Let's say a kid is on varsity his sophomore year and doesn't play much. Doesn't play travel ball in the summer but plays with his HS summer team. Then he breaks out and has a huge junior year, but does the same thing again next summer, not playing travel ball. What are the chances of this kid getting recruited? Is travel ball a must for being recruited nowadays? 

Original Post

Welcome to the site.  You'll find a lot of help here from people who have already been through this, some several times.  

We're in the middle of the process for the first time with our 2017 son.  In his case, I don't know that travel ball is a must, but the kid has to play in settings where coaches will be there to see him.  For us that means targeting a few showcases and, if interest is demonstrated, some specific college camps.  I suspect if my son had a chance, or the will, to join a good travel team, that might take the place of some of the showcases and camps (but not all).  Just our plan; there's a lot of options. 

As my son is entering his junior year I am of the opinion that showcases and travel ball that targets showcases are a good avenue to get noticed by college scouts.   My son attended a Complete Showcase in Houston a few months ago and there were 39 college coaches from D1 to NAIA.  

Another avenue is to make small clips of a player batting, pitching, catching, hitting and email college coaches directly.   This is the cheapest way to go obviously.  I know a local kid that was recruited to a large D1 as a pitcher and played nothing but American legion.  I'm sure his 90 mph fastball had something to do with it.  

Depends. He has to be seen at some point by someone (college coach) who gives yes to him playing at the next level. So if the HS he goes to is a powerhouse that has lots of boys go to college then he might be seen at HS games, but generally college coaches don't go to random HS games. They are in season and are only going to the ones where they have a specific interest.

If he has incredibly dominate tools of some sort (speed  running, velocity as a pitcher, hitting with power) then maybe. But ultimately he needs to be seen by decision makers and then stand out among that group.

Lots of ways to get there. The more the tools the less exposure needed.

As a college coach (I am not), I would be wondering what a young man that wants to play in college was doing in summer that was more important that being on a summer team. There are LOTS of reasons (has to work to help family, cost of travel ball, etc.). But college ball takes effort. Lots of off season and off the field training. I would be looking for someone who is willing to put in that time. Not playing summer ball would make me wonder. If the player stood out to me in some manner I might investigate further, if not, I would go on to the player who demonstrates same type of skills and I can see that trait easily as well.

There are MANY levels of summer travel ball. It is not necessary to travel the country or even multiple states to play college ball at some level. My son who is playing D1 at a mid major, rarely traveled outside a 90 minute drive time. Maybe twice a year and those were to neighboring states. But there is 11 D1 colleges in our state, and maybe 40 college baseball teams, so we could localize and still be seen. Lots of very high profile tournaments were played within that 90 mile range

Ultimately he has to be seen in some manner or other.Target schools he would be interested in and develop a plan to do that. 

 

I never thought I'd see this title for a thread on here.  Kudos!  Its a great question that shoulda been asked before...just don't recall ever seeing it.  Usually, its the opposite, 'Is HS ball a necessity?'

My short answer is 'no, not a necessity' but in general its a good idea.  Our older son was gonna get recruited whether he played travel ball or not, but it sure increased his opportunities. Our younger son was gonna get recruited by at least someone local, but travel ball together with having a nationally recognized HS coach in a nationally recognized HS program widened his visibility too.  Bottom line, in his case he had both a HS coach and a well respected travel coach in his corner - it helped.  No doubt about it.
High quality travel ball is a place to be seen with and against other high quality players.  More scouts/coaches show up to these games.  It increases the 'touch points' and thus the opportunities.  But maybe you and your son are happy with University-X which is just down the street?

And they are right above, you could grab the attention of more coaches by doing a couple well targeted showcases too.

You need to figure out what situation your son is in, you are in (financially, family obligations, targeted schools) and create and execute a plan.

Good luck!

Last edited by justbaseball

Boy, is this a loaded question!  but a good one as Justbaseball said.  Whether it's a necessity or not depends on a lot of things-   does your son know where he wants to go?  how long is his list?  Does he want to stay local or does he want to expand his geography?  How connected is his HS coach and does he promote his players?   I can tell you in our case, travel ball helped tremendously.  We rarely see a college coach at our regular season games, we are a 'northern' area, and our HS season is only 18-20 games depending on weather.   Our HS coach doesn't view promotion of players as his responsibility- which is fine I guess, it's not what he's paid to do.  So in our area, and for our situation, I'd say yes, travel ball at some level is a necessity.    Others with prominent HS baseball programs, in "baseball" areas probably would differ in opinion.   

Just my two cents-

 

 

I agree with the above posts on exposure through travel ball, but they all assume the player is already "good enough" for the exposure?  How do most kids get "good enough"?  They play travel ball.  From a young age.

Here's the thing on travel ball.  If you want to play in college you need to find a few travel teams and do some homework. Find out where they get their other players, are they a local travel team or a national team.  Talk to other parents and coaches in your area the teams are not hard to find.

Then go talk to the travel team coaches and request a try-out. See where you stack up?  Are you better of playing for travel team A or travel team B or travel team C ?  Because you need to make sure you are playing and not funding....

Compare the schedules of the travel teams, look at what that TT is asking of you in terms of money, time, travel .  Find the team that fits your abilities.  

Do this every year and do not commit to more than a year on any team. I promise you they are not holding a spot for you except in the current year.

Get an unbiased opinion from a good source.... define your target schools based on can you attend if baseball is gone.  can you afford the school if baseball is gone?

Keep asking people on the board questions.

Last edited by bacdorslider

Also the problem with the OP idea , of breaking out is so subjective it's no help to the player.   IF money is an issue most travel teams have a little set aside to help players in need... especially if you throw 90 or hit 400 foot shots       I have never seen a travel team or travel org turn down a player  because he could not afford it.

A young man from our county played college ball without playing on his public high school baseball team in recent years. He played only travel ball.

BACKDOORSLIDER hits on something important.  The travel team you play on is just as important as playing travel ball.  If you are playing in a lower level program that does not do much to develop players and does not work to get them seen by the right folks, you might be better off not playing travel ball.  Conversely if you are in the right program that knows how to get kids noticed and plays in the right places, it can open up avenues for your son that would not normally be there.  Do you homework on your summer travel program.  

Camm posted:

A young man from our county played college ball without playing on his public high school baseball team in recent years. He played only travel ball.

Boom!  There it is.

bacdorslider - the issue I would have with your first response is that it is just not true for a group of high schools where our kids grew up.  I certainly would not say its a waste of time for kids at those schools - but it is not a 'necessity' for many of them.  I have seen as many as 30 scouts at HS games in a certain HS league that has produced hundreds of college players...and some big leaguers too.

(Full disclosure: Our younger son played in that league, our older one did not).

I think there are other areas of the country where this may be true as well...SoCal, FL, etc...  Again, I am not recommending to not play travel ball, but rather to understand the situation your son and your family is in and how that relates to your finances, your willingness to 'travel' and the rest of your family's obligations.

Both of our sons would have played D1 baseball without travel ball.  Still, they both did play travel ball at a very high level - Why? - we had the resources and we enjoyed it and in the end it widened the range of interested colleges.  And frankly, like most dads I suppose, I was nervous about what might not happen if our sons did not.  But still, it was not a 'necessity.'

Last edited by justbaseball
D17 posted:

Let's say a kid is on varsity his sophomore year and doesn't play much. Doesn't play travel ball in the summer but plays with his HS summer team. Then he breaks out and has a huge junior year, but does the same thing again next summer, not playing travel ball. What are the chances of this kid getting recruited? Is travel ball a must for being recruited nowadays? 

If he has some great games in front of the right people (right place, right time), sure... There's a chance... A slim chance -  but still a chance.

Why take slim-chances though?

 

justbaseball posted:
Camm posted:

A young man from our county played college ball without playing on his public high school baseball team in recent years. He played only travel ball.

Boom!  There it is.

bacdorslider - the issue I would have with your first response is that it is just not true for a group of high schools where our kids grew up.  I certainly would not say its a waste of time for kids at those schools - but it is not a 'necessity' for many of them.  I have seen as many as 30 scouts at HS games in a certain HS league that has produced hundreds of college players...and some big leaguers too.

(Full disclosure: Our younger son played in that league, our older one did not).

I think there are other areas of the country where this may be true as well...SoCal, FL, etc...  Again, I am not recommending to not play travel ball, but rather to understand the situation your son and your family is in and how that relates to your finances, your willingness to 'travel' and the rest of your family's obligations.

Both of our sons would have played D1 baseball without travel ball.  Still, they both did play travel ball at a very high level - Why? - we had the resources and we enjoyed it and in the end it widened the range of interested colleges.  But it was not a 'necessity.'

