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Can someone explain why some kids (seems like a lot these days) opt for Juco year or prep school/IMG type academy after HS taking a D2 or D3 offer? What type of player does this tend to help?  Is either a better offer if the goal is high level D1 considering the roster backup that COVID seems to be causing.

Last edited by 2023Catcher
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It’s beneficial if injuries interfered with recruiting. Or if a kid is a late bloomer and his abilities are on the rise.

If a kid attends a prep school the NCAA clock doesn’t start ticking.

If a kid plays at a JuCo the five to play four clock starts ticking. He loses a year of eligibility.

Sometimes kids attend JuCos because they’re not good students and aren’t NCAA eligible.

Sometimes kids prep a year at high academic preps to make sure they can amp up their academic ability before entering a high academic college. This occurs more often with basketball and baseball.

If a kid is only looking to physically develop and/or develop skills but not play attending a JuCo as a part time student doesn’t start the clock.

There are viable situations for all these options.

Last edited by RJM

Why? Because of the draft?

I’m guessing so they don’t start their clock. My friend mentioned the chances of the bottom of the class having a meaningful career at the school right now were really low. Therefore they should just go to school and hope their plan works out. He said the stud players are more likely to have an impact and it makes sense for them to delay.

I’m guessing so they don’t start their clock. My friend mentioned the chances of the bottom of the class having a meaningful career at the school right now were really low. Therefore they should just go to school and hope their plan works out. He said the stud players are more likely to have an impact and it makes sense for them to delay.

The chances for the bottom of the class to have a meaningful career (at a competitive program) are always low. They are worse than ever now. You don’t want to be in that group wherever you go.

Juco vs prep school (or gap year) differ on eligibly clock when it comes to D1. You have 5 calendar years to play 4 season. That clock starts when you start any college as a full time student. Once the clock starts, not many situations can stop or delay it.

Personally, I think choosing the Juco route to avoid the overcrowding in D1 is a mistake. There are 5 or 6 high school graduation years eligible to play ball right now because of the COVID seasons. There are extra guys trying to play baseball at every level and division. Until all of those COVID years age out, there will be more players than normal. Prep school or gap year shifts your 4 playing years out one year, so technically it pushes you farther out into the age-out process, but I don’t think the difference is enough to choose that option solely based on the COVID angle.

To me, the objective hasn’t changed. Do your research and find a place where you can play. Were you counting on a senior graduating in order to get playing time? That’s a bad strategy because some other freshman or a transfer could be coming in who’s better than you. Look at the level of play at a school, and be honest with yourself about whether you belong there. There are lots of things out of your control once you get there, but make sure you can play at that level and have a decent chance to earn playing time.

Last edited by MidAtlanticDad
@adbono posted:

The post above came from a JuCo Twitter feed. It may seem harsh but there is a lot of truth in it and it’s good advice.

in the 80's my we (NAIA school) had both Oregon State (D1) and Lewis and Clark State (NAIA) on the schedule. there was no question that LC State was way better.  Extreme example since LC State was in dynasty mode back then, but, as a non-NCAA, they weren't beholden to silly academic rules and such.  They had a bunch of guys who were not NCAA qualified but were NAIA qualified, so they pulled some amazing talent.

Why? Because of the draft?

I think mostly for college, because many HS players are physically not ready for college ball where it is about production.

For the draft being older is a disadvantage as teams perceive it as limiting potential for growth it you are older, there are mlb teams who specifically target very young HS players and also young college players  in the draft as they have more potential to grow and can easily add 20-30 pounds of muscle in the minor league system.

But still it is better to be older and be ready than be younger and not be ready.

