My son is a 2021 wrapping up his sophomore high school season now. He’s a 15 year old tall RHP/OF with a pitchers frame (6’4, 175 lbs). Like most pitchers his age, he’s always been a two-way player.

However, as he has added size and strength and his velocity has increased his pitching has really overshadowed his hitting/defense. Both in terms of performance and opportunities. It’s becoming pretty obvious his eventual future is on the mound, although he'll hit in high school for as long as they will let him.

Just have a few questions about how the whole thing works for PO’s in the summer:

  • Do they normally pitch one start in a tournament, or is it multiple appearances of a few innings each?
  • If it’s only one start, do kids generally stay for the whole tournament? I’m sure my son would want to be a part of the camaraderie in the dugout, however its hard for me to justify the cost of spending two or three extra days in a hotel if he’s already exhausted his opportunity for the weekend.
  • Is it common to mix in camps or showcases mid week?

 

Thanks thanks for any help you can provide, as always this website is an incredible resource for parents and players

Original Post

It depends on the team....and how they want to use him.  Starters typically go 4-5 innings depending on pitch count.  Relievers may throw more than once....again depending on the team, how many pitchers they have and the pitch count.  Most teams will schedule their pitchers....both starters and relievers so that coaches know when to expect them to throw.   Obviously being a starter gets you more opportunities...and usually a few more innings.  It's much easier to convince a coach to come when he knows you'll throw 4 or 5 innings than if you're only going to throw 2.   As far as the hotels....again, it depends on the team.  If you're a starter, you're usually just obligated to show up for the game you're throwing, but I've never heard of any that cared if you wanted to stick around.  We had several kids that did....just to hang out and be a part of the team.  If you're a reliever, and scheduled to throw the third game of the weekend, you may get a chance earlier if you're there.....and possibly be seen by a coach who happened to be there to see someone else.   I guess it's up to you and your son on whether the extra expense of staying extra nights will be worth it. 

As far as mid week camps/showcases....as long as your son is ready to go on the weekend, I doubt his team will care what he does during the week.  Again, starter/reliever may determine how much he can throw other than the weekend

It really depends on the organization and type of event.  We have been involved with Scout Leagues where it was common for P's to come and go, even during the course of a single game or DH, based on their scheduled innings.  Then, there are plenty of other travel organizations who play in more traditional tournaments where it is the norm to stay with the team throughout, but still some exceptions.  

With regard to mixing camps and showcases, you really have to start becoming your own law enforcement.  Things get really crazy with a P in demand combined with the recruiting efforts of the player and family.  You have to learn to plan, monitor and say no.  You guys are the only ones who will be keeping track of the big picture... all pitches thrown for travel, at showcases, camps, with instructor and on his own.  You have to have firm guidelines in place to avoid overuse.  Figure out priorities, commitments, etc., plan things out and stick to the plan.  Again, learn to say "NO, that will put him past his pitch count for that period of time".

BTW, multiple short appearances in a single tourney is not wise unless it is truly a closer role (very short), and even then, not more than a couple.  He would have to warm up, ramp up and throw game intensity each time and this takes a toll, even though the actual pitch count may be low.

Most organizations we had dealt with have had a reduced cost for pitcher Only. And they were not at the tournament for the whole time. They showed up for there start and they were gone. 

However this can differ from Org, to Org. so this is one of the important questions to ask. Several teams brought my son on as a PO, however he was always converted to a two way player, because he was one of the better options in the OF.

 

I can only share how my PO son has been handled, so may vary by team.  Like your son, my kid was a two-way but when it became obvious, he made the switch.  He had a knee injury that we also wanted to protect, so made the decision for him easier.  He found out that he loves baseball even more now.  At practice he gets to focus on his own development and the daily pressure to hit has been removed.  My responses:

- Totally depends on the pitcher.  My son is a primary starter for his travel team.  So he usually pitches the first or second game of pool for 2-3 innings (this works in the longer PG events, not so much for weekend events).  He sometimes will come in to close out a game in pool.  But then he's lined up to start in bracket with the other 1-2 primary starters.  But there are numerous PO's who can relieve at any time, subject to any pitch count restrictions.  I would consult with your travel coach to see what he has in mind for your son.

- My son goes to every game.  He can wear shorts when he's not scheduled to pitch, but it's still important to throw on off days, and being a part of the team is a part of the experience.  I wouldn't want it any other way.  We're fortunate to play locally much of the time, but he also stays to the end when we go out of town.  Remember, coaches are looking as much at players when they are NOT playing as when they are.  I have a great story from last summer that I previously shared that backs that statement up 100%!

- It's hard for a pitcher to mix in showcases during the middle of the travel season.  But coaches know the players are in it to get noticed by schools, so my guess is so long as you give the coach notice, he'll work around it.  We just focused on doing them before or after the main travel season.  Position players have a much easier time managing this problem.

My 2020 is a PO and has been since last year. We did a combination of local tournaments, college showcases(team based) and PG events (WWBA).

For local tournaments would generally go the day he was pitching, maybe another day with another player. For the college showcases, it depended what schools were on which days if a 2 day event. Would usually pitch an inning or 2 each day.

He would usually stay for all of WWBA (or at least team was knocked out). Since this is his last year of summer ball, he'll go down to the 2020 WWBA a few days in, and stay into the 2021(16U) and pitch in both.

The nice thing about the PO roll is that it allowed him to be on a set training schedule (throwing and lifting). If he went to all his teams games it started to defeat the purpose.

Like others have said, it depends. 2019 played on a team last summer with 30 guys on the roster so pitching was not an issue. Getting all of them enough work was. At a certain point, the only tournaments worth going to are 5-8 days. The top 3 guys would throw 3 innings or 60 pitches in the first three games then come back for the playoffs trying to throw full games. The rest of the guys would come out of the bullpen or have one full start. Not everybody was happy but they all know their role and it worked. When you play 7 pool play games you need pitching to go deep in the playoffs. 

The coach wanted the players at every game to make sure it was a team and not 28 guys flying in every week. But if you went to him and said I can't drop 600 on a hotel for the next 5 nights he would find arrangements. Not all the parents went to every tournament so most of the time a bunch of them would split a room to save money. One kid stayed with us and just paid for a cot and his dinenr. Blowup mattresses when it was drivable. Coach always flew out a day after incase any of them got delayed or missed flights. 

As far as camps and showcases. It's about getting recruited not winning games, so you gotta do what's best for you. But if you find yourself missing multiple starts for showcases, you're probably in the wrong place to begin with. 

We got the reduced PO rate. We had 6 POs on a team of 17, with 2 two way guys. For the big events 5 gg or longer it was nice everyone stayed, on non pitching days the boys would wear shorts and be in the dugout, they seemed to like each other. Some tourneys kids would come in to,pitch and leave. Some stayed after pitching but once your pitch count was up for starters most left. Even local events, some POs would show up,the day they pitched and then leave. Some stayed and came back to hang out. Coaches spelled it out early, what was expected. We had no problems.

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