Justbaseball,   I agree its not a necessity in the definition... but like anything else you should use all the resources available to you.  Ones decision not to play travel ball should not be based on the fact that it's not a necessity .  I think everyone understands that you do not have to play travel ball to play in college but travel ball ( exposure you would not get other wise) will help your chances and give you more opportunities.

No it is not a necessity.  Exposure to college recruiters and the baseball establishment  is a necessity.  Today, travel baseball is the most traveled path for that exposure.  The big question is how much exposure is needed for a particular recruit for a particular college and understanding the barriers.

JMO

fenwaysouth posted:

No it is not a necessity.  Exposure to college recruiters and the baseball establishment  is a necessity.  Today, travel baseball is the most traveled path for that exposure.  The big question is how much exposure is needed for a particular recruit for a particular college and understanding the barriers.

JMO

Aha!  Straight to the point and far more concise that what I said.

Nice job fenway! 

Nothing is absolutely necessary!  Players have reached the very highest level taking many different paths.

The thing that is vitally important is having the required talent and visibility.  One without the other doesn't work.  

It doesn't really matter whether the player wants to stay local for college or travel across the country.  The more interest a player creates the better opportunities he will have.  So if the local college is offering 25%, what would they offer if you were being recruited by several other colleges?  

Years ago in our home state (Iowa) most every talented player would end up at a state school.  Mostly because the high school season was in the summer rather than spring.  Most Iowa kids never left the state to compete. The state colleges could sign them for very little money or offer preferred walk on and get them.  Now those top kids are playing all over the country against the best competition.  Now the best talent from Iowa ends up at places like Southern Cal, Florida, Baylor, North Carolina, Stanford, etc.  If Iowa wants them they have to compete and fork out an attractive offer.

I use the above as an example, but it is true everywhere.  It's really simple... The more people who know who you are and like what they see... The more valuable your talent becomes.  Others might get disagree, but we see it over and over every year.

I actually see it differently than some.  Often I hear this said... If you are a stud you don't need to do anything.  To me it should be... If you lack talent there is no need to do anything.  The player with exceptional talent needs to be seen as much as possible.  He needs to be seen competing against the best possible competition.

Do the research!  Look at the first round picks or those that committed to top college programs. These would usually be consider the top prospects.  Find out what they did while in high school.  Regarding this topic, find out if they played "Travel Baseball" and at what level of Travel Baseball. Almost all of them do!

So is Travel Ball a necessity?  No, only necessity is having the required talent and making sure people know it.  If they know it they will make sure they go to see it.  All baseball levels are important and all situations are different.  But I would have to think long and hard before recruiting a player that is taking the summer off.  Last time I looked, the summer was smack dab in the middle of baseball season!  If you're a good player, you should make the most out of the summer.  For the majority of top HS players that does involve Travel Baseball.

I think travel is essential especially if the goal is to play top flight ball at the next level. But for the reasons you might think. The question you ask sounds as though you are focused on the exposure element and that question has been addressed throughout the thread.

To me, almost as important as exposure is the quality of competition question. In our experiences, playing travel ball, REAL travel ball is about kids getting an opportunity to play the game against the best possible competition. I argue that high school baseball, outside of a few markets (mostly in the Southern tier), the quality of high school baseball competition is really diluted and the caliber of the game is lowered. Showing out in the spring is irrelevant as a predictor of future competitiveness. 

By contrast, going to travel tournaments (especially Perfect Game national events) gives a kid a chance to play against other kids with his exact talents and aspirations. Personally, I found watching my son hammer a triple against a kid signed to CSU Fullerton to be more gratifying than when he went yard in the playoffs against a kid who won't be pitching at the next level. Even our local summer league, as good as it's become, doesn't forecast as well as flying to GA and facing kids who are almost uniformly D1 guys.

My son has travelled (again, REAL travel) to five major events since 9th grade. Every time he made an all-tournament team, he brought something intangible back that lead to his recruitment and being named Captain of his HS team. So yes, those travel experiences were indispensible to his development.

First, I'm defining travel as high level competition, not community based. I'm also discussing starting from the high school level and college exposure.

Is travel ball a necessity? No. Is it the advised path? It depends on what a player is looking for in his future for baseball. I don't believe a D3 prospect has to play travel. He needs to attend the appropriate showcases or camps for exposure. 

A D1 and D2 prospect is going to get better exposure through playing travel. If a player aspires to play locally he may get away with not playing travel.

i saw two pluses to playing travel. Exposure is the obvious benefit. The other major benefit is being around such a level of talent on the team and on the field it pushes the player beyond what he may otherwise be pushed.

My son was his high school team's stud. When he played Legion after his senior year of high school he was his team's stud. On his travel team he couldn't physically or mentally rest for a second for fear of losing his position. The talent difference between players three and the end of the roster was very small.

In the opposing dugout was top talent game after game. He constantly faced 87-92. There was never a cream puff pitcher on the mound like high school and Legion.

I strongly feel playing 16u after freshman year of high school had a lot to do with him being the first soph opening day starter in six years at his high school. From playing on the 16u team he was invited to play for an 18u showcase team before he ever stepped on a high school varsity field.

I convinced the dad of one of the high school players to attend one of my son's scout league games. His response? "OMG! I didn't believe there were this many high school players playing at this level." I responded, "Yep! My son is a face in the crowd on this field."

 

Last edited by RJM

RJM and Tres Arboles comments are very to the point, and one I hadn't thought of much before.  I was glad my son was selected for a very good team, but I hadn't fully considered the effect on his play.  Last year my son started in centerfield as a soph, hit at the bottom of the order, and actually had a decent, but not spectacular year at the plate, and an excellent year in the field (which is what they expected from him in the first place).  Then he joined his travel team, with many of the best players around the state, and found himself scrambling to stay on the field.  Once he managed that, he raised his batting average substantially against pitching that was much better than what he saw in his school league.  So, there are multiple benefits to playing with better players around you, whether it's for a travel team or not.

fenwaysouth posted:

No it is not a necessity.  Exposure to college recruiters and the baseball establishment  is a necessity.  Today, travel baseball is the most traveled path for that exposure.  The big question is how much exposure is needed for a particular recruit for a particular college and understanding the barriers.

JMO

And I'll simply add that exposure can depend a lot on just where you're located and the level of competition in the local community.

Getting the best exposure for the least amount of money/effort is to compete against the highest level of competition.  Kids from small schools often get recruited by coaches/scouts coming out to see the opposing team. Travel or HS, if your team doesn't compete against good competition, there won't be anyone at the games to find out who your kid is.  That's the athletic director's job to schedule games against big schools.  And if the team or your kid is able to play in tournaments, he'll most likely get noticed if he's good.  He doesn't need to get noticed by a college coach or pro scout.  It can be a local coach who gets the word out.  We have a tallish basketball player, senior, who's scoring 25ppg for us who gets a lot of attention at tournaments from other coaches and recruiters.  TBH he's not even that good as it's only his second year ever playing basketball but on our team he stands out.  If he had better grades he would have a scholarship by now.  

RJM posted:

First, I'm defining travel as high level competition, not community based. I'm also discussing starting from the high school level and college exposure.

Is travel ball a necessity? No. Is it the advised path? It depends on what a player is looking for in his future for baseball. I don't believe a D3 prospect has to play travel. He needs to attend the appropriate showcases or camps for exposure. 

A D1 and D2 prospect is going to get better exposure through playing travel.

This is a question I have thought about a lot, and I think RJM sums up my thoughts very succinctly here.

Travel Ball can be very very expensive.  And it seems like everyone and their Grandma is starting a Travel Program these days.   A vast majority of these teams are filled with future D3 talent and they play other teams filled with future D3 talent, and the programs cost $2500+ plus gas & hotels etc.  if not more

Travel Ball can be fun, no doubt.  Staying in hotels with teammates, fancy uniforms, playing tournaments etc.   If money is no object, then the "fun" aspect of Travel Ball might be worth it regardless.   To me it is only worth the expense if you are playing on one of the top travel teams that features mostly D1 talent and plays against mostly D1 talent.

For the rising Freshman or rising Sophomore, if you are not good enough to make a top team of future D1 talent, then the $$$ you would have spent on a D3 level Travel Team would be much better spent on training to help you have a better chance of making a Top Team at tryouts a year later.  Focus on your weaknesses that prevented you from being selected for a top team whether that be Speed & Agility training, strength training, hitting, pitching etc.   You will have money left over to spend on an academic tutor or two.  Great grades and good Baseball skills can get you noticed at a Showcase such as Headfirst much more than good grades and great Baseball skills at a local D3 Travel Ball Tournament.

