANY I have read here about maturity.  I don’t think most realized just how much “maturity” it takes to succeed at a program like LSU (or the many other high profile D1 powerhouses).  These schools EXPECT to be in Omaha each year.  There is a TON of pressure placed on the player, more than anyone can explain unless they have been there and done that.  You will get your opportunity, but if you don’t perform for whatever reason, you will find the end of the bench and may not get another chance for 2 weeks.  Then when you finally get the chance, just imaging the stress / pressure you place on yourself to be PERFECT.  If you succeed, all that does is give you the opportunity to get another chance.  If you are not successful and this doesn’t happen, you are back on the end of the bench.  This process continues throughout the year and either you are asked to not come back at the end of the season or you get back on the merry-go round.  Then, don’t forget they have recruited 8-10 more stud pitchers that you have to fight through.  LSU typically carried 17-20 pitchers.  Of those, 8-10 got 90% of the innings.  We are fortunate that my son was one of those guys.

The most eye-opening thing for me was just how little instruction guys receive in college at this level.  If you were not the weekend starter, you were on your own for the most part.  PC would watch you throw a BP, but VERY LITTLE instruction.  The weekend starters and maybe one closer garnered all the PC time and attention.  I know this is not limited to LSU.  I have had many, many discussions with friends and people I have met that leads me to believe my son’s experience was the rule, not the exception.  Does my son regret his decision to go to LSU?  ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!  He got experienced that very few pitchers get.  He closed out games in the SEC Championship.  He started a regional game.  He pitched in the finals of the CWS in Omaha.  He played with and against some of the absolute best baseball players in the country.  What I am saying is to make a statement like “my son is not entering the draft no matter what” may not be the smartest thought process.  I can promise you that if I had known then what I know now, I would most likely have steered my son into the MLB draft.  Again, all guys are different, but this is just my son’s experience.  He has THRIVED in professional baseball.  He went from a guy that was barely used as a freshman to a pitcher at LSU that was caught between a starter and a reliever.  He was told he was too valuable out of the bullpen to make him a starter, but called on for spot starts when the team or situation needed it.  That’s okay.  I understand the team comes before the individual.  But, i also know that it cost my son hundreds of thousands of dollars as well.  The pro guys saw him as a starter, but his college coach just would never give him that opportunity.  So after his redshirt sophomore year, he opted for professional baseball.

He is finishing up his first full season in professional baseball.  I’m telling you he has improved and grown as a pitcher more than I could have ever imagined.  So yes, it does make a dad sit back and wonder “what if”.  If he had been in a professional system for the last 4 years instead of 1 1/2, where would he be potentially?  I hope this post does not come across as sour grapes, I certainly did not mean for it to.  LSU was the absolute best 3 years of my life, and I would assume my son would say the same thing.  I would not trade that experience for anything, but that does not change the fact that I see things in a different light today than I did 4 years ago.  My point in this post is to let others that are beginning their journey with a talented player, listen to ALL opinions.  In the end, you have to make the best decision for your son and your family.  But like has been stated above, every piece of advice you receive comes with conflict of interest.  The scouts want the best players and the college coach wants to protect his investment.  You will rarely get the two sides to give you the same opinion.  YOU are the only one that has your son’s best interest 100% at heart.

 

younggun posted:

LOTS of very good advice from several above.  I have not posted on here in a while, so this is going to be long.  My thoughts, for the most part, align with the advice given by Goosegg, Pitchingfan, Shoveit and others.  I do have one feeling that I have not heard expressed above.  When my son went through the process, I was also of the mindset that he was not going in the draft unless they offered him a ridiculous amount of money to buy out his LSU scholarship.  My assumption at the time, was he is committed to a traditional powerhouse with a PC that had 15 years MLB coaching experience, he would be better off in college being “watched” over as he matured and learned to become a young man.  He filled out questionnaires from 20+ MLB teams and had in-home visits from at least 8-10 teams.  He got injured April 10 of his senior season, and the professional contact dried up IMMEDIATELY.  I’m not saying I definitely would change anything, but knowing what I know now, I can ASSURE you that I would very strongly consider recommending a pitcher to go pro out of HS over college.  Obviously, each kid is different.  My thoughts and arguments were the same as the MANY I have read here about maturity.  I don’t think most realized just how much “maturity” it takes to succeed at a program like LSU (or the many other high profile D1 powerhouses).  These schools EXPECT to be in Omaha each year.  There is a TON of pressure placed on the player, more than anyone can explain unless they have been there and done that.  You will get your opportunity, but if you don’t perform for whatever reason, you will find the end of the bench and may not get another chance for 2 weeks.  Then when you finally get the chance, just imaging the stress / pressure you place on yourself to be PERFECT.  If you succeed, all that does is give you the opportunity to get another chance.  If you are not successful and this doesn’t happen, you are back on the end of the bench.  This process continues throughout the year and either you are asked to not come back at the end of the season or you get back on the merry-go round.  Then, don’t forget they have recruited 8-10 more stud pitchers that you have to fight through.  LSU typically carried 17-20 pitchers.  Of those, 8-10 got 90% of the innings.  We are fortunate that my son was one of those guys.

