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Here’s the announcement:

“Prep Baseball Report announced a partnership with Area Code Baseball to expand the reach of the Area Code Games and fill gaps in the evaluation process during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Area Code ID Series, powered by Prep Baseball Report, will serve as the first step in the journey to competing in the Area Code Games next summer.

The Area Code Games is one of the nation's top pre-draft showcases, and players (usually rising seniors) are selected by major league area scouts on a regional basis (hence the name). By joining with Prep Baseball Report, the Area Code Games hopes to expand its pool of potential players. The ID Series will also have more of an instructional component than the traditional Area Code tryout, with feedback from pro scouts and analytics from PBR's technology suite.”

- - - So, is this a good thing, meaning that it might help someone who was not on the scout’s radar and may not get a chance now because of the pandemic? Or, is this just a money grab where they will be happen to take anyone’s check and fill the pockets of PBR (and I assume something for ACG too)?

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I would say it is 99% a money grab.  The Area Code Games is really upper echelon.  MLB Scouts don’t miss completely (as in having no idea they exist!) on 99.9% of top prospects.

There are far better ways to get on the radar for the Area Code Games.  First and foremost is to be really phenomenal.  Do you run a 6.6 60?  Throw 95+?  Hit Bombs off of pitchers that throw 90+?  Do you have the Top Travel Teams competing with each other to have you on their team?  Are you getting invites to Perfect Game National?

I know players from our area who check all those boxes, and are P5 commits, ranked in the Top 10 by PBR in our state, who STILL did not get an Area Codes invite.

So yeah.  Huge money grab.

It looks like what AC/PBR are offering is a multi-step process where you first have to go to the AC ID Series (for $299-499 a pop) and THEN you possibly "earn" an invitation to an AC try out which I assume also costs money (but that's not clear). But then if you read the fine print, it says this is an: "additional layer to Area Code Games prospect visibility" which means that Area Code maintains its integrity by not requiring you to go the PBR route or any other route--if a scout wants to see you at the AC games, they will make that desire clear and you will get invited to a try-out with or without this PBR route. IMHO it looks like there is definitely an element of a PBR money grab that is using the draw of the Area Code games to get more kids in their system. Especially since the first set of try-outs or evaluations or whatever you want to call them happen in the dead of winter (Dec - Feb) where some pitchers may be shut down and other players are feasibly playing other sports or enjoy a couple of weeks away from baseball. Not necessarily the best or healthiest time to showcase.  It doesn't mean that it might not be a great opportunity for some talented players but something about it makes me a little sad. There was something really nice about ECP and ACG being completely separate from the big showcase/travel ball scene. 

I’m not even going to attempt to sugarcoat this. Area Code tryouts are by invitation only. Players that receive that invitation are established players that are already well known and don’t need to be “identified” by PBR -  or anyone else for that matter. Very good players get left off the Area Code teams every year. IMO this “partnership” is just a money grab by PBR.

My 2023 son got invited to the AC tryout this year for the Underclass games. It was a great experience for him even though he didn't make it. Great exposure to the talent that is out there and what he needs to do to continue to compete against the best.  When I saw the announcement about the PBR process now, it kind of felt like the mystique and uniqueness behind getting the invite lost some of it's luster. Interesting though, they don't have a tryout listed for the state of Texas. Hoping like others have said above, that there is still the old route of getting an invite without having to go through this preliminary round.

A lot of people have good experiences with PBR. I'm indifferent.

I will say that they really dominated the potential college prospect social media market and as a result I think they get a little more credibility than they deserve. Pairing with an organization like AC helps add to that, but anybody in the know understands that a lot of what they do are money grabs. This included

Does this mean that the local PBR scouts are picking area code teams?

No. It means that PBR has figured out a way to profit off of the Area Code games by holding preliminary “tryouts” before the actual AC tryouts. A substantial portion of AC are selected by reputation before the tryouts actually take place. The PBR events may identify an occasional outlier that isn’t well known but he would still have to perform well at AC tryouts to make the team. PBR deal is straight up money grab designed to attract hopefuls.

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