I wouldn't advise taking a summer off if you love the game.   Play in a local summer league, play Legion Ball, go to some college camps, go to a Showcase or three and do the training, all for the same cost of playing 2 months worth of local/regional tournaments and weekly winter practices with a lower level team.   You'll be in a better position to compete for a spot on a higher level team a year later....

If you get to your rising Junior year and especially rising Senior summer and the game is continuing to tell you that you just are not a D1 talent, well that is different, then play for a 17U team that plays more D3 level tournaments, but earlier on in High School I think it can be a waste of money playing for lower level Travel teams

Just my 2 cents

 

Also, a top level team is different than a top level organization.  My son played for a couple different organizations from 10U-14U.  I started a team for his 15U/16U summers with kids we knew /  had met the previous years.  Good coaches (former MILB guy).  We were very good....won 4 of 7 tourneys....34-7 record  and won a big tourney at the end of the year that nobody would have given us a shot at if you'd have asked in June.  That team (we carried 12-13 regulars plus some sub pitchers) ended up having 5 D1's (3 regulars), 4 D2's (all regulars) and 4 Juco kids.  BUT....it took until the last week of the 16U summer until the first real college contact for any of them.  The team split up due to football and the different levels of desire that our kids had.  7 went to a big organization here in Ohio...2 ended up at D2's and the other  5 got immediate D1 attention early the next summer (rising senior) and all 7 had committed by the end of July....B1G, Big 12,  ACC, MAC (2)...another could have played D1 but joined the Marines after HS.    The funny thing is, I ran into a well known area college/hs baseball guy the next year and he commented ....."man, that 15U/16U team you guys had was loaded"   I guess my point is, we had a great team at 15/16....but we were new and not part of a well known organization.  I really believe if we'd have kept those guys together and just wore the jerseys of a big name org that we'd have had another 3 or 4 of those guys end up at D1's.

Buckeye 2015 posted:

Also, a top level team is different than a top level organization. 

Yes.  Some top level organizations make you sign an agreement prior to tryouts stating that you will agree to play for the organization and will be financially liable for the fees if chosen for the program.   Then they put you on the B Team or C Team or D Team, you pay the full freight and play the D3 tournaments....

3and2Fastball posted:
RJM posted:

First, I'm defining travel as high level competition, not community based. I'm also discussing starting from the high school level and college exposure.

Is travel ball a necessity? No. Is it the advised path? It depends on what a player is looking for in his future for baseball. I don't believe a D3 prospect has to play travel. He needs to attend the appropriate showcases or camps for exposure. 

A D1 and D2 prospect is going to get better exposure through playing travel.

This is a question I have thought about a lot, and I think RJM sums up my thoughts very succinctly here.

Travel Ball can be very very expensive.  And it seems like everyone and their Grandma is starting a Travel Program these days.   A vast majority of these teams are filled with future D3 talent and they play other teams filled with future D3 talent, and the programs cost $2500+ plus gas & hotels etc.  if not more

Travel Ball can be fun, no doubt.  Staying in hotels with teammates, fancy uniforms, playing tournaments etc.   If money is no object, then the "fun" aspect of Travel Ball might be worth it regardless.   To me it is only worth the expense if you are playing on one of the top travel teams that features mostly D1 talent and plays against mostly D1 talent.

For the rising Freshman or rising Sophomore, if you are not good enough to make a top team of future D1 talent, then the $$$ you would have spent on a D3 level Travel Team would be much better spent on training to help you have a better chance of making a Top Team at tryouts a year later.  Focus on your weaknesses that prevented you from being selected for a top team whether that be Speed & Agility training, strength training, hitting, pitching etc.   You will have money left over to spend on an academic tutor or two.  Great grades and good Baseball skills can get you noticed at a Showcase such as Headfirst much more than good grades and great Baseball skills at a local D3 Travel Ball Tournament.

I wouldn't advise taking a summer off if you love the game.   Play in a local summer league, play Legion Ball, go to some college camps, go to a Showcase or three and do the training, all for the same cost of playing 2 months worth of local/regional tournaments and weekly winter practices with a lower level team.   You'll be in a better position to compete for a spot on a higher level team a year later....

If you get to your rising Junior year and especially rising Senior summer and the game is continuing to tell you that you just are not a D1 talent, well that is different, then play for a 17U team that plays more D3 level tournaments, but earlier on in High School I think it can be a waste of money playing for lower level Travel teams

Just my 2 cents

 

After having gone through the process over the last 3-4 years-  son is now off to his summer before entering freshman year- I've had a few parents of some younger players ask for my advice on this topic, and the whole recruiting process in general.  I struggle a bit with the travel ball scene.    obviously, there are many options, and some are better than others, but the statement above got me thinking.  Are there really any top travel teams that feature mostly D1 level talent that truly "play mostly against D1 talent".    Obviously there are a handful of the very top travel teams that have mostly D1 talent, but when they travel do they really play against teams of their same caliber a majority of the time?    It seems that the travel ball circuit has become so popular, and thus a bit watered down from the talent perspective, that these top level teams may be playing inferior talent a majority of the time?    I don't know, looking for perspective here.    If I am correct, is it truly worth the time and expense to play for one of the elite teams?   

Are the Top Level teams playing against inferior talent a majority of the time?   I don't know.   It is a good question.  It certainly happens some of the time for sure.

Perhaps a few people can weigh in on that....

When you say top D1 talent playing other top D1 talent.  It is VERY possible they play not D1 talent in pool play but after those 2 games you are playing against the other people that won their pool and they aren't going to be push over teams. They will be D1 talent playing against D1 talent.

I've seen the hopeful kids who come to HS baseball tryouts thinking it would be fun to play baseball in high school, but they are up against a legion of travel ball kids and they don't make the first cut.  Several travel ball kids don't even make it through the first cut.  I can't see a kid making his HS team without travel ball at my son's school.

Also, a lot depends on the HS you attend, the league you play in, etc.  My son never had one college coach come see him in HS, heck, I can count on one hand how many college coaches I saw at his games his entire HS career.  We are in a small town in an area that other than 1 HS doesn't produce D1 players.  The D3 schools in the area are just ok.  If you're a starter in HS and an average player, you can play college baseball within 45 minutes of home if you want to at one of these schools.   The options for summer ball for a HS kid are 1) travel ball with no quality organization within 75 miles  2) Legion which is awful in this area other than 1 team  3) Acme, which is a month long season that is played by HS teams....incoming freshmen-juniors.  It's glorified LL in most cases....again, except for a couple schools that take it serious (our HS wasn't one of them).  I can guarantee you that my son would never have ended up at D1 if he hadn't played travel ball.  I know it's not like this everywhere, people need to determine based on their own area and HS program

Buckeye 2015 posted:

Also, a lot depends on the HS you attend, the league you play in, etc.  My son never had one college coach come see him in HS, heck, I can count on one hand how many college coaches I saw at his games his entire HS career.  We are in a small town in an area that other than 1 HS doesn't produce D1 players.  The D3 schools in the area are just ok.  If you're a starter in HS and an average player, you can play college baseball within 45 minutes of home if you want to at one of these schools.   The options for summer ball for a HS kid are 1) travel ball with no quality organization within 75 miles  2) Legion which is awful in this area other than 1 team  3) Acme, which is a month long season that is played by HS teams....incoming freshmen-juniors.  It's glorified LL in most cases....again, except for a couple schools that take it serious (our HS wasn't one of them).  I can guarantee you that my son would never have ended up at D1 if he hadn't played travel ball.  I know it's not like this everywhere, people need to determine based on their own area and HS program

I agree with you 100%.  Travel ball is a necessity if you hope to play at the college level.  Question is, at what level of team?   We are in Pittsburgh, PA.  Not a baseball hot bed either.  my son played for the same travel team from summer after his freshman year until he graduated this spring .  played in a local league that was pretty good for this area.  went to 2-3 tournaments a year, usually one in philly area, one in Raleigh NC area, and one in Michigan or at Ohio State.  the cost was $500-$700 a year depending on tournament fees.    I wouldn't consider this team an elite team, but we usually had 2 or 3 D1 commits, and just about everyone else was D2/D3.   

So, we didn't go the "Elite" national level team route, a good friend of mine's son did ( they live in Pittsburgh as well) played for a nationally well known organization for 2 or 3 years.     He ended up committing to LSU, my son ended up at Coastal Carolina.  Both kids had a number of offers.    I guess this just reinforces that there's no one single path.  If you don't have the time, money, or inclination to travel all over the country, then it's not necessary.  I'm not knocking it by any stretch, but was wondering if the competition is all that much better on a regular basis?  Is the investment worth it?

The chances of him getting recruited just playing high school ball are slim to none, even on a highly ranked team...unless he is exceptional.  HS season is the same time as college season and no one is coming to watch "Junior" play unless they are a local school. Summer Travel ball is where he needs to be and preferably on one with connections because alot of recruiting, I hate to say it, is "who you know" or "who your coach knows.  