Last edited by Dominik85

To Dominik’s point above. This whole “let’s hold the kid back a year so he is bigger and stronger” when they are younger makes little sense to me. For  transparency, my son was held back in kindergarten. But it was on recommendations of his teacher for maturity purposes at the time. By the end of the year, she had decided she was wrong and advised he go forward. We, as his parents, felt like he needed that year for maturity. He has a late August birthday so was less than a week from being in a different class anyway. Back to the story. If your kid is actually talented enough, works hard enough, has the drive and desire to play baseball at the collegiate and professional level, is holding him back really gonna make the difference??  I think no. But it most certainly WILL put him at a disadvantage when he reaches the professional level. It doesn’t seem like a year or a half year matters, but it does in the opinion of the MLB team looking at your son. They would MUCH rather have a 20 yo junior than a 21 yo junior. I know it sounds crazy, but we lived it. So I would suggest thinking long and hard about holding your son back for athletic purposes only. Again, just one dad’s opinion.

Last edited by younggun

Almost every kid that comes to mind (at least locally) that plays or has been given the opportunity to play at the next level follows a very similar blueprint. Start KN at 6, play 2 years at 12u, and/or repeat 8th grade. This isn't anything new in my area, and kids most definitely benefit from doing so. At least until the pack catches up with them. I would guess that for the really talented ones this happens at the major league level.   

Granted, I don't have the stats in front of me, but I would venture to say that the vast majority of baseball players that play at some form of the "next level" are older, not younger when compared to their peers.  Maybe I'm wrong, but it doesn't seem so from my experiences.

Agree with the above.  Around here the key year in a kid's career is freshman year in HS.  The top freshmen cement their standing in the school program, which directly translates into placement on a top travel squad, which is where the college exposure comes from.  So while the difference between a 19 and 20 year old may be negligible, the difference between a 15 year old freshman and a 14 year old freshman is not.

Almost every kid that comes to mind (at least locally) that plays or has been given the opportunity to play at the next level follows a very similar blueprint. Start KN at 6, play 2 years at 12u, and/or repeat 8th grade. This isn't anything new in my area, and kids most definitely benefit from doing so. At least until the pack catches up with them. I would guess that for the really talented ones this happens at the major league level.   

Granted, I don't have the stats in front of me, but I would venture to say that the vast majority of baseball players that play at some form of the "next level" are older, not younger when compared to their peers.  Maybe I'm wrong, but it doesn't seem so from my experiences.

Agree 100% and this is why the kids that get big offers as freshman that I know fizzle in college and transfer from e.g. ACC or SEC to Juco in year 2 or beyond wheras the players that I see stick a little longer are just sold players or grinders who found the right program and actually played. There are exceptions w and yeah some have gotten drafted or scholarships from it but seems like fools gold in most cases with the fool normally being the dad and this twitter or facebook account.  What I don't get is why scouts fall for it. And I'm not talking about 6.3" Freshman who throws 90 it's the head scratcher guys.

What do you make of the mid major early commit types?  we've all heard of the studs who verbal to a P5 in their 8th, 9th or 10th grade years.  I've noticed a handful of frosh/soph types who verbal to local (usually) d1's that are decent programs but not power programs. often these guys seem to be stud players but undersized or local hero types who haven't gotten their man strength.  

is this the kid taking the first/best offer available?  is this the local D1 rolling the dice on a kid with possibly a bunch of upside?  I'm noticing this on the west coast so we're talking WCC/WAC/Big West type schools.  

@mattys posted:

What do you make of the mid major early commit types?  we've all heard of the studs who verbal to a P5 in their 8th, 9th or 10th grade years.  I've noticed a handful of frosh/soph types who verbal to local (usually) d1's that are decent programs but not power programs. often these guys seem to be stud players but undersized or local hero types who haven't gotten their man strength.  

is this the kid taking the first/best offer available?  is this the local D1 rolling the dice on a kid with possibly a bunch of upside?  I'm noticing this on the west coast so we're talking WCC/WAC/Big West type schools.  