The most eye-opening thing for me was just how little instruction guys receive in college at this level.  If you were not the weekend starter, you were on your own for the most part.  PC would watch you throw a BP, but VERY LITTLE instruction.  The weekend starters and maybe one closer garnered all the PC time and attention.  I know this is not limited to LSU.  I have had many, many discussions with friends and people I have met that leads me to believe my son’s experience was the rule, not the exception.  Does my son regret his decision to go to LSU?  ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!  He got experienced that very few pitchers get.  He closed out games in the SEC Championship.  He started a regional game.  He pitched in the finals of the CWS in Omaha.  He played with and against some of the absolute best baseball players in the country.  What I am saying is to make a statement like “my son is not entering the draft no matter what” may not be the smartest thought process.  I can promise you that if I had known then what I know now, I would most likely have steered my son into the MLB draft.  Again, all guys are different, but this is just my son’s experience.  He has THRIVED in professional baseball.  He went from a guy that was barely used as a freshman to a pitcher at LSU that was caught between a starter and a reliever.  He was told he was too valuable out of the bullpen to make him a starter, but called on for spot starts when the team or situation needed it.  That’s okay.  I understand the team comes before the individual.  But, i also know that it cost my son hundreds of thousands of dollars as well.  The pro guys saw him as a starter, but his college coach just would never give him that opportunity.  So after his redshirt sophomore year, he opted for professional baseball.

He is finishing up his first full season in professional baseball.  I’m telling you he has improved and grown as a pitcher more than I could have ever imagined.  So yes, it does make a dad sit back and wonder “what if”.  If he had been in a professional system for the last 4 years instead of 1 1/2, where would he be potentially?  I hope this post does not come across as sour grapes, I certainly did not mean for it to.  LSU was the absolute best 3 years of my life, and I would assume my son would say the same thing.  I would not trade that experience for anything, but that does not change the fact that I see things in a different light today than I did 4 years ago.  My point in this post is to let others that are beginning their journey with a talented player, listen to ALL opinions.  In the end, you have to make the best decision for your son and your family.  But like has been stated above, every piece of advice you receive comes with conflict of interest.  The scouts want the best players and the college coach wants to protect his investment.  You will rarely get the two sides to give you the same opinion.  YOU are the only one that has your son’s best interest 100% at heart.

 

Thank you for sharing.  This is a prospective I haven't heard.  The college coaches break it all down and steer you to college and as a parent, it is a scary process to "throw your kid to the wolves".   I have been of the mindset that unless it is very very high number, college is the best option.  It is good to hear from someone who has gone through the whole process.

BaseballHS, that is exactly where I was in 2015.  Again, I’m not saying that I absolutely would have done anything different.  Due to my son’s injury as a senior, I am glad he had his scholarship to LSU.  It made his decision very easy at that time.  Had he not suffered the injury, obviously I cannot predict what would have happened, but who knows.  Most likely he would have still gone to LSU because dad was pushing him that way for all the reasons you all have expressed.  With my experience now, all I’m saying is I would not have been so 100% college ball and “no way” to pro ball.

I will agree with you YOUNGGUN.  My middle son was the kid who was mid 90's as a high school LHP.  He got interest in draft in HS but many could not decide if he was a hitter or a pitcher.  6'3" 235 who hit with incredible power from left side and great skills at 1st.  Went to the Citadel and lost speed each year he was there.  Ended up being upper 80's by his senior year.  Never hit a pitch even though he was told he would be a two-way player.  He led them in HR's every fall but never got to hit in the spring.  PC was a power pitcher.  He just had the philosophy of throw it hard and let it go.  They threw less bullpens than when he was in HS and he threw less.  He was the Saturday starter as a freshman and then bounced back and forth between the Saturday/Sunday starter and middle reliever.  Whatever they felt they needed most at the time.  I think if I had known how it was truly going to be I would have pushed him into the draft out of HS even though we loved his time at the Citadel.

My younger son was different.  Great bat with power but is a switch hitter.  Upper 80's touching low 90's with great control of four pitches at any time in any count.  It will be interesting to see the differences in them as he progresses.   Younger son is also being considered 2-way but the difference already is he is getting time in the cages.  He knows to get at bats he will have to outwork every other hitter to even get a chance.

And to Pitchingfan’s point, my entire diatribe was for pitchers ONLY.  My son is extremely athletic and was a good hitter in HS, just not a great one.  From what I have seen, I think I would push my position player toward college.  But, I never faced that road so I cannot speak with authority about that.  I can assure you I am not a lone wolf on this.  Most just cannot or will not speak out because of the small world baseball is.  My son is at a place where my comments cannot really hurt of jeopardize him now.  I will say this once again and for the LAST time.  I am not against college ball in ANY WAY. I still love LSU baseball and follow them and keep up with all the guys.  This year will be the last that any of the guys that played with my son will be there, but I will always have a place in my heart for LSU baseball.

Yup, thank you YG....he’s fine and they are flying him up to NY tonight to pitch live BP to Cano who is coming back from rehab. Should be in arizona in a few weeks through October and hopefully get the call to spring training with the big boys in January, that’s his goal. 

Well said about instruction at the college level...I concur with your assessment. Don’t be mislead into thinking that you’ll be given extraordinary amounts of time to develop Into your full potential..it just doesn’t work that way. Show up, work and perform when given the opp...then factor in the seniority/experience factor and say a few prayers. So many guys just get lost in college and they are very good pitchers/athletes.

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