Last edited by JLC
Travel Ball can be very very expensive.  And it seems like everyone and their Grandma is starting a Travel Program these days.   A vast majority of these teams are filled with future D3 talent and they play other teams filled with future D3 talent, and the programs cost $2500+ plus gas & hotels etc.  if not more

Travel Ball can be fun, no doubt.  Staying in hotels with teammates, fancy uniforms, playing tournaments etc.   If money is no object, then the "fun" aspect of Travel Ball might be worth it regardless.   To me it is only worth the expense if you are playing on one of the top travel teams that features mostly D1 talent and plays against mostly D1 talent.

For the rising Freshman or rising Sophomore, if you are not good enough to make a top team of future D1 talent, then the $$$ you would have spent on a D3 level Travel Team would be much better spent on training to help you have a better chance of making a Top Team at tryouts a year later.  Focus on your weaknesses that prevented you from being selected for a top team whether that be Speed & Agility training, strength training, hitting, pitching etc.   You will have money left over to spend on an academic tutor or two.  Great grades and good Baseball skills can get you noticed at a Showcase such as Headfirst much more than good grades and great Baseball skills at a local D3 Travel Ball Tournament.

I wouldn't advise taking a summer off if you love the game.   Play in a local summer league, play Legion Ball, go to some college camps, go to a Showcase or three and do the training, all for the same cost of playing 2 months worth of local/regional tournaments and weekly winter practices with a lower level team.   You'll be in a better position to compete for a spot on a higher level team a year later....

If you get to your rising Junior year and especially rising Senior summer and the game is continuing to tell you that you just are not a D1 talent, well that is different, then play for a 17U team that plays more D3 level tournaments, but earlier on in High School I think it can be a waste of money playing for lower level Travel teams 

Good points. This is close to my experience and general observations after my son, just graduated HS and enroute, he hopes, to play club baseball at an ACC D1 school, but after going through travel baseball from 2009-2016.

My son played on local, then semi-prestigious, then a prestigious travel program. Fall 2015. Great team, loaded with several low-D1 and rest D2 and D3 players. But Summer 2016, before his senior HS year, my son got demoted to the program's B team when the former B team catcher got promoted to the A team. Pretty much because the other catcher had a cannon arm...and it turned out...that's about it. 

The B team had several D3 players and 1-2 D2, but was a cut below and 2-3 cuts below on coaching and college connections.

So, we spent a lot of money on travel teams, uniforms, lessons, hotels, food, gas, etc. over the years. But those were mostly GREAT times on the road with my son, and we could afford it. In the end, my son got D3 interest but at the end of the day, he's 5'10" 180 with a 2 to 2.1 pop-time. Strictly D3-level, and he wants the big in-state D1 experience. I'm very happy for him.

After that somewhat bad B team experience, he "dropped down" to a local travel program that was full of very good HS/D3 players, and about half are not pursuing baseball in college. Cheaper and more fun. His mens summer wood bat team is playing in the league championship this week.

I've heard, and would agree, that the tippy-TOP talent does not need travel baseball. But outside of the top 2-3%, travel baseball is probably needed for both exposure to coaches at tournaments and connections. I think the latter is under-valued and often lacking. If you are a great HS player with great metrics, there are oodles of you out there and oodles of college camps and showcases to choose from. So choose and spend wisely. For example, don't go to a college camp unless it is a viable option from a baseball, academic, financial, commute/travel, and social perspective.

Travel ball has been good for my son.  His coaches have a superior knowledge of the game over his high school coaches, they are more motivated to see him placed on a college team and they have better connections to make it happen.  He will be a junior in high school this year and so it's still too early to tell what will happen but I would take travel over high school in a heart beat.  Plus, for me, the high school season is too stressful with juggling practice and studying and worrying about why kids aren't playing more.  I don't enjoy it and if my son said he wanted to skip high school I would support him with private instruction.  

too.tall posted:

Travel ball has been good for my son.  His coaches have a superior knowledge of the game over his high school coaches, they are more motivated to see him placed on a college team and they have better connections to make it happen.  He will be a junior in high school this year and so it's still too early to tell what will happen but I would take travel over high school in a heart beat.  Plus, for me, the high school season is too stressful with juggling practice and studying and worrying about why kids aren't playing more.  I don't enjoy it and if my son said he wanted to skip high school I would support him with private instruction.  

Too.tall, something seems funny about your post...

You don't like the HS season because it is too stressful, too much juggling practice and study and you worry about kids getting more PT... but travel is better because the coaches are more motivated to see him placed in college and have better connections to make it happen...  where things will be more stressful and more difficult to juggle and more difficult to earn playing time ????   

Last edited by cabbagedad
cabbagedad posted:
too.tall posted:

Travel ball has been good for my son.  His coaches have a superior knowledge of the game over his high school coaches, they are more motivated to see him placed on a college team and they have better connections to make it happen.  He will be a junior in high school this year and so it's still too early to tell what will happen but I would take travel over high school in a heart beat.  Plus, for me, the high school season is too stressful with juggling practice and studying and worrying about why kids aren't playing more.  I don't enjoy it and if my son said he wanted to skip high school I would support him with private instruction.  

Too.tall, something seems funny about your post...

You don't like the HS season because it is too stressful, too much juggling practice and study and you worry about kids getting more PT... but travel is better because the coaches are more motivated to see him placed in college and have better connections to make it happen...  where things will be more stressful and more difficult to juggle and more difficult to earn playing time ????   

Hence my conundrum.  Fortunately, I'm not the one facing those struggles.  I'm just a spectator.  Doesn't mean I have to like it but I do enjoy trying to help him succeed and get the best out of his talents.  

Last edited by too.tall
JLC posted:

The chances of him getting recruited just playing high school ball are slim to none, even on a highly ranked team...unless he is exceptional.  HS season is the same time as college season and no one is coming to watch "Junior" play unless they are a local school. Summer Travel ball is where he needs to be and preferably on one with connections because alot of recruiting, I hate to say it, is "who you know" or "who your coach knows.  

I'm not sure that is true for many D3 programs.  By attending Camps & Showcases you can get recruited into D3 without playing Travel

Camm posted:

A young man from our county played college ball without playing on his public high school baseball team in recent years. He played only travel ball.

Hearing more and more about that particular approach......

Full disclosure we have done the travel circuit from 13u up....I don't regret it, had a blast and would do it again. for your son to play D1 he will have to be in the top 2% or so of players... if he is that kind of player you are probably already aware of it. If he is going to play at D2 or 3 he is going to be in the top 10 or 15%, there are others who could have played that will chose not to.

I know that many very good D3 teams have many relationships with local legion programs and local "travel teams" that aren't going to GA and FL or AZ for tournaments. There are quite a few very good college D3 guys who simply didn't want to go far from home or couldn't afford to. Some of them are better players then the guys with PG grades who are playing D3 because they didn't have better offers...I also know that at least 50% of the guys at the WWBA and those types of events are pissing away money chasing a dream that doesn't exist. The real number is probably higher then that but I will be nice.

I will say IMO if you play travel, generally speaking, you will get access to more reps and higher level coaching then if you don't. There are outliers to that rule for sure but I think it is generally true. You will have more options and a bigger network advocating for you to more schools if you play on quality organization and again generally speaking you will be more battle tested vs higher quality oppositions if play travel... IMO most kids would be better served playing on high quality local travel teams that emphasis quality reps and instruction then traveling all over the country.

Your question was, what are his chances of getting recruited? I think if he is a stud there is no doubt, if he is a top 15% guy and he wants to do a little work, networking and maybe a local showcase or 2 he will absolutely be recruited but may have less options.

A few points.  Would love to see these travel teams that have a few D1 players and then ALL the rest are D3.  And also please don't classify tournaments as D3 tournaments!  

"A vast majority of these teams are filled with future D3 talent and they play other teams filled with future D3 talent, and the programs cost $2500+ plus gas & hotels etc.  if not more"

Most of these guys will NOT play D3!!  I'm sorry but don't think everyone gets recruited to play collegiately!  Our 2017 played on a nationally known travel team and not everyone on the team is playing next year, despite their hopes and dreams.  Some don't want to go just anywhere to play and hung it up, will play club, or may try and walk on.  

Two years ago Amherst beat Dartmouth.  Maybe not the best D3 or the best D1 and maybe Dartmouth did not take it seriously or play their top guys.  But this distinction between D1 and D3 is not always so clear cut, it is overlapping.  I don't mean to have a chip on my shoulder.  Clearly D1 boys get drafted and get $.  Clearly many D3 players could not make it at a D1 team.  But there are plenty of guys who could, and there are loads of D1 guys who aren't any better.  It is the rare kid who gets the chance to play collegiately at all, despite playing travel ball for years.