I do think it's size being less projectable and those who panic a little. If 98% of HS baseball players  should be focusing on their education not the MLBF draft they may actually be jumping at the offer to play baseball at school that's a actually a good academic fit for them vs. settling or jumping at the first offer to be 1 in 5 P5 who transfer after year 1.  Right now with the COVID backup, i'd tend to think jump at a good offer/academic fit if you get one and aren't a real stud who is going to get drafted.

Last edited by 2023Catcher

Almost every kid that comes to mind (at least locally) that plays or has been given the opportunity to play at the next level follows a very similar blueprint. Start KN at 6, play 2 years at 12u, and/or repeat 8th grade. This isn't anything new in my area, and kids most definitely benefit from doing so. At least until the pack catches up with them. I would guess that for the really talented ones this happens at the major league level.   

Granted, I don't have the stats in front of me, but I would venture to say that the vast majority of baseball players that play at some form of the "next level" are older, not younger when compared to their peers.  Maybe I'm wrong, but it doesn't seem so from my experiences.

This was not my experience. I started a travel team at 13u. The team was essentially some of the top all stars from out eighteen team LL district with a couple of outside players. I didn’t go just by who were the best all stars. The kids had to be projectable as high school players regardless of current size. I passed on big kids with short parents. I avoided kids with PITA parents. The 13u team had thirteen players. I swapped out three (for attitude) at 14u. I added three pitchers for 16u (kids were fifteen). Everyone moved on to quality 17u programs.

Four of the kids were 5’2” at thirteen. A majority of the team had January or later birthdays. No one started school late or repeated a year. Five went on to play major conference ball. All but one played college ball at some level. The one played college basketball. He could have played baseball.

@RJM posted:

This was not my experience. I started a travel team at 13u. The team was essentially some of the top all stars from out eighteen team LL district with a couple of outside players. I didn’t go just by who were the best all stars. The kids had to be projectable as high school players regardless of current size. I passed on big kids with short parents. I avoided kids with PITA parents. The 13u team had thirteen players. I swapped out three (for attitude) at 14u. I added three pitchers for 16u (kids were fifteen). Everyone moved on to quality 17u programs.

Four of the kids were 5’2” at thirteen. A majority of the team had January or later birthdays. No one started school late or repeated a year. Five went on to play major conference ball. All but one played college ball at some level. The one played college basketball. He could have played baseball.

Great story this is the way it absolutely should be. have no doubt that 75% of the kids on 3 teams my son played in from 13u to 15u will play D1 baseball.  many have committed already.

But I need to ask...when did this occur with your Tam RJM. A lot has changed in HS baseball recruiting in the past 15 years, even if a lot has not really changed in how players develop in that time thanks to social media, PG, PBR and the emphasis on metrics vs. eyeballs.

@2023Catcher posted:

Great story this is the way it absolutely should be. have no doubt that 75% of the kids on 3 teams my son played in from 13u to 15u will play D1 baseball.  many have committed already.

But I need to ask...when did this occur with your Tam RJM. A lot has changed in HS baseball recruiting in the past 15 years, even if a lot has not really changed in how players develop in that time thanks to social media, PG, PBR and the emphasis on metrics vs. eyeballs.

Things are happening sooner now. It increases the odds of mistakes on both sides, college coaches and players.

My son is 27 now. There were teams then selecting the biggest, strongest kids and swapping them out each year for the new biggest, strongest players. I used to explain to parents just because a kid is on the 14u A team at an academy does not mean making the 17u A team.

@RJM posted:

Things are happening sooner now. It increases the odds of mistakes on both sides, college coaches and players.

There were teams then selecting the biggest, strongest kids and swapping them out each year for the new biggest, strongest players.

Yes I've seen lots of mistakes on both side.

12u-14u. We called it Gorilla ball. take the biggest strongest kids with a birthday after May 1 playing down not with their grade  and beat up on everyone else. Problem is it seems to work for a while ....and yeah results in mistakes on both sides. Especially during a pandemic with a seemingly perpetual dead period

Last edited by 2023Catcher

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