OK I hope you get my point.

Onto the travel question...summer baseball CAN put you in front of college coaches, if the team has the talent and plays in places coaches go.  That can be D1, D3, D2 and JUCO...not some line like only D3 colleges scout this tournament, or only D1 guys at PG WWBA.  It is all about what is right for YOUR kid given his talent, his collegiate aspirations, and your checkbook limits.  High academic college aspirants will almost have to supplement travel, even on top teams and in top tournaments, with some of the higher academic showcases or camps.  Geography will matter -- a kid targeting to play in the south or southeast is going to have to figure out how to get in front of coaches of those schools, whether on a travel team at WWBA or the like or at the college specific camps.  

This is not a one size fits all question.

 

I have one friend whose sons' HS baseball experience has pretty much been terrible. Huge roster, lots of drama, politics, and bloatfishing coaches. Thankfully, most players and parents I know DIG/dug the high school baseball experience. We sure did. 

Good point about D3s. I'd say a very valid D3 recruitment strategy is to target those schools and go to those camps. OTOH, most D3s who showed interest in my son asked what local tournaments he was going to play at so they could watch him in-game. So, that would argue for local (presumably cheaper) travel leagues and tournaments.

I am not so sure that attending d3 college camps is the answer to getting recruited by certain D3 schools. When my son was being recruited. He played travel. He also attended several invitation only Showcases (I miss the Buckeyescout). He was recruited by many of the top D3's in Ohio and surrounding states and many further away. 

None of the D3 coaches ever mentioned attending their D3 camps. In fact may dissuaded him. Later after he was helping at those same camps, he understood why. Many of the kids at those camps were not great. Many underestimated the talent to play at a D3. He did attend some D1 Camps that D3 RC's were at helping out. 

When I talk to parents, many time they are targeting D3 for the wrong reasons. They are targeting D3 because they believe that is where there talent lies. Many times they are wrong. I have seen it both ways. The parents underestimated their sons talent. (I know very rare) These are usually the nicest humblest people I have ever met. Or they are over estimating their sons talent. 

Many times the recruiting process will tell you were you land. For my son that was D3. He targeted Smaller, mostly Liberal Arts type schools at D1. Think Butler. Not much interest, mostly we really liked you we will be in touch. (never happened, with several). In most cases he was probably B or C on their list. He got some late interest from the Big State U's as a walk on, but he was never interested in going to a big college. 

But attending the D1 camps and being seen during travel ball, even if was just enough to get him invited to a Showcase like the Buckeye Scout or Walsh Jesuit's yearly show case. Was enough for D3 coaches to see him. D3 coaches are not always waiting to pick up who is left over after D1 is complete. Many will target guys that they think may have D1 potential and are trying to find those guys who slipped through the cracks.

Now you do need to start with an honest evaluation. But aim as high as you can and the recruiting trail will tell you where you belong.  

Now if you are purely an academics guy or want a smaller university close to home or you are shooting for Tufts, MIT or another academic school that is a different story. Then save your money for tutoring, baseball lessons, and Headfirst camps etc. 

 

If a kid truly wants to play, is willing to go anywhere, his parents can afford it, and has even a high school level talent there is a school that he can play at.

 I've heard of multiple pitchers throwing 75 at a D3.  Some D3's can beat low level D1's every day of the week, but some D3's would get beat by a 16u travel team every day of the week.  Not all D3's are created equal. 

Whether Travel ball (as opposed to playing in showcases)  is a necessity probably varies a bit with region of the country.  

In these parts,  baseball is essentially a 12 month sport for the most serious players  -- with a little down time in the wet cold winter.  But back in the day, when my son was doing his baseball thing,  we spent many a December, January and February morning at some tournament -- sometimes in some dirt hole location .  

The point is that its hard to to actually play baseball 10 -11 months of the year without being involved in travel ball.   And most guys who are serious in these part at some point decide to devote themselves to play baseball basically year round.  

I know it's a little crazy.  Well, more than that .... it's completely  crazy.  It's especially bad for pitchers, I think.   But there's sort of an arm's race these days.  And everybody is chasing the dream and afraid of falling behind.  

I think if my son were a pitcher I would WANT to live in a cold weather climate, where you were forced off the field  and into the gym  for several months each year. 

CaCO3Girl posted:

If a kid truly wants to play, is willing to go anywhere, his parents can afford it, and has even a high school level talent there is a school that he can play at.

 I've heard of multiple pitchers throwing 75 at a D3.  Some D3's can beat low level D1's every day of the week, but some D3's would get beat by a 16u travel team every day of the week.  Not all D3's are created equal. 

"I don't mean to have a chip on my shoulder.  Clearly D1 boys get drafted and get $.  Clearly many D3 players could not make it at a D1 team.  But there are plenty of guys who could, and there are loads of D1 guys who aren't any better.  It is the rare kid who gets the chance to play collegiately at all, despite playing travel ball for years.

OK I hope you get my point."

TwoBoys, I don't think the gap in thinking or perspectives between your post and that of CACO3 will ever be bridged on this site.

On the plus side, when I first joined the site, D3 tended to be largely overlooked.  I still remember a thread where I posted about baseball and academic opportunities at schools like Emory, Millsaps, Rhodes and some others.  Many responses  questioned the quality of baseball. Some questioned the existence of the University. 

Personally, I tend to be  satisfied with the current coverage of D3 on the HSBBW. My view is that it is more than unfair to "compare and contrast" D3 with either D1 or D2, when those latter 2 levels are scholarship based.  Scholarship based teams should be better than those which are not.  What 11.7 does (other that the Power 5 and a few others), and unlike football/basketball,  is marginalize the difference between the middle to lower levels of D1/D2 and the upper levels of D3. No matter how that pie gets sliced, bias, lack of knowledge, and sometimes both, will tend to be illustrated in the posting.  Stating that all D3's are not created equal is an example. It seems to be ( could well be) offered as pejorative of D3 baseball. However, when we put it in the context that the same can be  said for D1, D2, NAIA, JUCO, the "bite" does not seem quite so harsh.

If we were to take the West Region of D3, leave out Cal Tech (historically), and compare the baseball, I tend to doubt most would try and suggest "any" HS player can find a "spot" or that teams would be beaten by 16U travel teams every day of the week. And, of course, some might then say there are 16U travel teams who don't have a single player who can compete at the college level, unless it is one which could be beaten by the 16U travel team.

 

 

 

too.tall posted:
cabbagedad posted:
too.tall posted:

Travel ball has been good for my son.  His coaches have a superior knowledge of the game over his high school coaches, they are more motivated to see him placed on a college team and they have better connections to make it happen.  He will be a junior in high school this year and so it's still too early to tell what will happen but I would take travel over high school in a heart beat.  Plus, for me, the high school season is too stressful with juggling practice and studying and worrying about why kids aren't playing more.  I don't enjoy it and if my son said he wanted to skip high school I would support him with private instruction.  

Too.tall, something seems funny about your post...

You don't like the HS season because it is too stressful, too much juggling practice and study and you worry about kids getting more PT... but travel is better because the coaches are more motivated to see him placed in college and have better connections to make it happen...  where things will be more stressful and more difficult to juggle and more difficult to earn playing time ????   

Hence my conundrum.  Fortunately, I'm not the one facing those struggles.  I'm just a spectator.  Doesn't mean I have to like it but I do enjoy trying to help him succeed and get the best out of his talents.  

Too Tall, I'd suggest you be thankful for the "stress & juggling"! I'm here to tell you that once he gets to college, those 4 yrs of HS will have been a cake walk! Between classes, studying, practicing & conditioning & games, he will be putting in roughly 70-80 hrs a week! And if/when he makes the Travel team, he best have classwork turned in beforehand. Help him learn organizational & time management skills now! 

baseballmom posted:
too.tall posted:
cabbagedad posted:
too.tall posted:

Travel ball has been good for my son.  His coaches have a superior knowledge of the game over his high school coaches, they are more motivated to see him placed on a college team and they have better connections to make it happen.  He will be a junior in high school this year and so it's still too early to tell what will happen but I would take travel over high school in a heart beat.  Plus, for me, the high school season is too stressful with juggling practice and studying and worrying about why kids aren't playing more.  I don't enjoy it and if my son said he wanted to skip high school I would support him with private instruction.  

Too.tall, something seems funny about your post...

You don't like the HS season because it is too stressful, too much juggling practice and study and you worry about kids getting more PT... but travel is better because the coaches are more motivated to see him placed in college and have better connections to make it happen...  where things will be more stressful and more difficult to juggle and more difficult to earn playing time ????   

Hence my conundrum.  Fortunately, I'm not the one facing those struggles.  I'm just a spectator.  Doesn't mean I have to like it but I do enjoy trying to help him succeed and get the best out of his talents.  

Too Tall, I'd suggest you be thankful for the "stress & juggling"! I'm here to tell you that once he gets to college, those 4 yrs of HS will have been a cake walk! Between classes, studying, practicing & conditioning & games, he will be putting in roughly 70-80 hrs a week! And if/when he makes the Travel team, he best have classwork turned in beforehand. Help him learn organizational & time management skills now! 

Thanks.  I'm not sure he's cut out for the rigor.  i'll do my best to try and get him ready but in the grand scheme of things he may not be able to balance academics and baseball.  I can and have preached the value of hard work but if he doesn't get the message by the  time he  graduates high school he's not going to be ready for college baseball.  I won't be writing big checks (private D3)  to feed the dream.  The bottom line is my kid is a good baseball player, maybe really good, but it's not going to keep his lights on or food on the table.  

Last edited by too.tall
infielddad posted:
CaCO3Girl posted:

If a kid truly wants to play, is willing to go anywhere, his parents can afford it, and has even a high school level talent there is a school that he can play at.

 I've heard of multiple pitchers throwing 75 at a D3.  Some D3's can beat low level D1's every day of the week, but some D3's would get beat by a 16u travel team every day of the week.  Not all D3's are created equal. 

"I don't mean to have a chip on my shoulder.  Clearly D1 boys get drafted and get $.  Clearly many D3 players could not make it at a D1 team.  But there are plenty of guys who could, and there are loads of D1 guys who aren't any better.  It is the rare kid who gets the chance to play collegiately at all, despite playing travel ball for years.

OK I hope you get my point."

TwoBoys, I don't think the gap in thinking or perspectives between your post and that of CACO3 will ever be bridged on this site.

On the plus side, when I first joined the site, D3 tended to be largely overlooked.  I still remember a thread where I posted about baseball and academic opportunities at schools like Emory, Millsaps, Rhodes and some others.  Many responses  questioned the quality of baseball. Some questioned the existence of the University. 

Personally, I tend to be  satisfied with the current coverage of D3 on the HSBBW. My view is that it is more than unfair to "compare and contrast" D3 with either D1 or D2, when those latter 2 levels are scholarship based.  Scholarship based teams should be better than those which are not.  What 11.7 does (other that the Power 5 and a few others), and unlike football/basketball,  is marginalize the difference between the middle to lower levels of D1/D2 and the upper levels of D3. No matter how that pie gets sliced, bias, lack of knowledge, and sometimes both, will tend to be illustrated in the posting.  Stating that all D3's are not created equal is an example. It seems to be ( could well be) offered as pejorative of D3 baseball. However, when we put it in the context that the same can be  said for D1, D2, NAIA, JUCO, the "bite" does not seem quite so harsh.

If we were to take the West Region of D3, leave out Cal Tech (historically), and compare the baseball, I tend to doubt most would try and suggest "any" HS player can find a "spot" or that teams would be beaten by 16U travel teams every day of the week. And, of course, some might then say there are 16U travel teams who don't have a single player who can compete at the college level, unless it is one which could be beaten by the 16U travel team.

 

 

 

Ahmen infielddad. It is proven year in and out. Look at the summer ball rosters. Every year you see athletes from all levels competing against each other. There are plenty of D2, D3, and NAIA getting playing time on those rosters. Necbl, great lakes league, and sometimes even in the cape or northwoods.

I think it does a great disservice to any young man who does what it takes to make a college baseball roster. Is every team the top of there division? No. I have seen a lot of D3 baseball. And have seen my share of the lower teams. Yet I am yet to see a team that can be beat regularly by a 16u. Heck, maybebI justbhave not seen enough 16u baseball. 

CaCO3Girl posted:

If a kid truly wants to play, is willing to go anywhere, his parents can afford it, and has even a high school level talent there is a school that he can play at.

 I've heard of multiple pitchers throwing 75 at a D3.  Some D3's can beat low level D1's every day of the week, but some D3's would get beat by a 16u travel team every day of the week.  Not all D3's are created equal. 

So you are guaranteeing this? You know this definitively? You act as though all you have to do is have the desire and the wallet and you will be able to play college baseball. That is not the case, and if you do get into a D3 program that has 50 guys on the roster (which seems to be the scenario you are painting), heaven help that player. Your contention that there are 16U teams who can beat some D3s is just ridiculous.

Last edited by SanDiegoRealist
SanDiegoRealist posted:
Your contention that there are 16U teams who can beat some D3s is just ridiculous.

Oh, I don't know.  Houston Banditos or Evoshield Canes 16U team could probably beat Beloit College.  And I'm sure there are D3 teams out there much worse than Beloit College

3and2Fastball posted:
SanDiegoRealist posted:
Your contention that there are 16U teams who can beat some D3s is just ridiculous.

Oh, I don't know.  Houston Banditos or Evoshield Canes 16U team could probably beat Beloit College.  And I'm sure there are D3 teams out there much worse than Beloit College

Would your perspective be different if the "worse than" team was ranked #298 in D1 baseball?

I feel like I opened a can of D3 worms, but this is kind of fun...I have seen a lot of baseball myself and do not think a showcase team assembled for the summer would beat a legitimate D3 (or other level) collegiate team, one that practices daily and is 2-6 years older, regularly.  I don't care how good you think the Canes or Banditos are.  For the most part they have not seen the level of pitching, even gasp at D3.  

Also need to make it clear not all of the D3 boys are paying big bucks to "feed the dream" as many have (a) merit aid and (b) substantial financial aid for those who qualify.  Please do not assume or make it seem like all private D3 baseball players are there because parents have big checkbooks.  And the D1 Ivies do not offer scholarship money either (or merit money even) but there are many here on this forum who would agree that if you can get one of those coveted spots, take it.  

oh I don't know, I saw Beloit College play this past spring and their pitchers were throwing high 70's/low 80's at best....  you throw a Nate Wohlgemuth or 16 year old Kumar Rocker running it up there at 95 mph and they could put some 0's up on the board, and I think an elite 16U team filled with future draft picks could squeeze out a run or three against Beloit

Don't get me wrong I have a great deal of respect for D3 Baseball, those kids work their tails off and there's a ton of great talent in D3

Last edited by 3and2Fastball

No doubt that there are different levels in all levels of college baseball.  However, the gap at the DIII level is the largest IMO.  The highest level is highest level baseball.  Many that play at that level of DIII could easily be playing DI baseball.  Then there is... Lets call it the middle level... It is very good baseball, good baseball players and good baseball programs.  Then there is the lowest level, this level of DIII teams would get beat like a drum playing against any of the best 16U teams around the country.  It wouldn't be a contest in most cases.  There are 16U teams that have most of their roster already committed to high level DI colleges.

I won't name any of these colleges but it is disappointing to see some of them mentioned right here on the HSBBW.  Parents posting about their son's being recruited by some of them.  Granted some of them are high academic type colleges and that is all good.  But if baseball is important, and a player has some talent, some of these colleges are going to be a very big disappointment. 

Sometimes it actually gets tough for the kid that loves competitive baseball and also has unbelievable grades and test scores.  Everyone wants you, but how do you know they really want you for baseball or if they just want you as a student. It's not that they don't want good players, but they keep their jobs by bringing in good  students rather than winning baseball games.  Travel ball is absolutely unnecessary in this case.

I think more excellent players should be looking into opportunities at NAIA colleges. 

I enjoy when parents who know nothing about college baseball propose to be experts....I can tell you when I actually got to see my sons future D3 school play live, in league vs a rival for 1st place on the 2nd last weekend of the season it was eye opening. We have seen most of what is to be seen on the travel circuit, the pitching after the top 3 drops a bit quicker then we might be used to but the game is very well played, strong, fast and they rake. Up and down the line up, both teams.

Both of those programs expect and prepare to go the NCAA every year and are bitterly disappointed if it doesn't happen. Very very few 16u teams can compete there and the ones who can are the 1% outliers who many people on this web site seem to think are normal!! They aren't.

old_school posted:

I enjoy when parents who know nothing about college baseball propose to be experts....I can tell you when I actually got to see my sons future D3 school play live, in league vs a rival for 1st place on the 2nd last weekend of the season it was eye opening. We have seen most of what is to be seen on the travel circuit, the pitching after the top 3 drops a bit quicker then we might be used to but the game is very well played, strong, fast and they rake. Up and down the line up, both teams.

Both of those programs expect and prepare to go the NCAA every year and are bitterly disappointed if it doesn't happen. Very very few 16u teams can compete there and the ones who can are the 1% outliers who many people on this web site seem to think are normal!! They aren't.

Say that again please. 

I really not sure of what you are saying.

 

 

Last edited by TPM

Well said PGStaff.  There are so many different levels of college baseball and talent.  This "discussion" about elite 16U teams beating D3 teams is irrelevant.  It is not going to happen and it is purely opinion.  We could turn this whole arguement around and ask how many of those elite 16U teams would do well academically at some of these high academic D3 schools.  It doesn't matter because most of those kids aren't considering those schools.  

What is important is knowing what you want to do after college and finding a program that fits those goals.  

Last edited by fenwaysouth

When my son was a HS sophomore I went to watch a game between the school he eventually ended up at and the team that was the runaway #1 team in the league at the time.  I went in with my eyes wide open and really felt like I had a handle on what he could do and what he would be able to do in 3 years when he was a college freshman.  I went to the game just to watch and compare what he was to what they were.   The game was a disaster...18-14 or something like that....12 pitchers, 28 hits, 7 or 8 errors, mostly by the IF on routine ground balls.   I went home and told him "yep, you can play with those guys".  Obviously every game in their league isn't like that, but it's not like he was trying to play in the SEC lol.  Some of the games he's had the past 2 years have been exactly like that...some have been very, very good.   I would suggest that any parent go to a game or two at the level that your son wants (or thinks he can) play at and take an objective look.  If you go to a D1 and just sit there thinking "man, my son can never hit this guy" then maybe your son is looking in the wrong place.  If you go to a bad D3 game and think "geez, this is worse than HS" then you know that too....and maybe somewhere in the middle is the best idea. 

Most HS and younger baseball parents you talk to overestimate D1 baseball players and underestimate the other levels of college baseball.  All of the kids I know who play/are going to play D3 are all very good baseball players. These are really above average HS players, some with very high HS baseball accolades. People definitely underestimate the talent and extra work these guys have had to put in to get that opportunity to play D3 baseball or any level of college baseball. If you are an average HS player you may get an invite to try out for a D3 school but you better make big gains or you won't be on the team playing in the spring.

There are probably D3 programs that are really bad and can't attract talent.  There are are also really bad D1 teams. Watch the lower RPI D1 teams and conferences play. They may be local or they even pop up on tv every now and then. Just as all D3 isnt created equal all D1 isnt created equal and there are many kids playing in the ever exhaulted D1 level that are not the top 2% of the HS baseball playing population.

There are D3 pitchers who cruise low 80s, but HS pitchers who only throw low 80s get raked on a regular basis.  College pitchers at any level have to have something extra to survive. Some have another gear they can go to when a big strike out is needed, some just have perfect control, and what most people don't realize is the difference in the quality and control of secondary pitches between HS and college level pitchers.  If there is a chance go watch a college summer league where the levels will be mixed up "lower" level guys will get out D1 guys all of the time with what looks like underwhelming stuff, but they know how to get outs.

Back to the OP you don't have to play big time travel to play college baseball. If you are shooting for one of the 40-50 D1 schools that are trying to win in Omaha every year then you should be on a team that goes to every big time PG event to maximize your chance of being seen by those coaches. If you are not at that talent level then you can throw all of the other schools regardless of division in a big pot and mix it up.  You will have to find a local travel or legion team that lets you keep improving every year and also take that extra money and get bigger, stronger, and faster. You will have to do a lot of research on different college programs and find the best fit baseball and academic wise.  Formulate a good plan and execute it. There are many good threads on this site that can be searched to help with that.

My son played for a very competitive, but very affordable travel team. It was made up of generally blue collar families, and every player on that team played in college. He was lucky because they played in SoCal and had high level competition in the Arizona/SoCal region and did not have to travel very far. He told me the other day that this really prepared him for both HS and college ball as he had faced high level competition growing up which gave him confidence against any player. He also played in a couple of "pick up" PG teams when his travel team did not go to a PG event. So there are ways to get it done cost effectively, but you have to work at it.

I realize this is more difficult outside of hotbed baseball areas, but with research and work it can be done. Unless you are a blue chip player just thinking that you just need to be on a team is a huge mistake. You have to do your homework, and know what level your son can compete at, and be in contact with those schools and let them know you will be a "X" event, the team and your schedule.  Don't waste your time (or the coaches) trying to get on a top 50 RPI college team if you are not that level of player. 

Regarding the D3 discussion, PG is correct, in the D3 world there is a huge variation in levels of baseball. My son's national championship D3 team had 6 pitchers throwing in the 90's. (BTW they had a lefty who was very effective at 82) When they played a top 50 RPI D1 team their pitchers were generally sitting 95, and we were generally sitting 91.  Within his D3 league there were a couple of teams that could not consistently beat a good HS team IMO. 

If I had to do it again, I would focus more on training, skills, strength and conditioning, and a little less travel, but travel ball is a must IMO if you are going to play in college at a high level. 

Last edited by BOF
SanDiegoRealist posted:
CaCO3Girl posted:

If a kid truly wants to play, is willing to go anywhere, his parents can afford it, and has even a high school level talent there is a school that he can play at.

 I've heard of multiple pitchers throwing 75 at a D3.  Some D3's can beat low level D1's every day of the week, but some D3's would get beat by a 16u travel team every day of the week.  Not all D3's are created equal. 

So you are guaranteeing this? You know this definitively? You act as though all you have to do is have the desire and the wallet and you will be able to play college baseball. That is not the case, and if you do get into a D3 program that has 50 guys on the roster (which seems to be the scenario you are painting), heaven help that player. Your contention that there are 16U teams who can beat some D3s is just ridiculous.

I didn't mean to offend ANYONE who had a kid playing or planning to play D3, I'm talking about the middle of nowhere, maybe won 3 games last year D3. As PG said there is a HUGE difference in talent levels across all of the D3 schools. 

So, yes, I'm sure, if a kid is that determined, his parents will support this, and he's willing to go anywhere, then yes there is a school he can play at. As for my 16u statement...well several more knowledgeable people have corroborated this. We can take this to a PM if you would like?

Nice.  This thread is becoming another valuable read for those entering the process.

Here's an aspect that I think is often overlooked when choosing the travel ball path...

Everyone talks about finding the travel teams that will go to the big events in Arizona, Georgia, etc.  Some players will end up playing at a college somewhere across the country or otherwise far from home.  But the reality is that the large majority of players will end up in-state or at a neighboring state (in-state/neighboring state tuition, closer to family and friends, more friends at those schools, colleges more likely to recruit in-state, social and geographical comfort level, etc. ).  A bit of roster browsing will drive this point home.  So, if the player likely falls into this bucket, logic would dictate to find a decent travel program that focuses on getting in front of schools in the immediate region.

It seems that most regions have such programs and this route can be far more cost-effective and realistically focused.  I think, in some other regions, there are probably opportunities for more travel teams to take this approach.  

I realize that those big national events attract RC's/HC's from schools from all parts of the country.  But those same RC's/HC's attend the better local and regional events as well.   And there are plenty of schools that don't have  the budgets to travel to the national events.

Edit to add:  If you take this immediate regional approach and then get personal invites to some of the larger national events, you then know it is much more likely to be worth while.  So, this approach could cover most everyone...  The outliers - the early D1 stud will know that national events will likely have value to them unless they, too, want to stay close to home.  High academics may include a regional Stanford Camp/Headfirst/PG Academic event.

Last edited by cabbagedad
CaCO3Girl posted:
SanDiegoRealist posted:
CaCO3Girl posted:

If a kid truly wants to play, is willing to go anywhere, his parents can afford it, and has even a high school level talent there is a school that he can play at.

 I've heard of multiple pitchers throwing 75 at a D3.  Some D3's can beat low level D1's every day of the week, but some D3's would get beat by a 16u travel team every day of the week.  Not all D3's are created equal. 

So you are guaranteeing this? You know this definitively? You act as though all you have to do is have the desire and the wallet and you will be able to play college baseball. That is not the case, and if you do get into a D3 program that has 50 guys on the roster (which seems to be the scenario you are painting), heaven help that player. Your contention that there are 16U teams who can beat some D3s is just ridiculous.

I didn't mean to offend ANYONE who had a kid playing or planning to play D3, I'm talking about the middle of nowhere, maybe won 3 games last year D3. As PG said there is a HUGE difference in talent levels across all of the D3 schools. 

So, yes, I'm sure, if a kid is that determined, his parents will support this, and he's willing to go anywhere, then yes there is a school he can play at. As for my 16u statement...well several more knowledgeable people have corroborated this. We can take this to a PM if you would like?

We live two blocks from a D3 that is like CaCO3Girl describes. They just changed coaches, have lost most of their games the last two years and while I'm not positive about the 16u statement, I KNOW our high school varsity team would beat them, and the JV team would probably have as well.

Here's what I think CaCO3Girl is talking about.

 

One of our teammates was a solid first baseman in his HS career, good pitcher who didn't throw hard, but threw strikes. He got some interest from small D3s, including the one in our town, and could have played baseball for them.

He's also a REALLY smart honors kid who made the decision to take the academic free ride at a top end college where he has no shot at baseball.

So yes, I think everybody COULD find a place to play if that's what they REALLY want and they are willing to make the many compromises to do it. Most people aren't, and most people are right not to.

 

 

 

Kind of have to agree.....maybe not in a baseball hotbed like California or Florida, but in the Midwest almost any kid with any baseball talent can find a spot on a college team, whether it's D3, NAIA or Juco if he's just interested in playing baseball and doesn't  necessarily care how good or bad the team (or school) is.   There are several D3's within 50 miles of me that have a lot of kids playing who were in my son's HS league during the time he played and I've never even heard some of their names.  They weren't in any way "stars" on their HS teams....heck, I'm not even sure some of them were HS starters. 

Buckeye 2015 posted:

Kind of have to agree.....maybe not in a baseball hotbed like California or Florida, but in the Midwest almost any kid with any baseball talent can find a spot on a college team, whether it's D3, NAIA or Juco if he's just interested in playing baseball and doesn't  necessarily care how good or bad the team (or school) is.   There are several D3's within 50 miles of me that have a lot of kids playing who were in my son's HS league during the time he played and I've never even heard some of their names.  They weren't in any way "stars" on their HS teams....heck, I'm not even sure some of them were HS starters. 

California ... indeed the entire West Coast  ... is completely different from this.  There is only one 9 team D3 league in California.  And another one in Washington St and Oregon.   Excepting Cal Tech ... which is a very weak program, but actually getting better and more serious, competition for roster spots is VERY intense.  Believe me.   Look at it this way, in the 9 D3 schools in California, there are something like 270 total varsity roster spots.  (Some of the schools carry less than 30 usually, some carry a little more.  None carry even 40, let alone  50 on their varsity rosters as I have seem some midwest programs do.  A few do have JV programs that bring the total of number of guys in the program a little higher.)    You can bet  that there are a LOT more than 270 guys who would love to have one of those spots.  The competition is pretty fierce.  

I did the research on this once,  I think I remember the numbers.  The combined population of California,  Oregon, and Washington state is like 50 million or so.  There are a total of 18 D3 baseball programs in this three states.   In Ohio alone, which has a population of only 11 million,  there are 21 D3 programs -- spread I think over 3 wholly  in state conference, with at least one school playing in the UAA  which has teams from several different states. 

 So yeah, it's a lot harder to find a place to play in California,  and the West Coast generally, than in the Midwest.  That's the disadvantage of  being the last part of the country to be settled, I guess. 

Believe me, you won't find any high school scrubs on any D3 roster in this state.  Cal Tech is a special case.   They are just such a super competitive school that offers only very demanding STEM majors,  It must be hard for them to find players who can both produce on the field and in their world class classrooms.  But I know they are trying.  Usually their roster is really tiny by comparison to even the smallish, by D3 standards, of rosters in the rest of the league. 

Many California kids who want to continuing playing .... at whatever level ... are forced to play out of state or hang up their cleats if they are truly determined to stay in California.  And its not like they are competing only with kids from California for the scarce in state roster spots.  My son's school usually has kids from up and down the West Coast and Hawaii in its rosters, with a few guys from elsewhere in the US or even abroad thrown in now and then.  And it's not just a new crop of Frosh they bring in every year.  They bring in many JC transfers -- mostly from in state -- and small but steady stream of D1 and D2 drop downs. 

My own son, applied to colleges  in 7 different states precisely because he was willing to go anywhere to keep on playing.  He was fortunate to land a spot in California.  But when he got there he was quite frankly astounded by how intensely competitive it was from day 1.  Not just that but his coaches were really, really serious about winning.  

Last edited by SluggerDad

I couldn't agree with Cabbagedad more.  I have forwarded a link to this thread to two friends.  Lots of wisdom being shared.  

Thank you. 

 

Sluggerdad had an interesting way to look at the D3 numbers which I had not really thought about. There are approx 350 D3 schools (I believe not sure about baseball, but lets assume)

Take the top 25 D3 schools in the country with rosters of approx 40. This gives you 1,000 slots that will be pretty competitive, mostly D1 caliber to some degree. 

Total players: 1,000 

Take the next 50 schools which will also be competitive, but not hyper competitive. Some D1 talent mixed in with high performing D3.

Total players: 2,000

Take the next 150 schools which will be slightly better than most top HS programs.

Total players: 6,0000

Bottom 125 schools where most HS players could play.

Total players: 5,000

Gives you an idea of the population and skill level. 

 

Whoa 

The number of HS baseball players is almost 489,000.  

FROM THE NCAA (from 2015-2016 numbers)

 High School ParticipantsNCAA ParticipantsOverall % HS to NCAA% HS to NCAA Division I% HS to NCAA Division II% HS to NCAA Division III
Baseball488,81534,5547.1%2.1%2.2%2.8%

 

So while those going on to play in college (at D1, D2 or D3 level) are not necessarily the TOP 7.1% capability wise as there are other factors at play, it is still a fact that 93% or so of HS players DO NOT play collegiately.  

I therefore believe it is a big jump to say that most HS players could play.  Most do not because most can't.  There are exceptions of poor programs, coaches who take any warm body with a checkbook, etc. But these numbers are facts and speak for themselves.  

FYI the percentages are even lower for womens softball.

Twoboys posted:

Whoa 

The number of HS baseball players is almost 489,000.  

FROM THE NCAA (from 2015-2016 numbers)

 High School ParticipantsNCAA ParticipantsOverall % HS to NCAA% HS to NCAA Division I% HS to NCAA Division II% HS to NCAA Division III
Baseball488,81534,5547.1%2.1%2.2%2.8%

 

So while those going on to play in college (at D1, D2 or D3 level) are not necessarily the TOP 7.1% capability wise as there are other factors at play, it is still a fact that 93% or so of HS players DO NOT play collegiately.  

I therefore believe it is a big jump to say that most HS players could play.  Most do not because most can't.  There are exceptions of poor programs, coaches who take any warm body with a checkbook, etc. But these numbers are facts and speak for themselves.  

FYI the percentages are even lower for womens softball.

I agree with your statement that most don't because most cannot.

But the above numbers are a bit misleading (I'm generally skeptical of anything put out by the NCAA). 

First, if a kid does not play baseball throughout high school, is it fair to count him in the analysis? Around here, most schools have Frosh, JV, and Varsity. A significant percentage of the frosh baseball players -- perhaps half -- never go on to play varsity, never mind college. I would venture to guess that the number of seniors in that "high school participants" is roughly 100,000, but I wouldn't be surprised if it were lower.

Then, how many kids are there who do in fact go on to play college baseball but quit, get cut, etc.? Those kids are not counted in current "NCAA participants," but they did go on to play baseball collegiately, at least for awhile. In addition, kids who go on to play at NAIA schools (there are about 180 of those schools with baseball teams) also aren't counted in those numbers. And kids who go to jucos aren't counted either -- there are hundreds of jucos with baseball teams.

My guestimate is that, out of kids who play all the way through high school, the percentage who go on to play (however briefly) at some level of college (D1, D2, D3, NAIA, Juco) is probably in the 12-15% range.

Yes good to be skeptical and think this through.  Also, now a growing number of non Americans playing collegiately.  Not counted either.  

Also we shouldn't assume that every high school baseball player WANTS to play baseball in college.  

 Last year the varsity team at my sons school had 11 seniors. 8 are playing in college but three of those 8 are playing football not baseball. The three that are choosing not to play baseball; one is a high academic kid that I swear will rule the world one day, one isn't going to college, and the other is going to trade school to join the family electrician business.

Twoboys posted:

Whoa 

The number of HS baseball players is almost 489,000.  

FROM THE NCAA (from 2015-2016 numbers)

 High School ParticipantsNCAA ParticipantsOverall % HS to NCAA% HS to NCAA Division I% HS to NCAA Division II% HS to NCAA Division III
Baseball488,81534,5547.1%2.1%2.2%2.8%

 

So while those going on to play in college (at D1, D2 or D3 level) are not necessarily the TOP 7.1% capability wise as there are other factors at play, it is still a fact that 93% or so of HS players DO NOT play collegiately.  

I therefore believe it is a big jump to say that most HS players could play.  Most do not because most can't.  There are exceptions of poor programs, coaches who take any warm body with a checkbook, etc. But these numbers are facts and speak for themselves.  

FYI the percentages are even lower for womens softball.

Also need to consider that some players will not be academically eligible as well.

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