We have a 2022 kid (5'7" & 175 lbs) and are looking for advise. He is a RHP and his top FB velocity last summer was 79. He is part of a competitive travel team and participated in five PG tournaments summer/fall and made the All-Tournament Teams in four of the five for pitching and all five for hitting. (The one he missed for pitching was due to an injury where he did not pitch. )   I understand the All-Tournament Teams is not a big deal but mention it as back ground information. He also catches and we have been told his catching skills are high and might be his ticket to a mid D-1 school.

Despite 57 innings pitched and an ERA of 1.9 covering all tournaments for the Summer/Fall (ERA of .85 for the Five  PG tournaments), he got absolutely no attention from the scouts at the tournaments despite winning every game he started while a teammate who throw in the mid-80's (much taller kid who simply looks like a pitcher) got constant attention and will probably commit to a D-1,P5) this coming summer. The other kid rarely goes more than three innings and pushes an ERA of 4. I am totally aware it is all about "potential" at this age but want to be realistic. The coaches (both high school and travel) obviously sees our kid for the potential to win games  on the mound "now" so for the past 12 months, his catching opportunities have been rare and when not pitching, he plays the infield corners.

So  here is the question, our kid loves to pitch but his long term goal is to play in college.  His doctor says he will probably top out at 5'10" which means he will never be the prototypical pitcher prospect. Should we push him away from the pitching and start restricting his innings pitched (he is a strong kid and the coaches love that he is always good for 5/6/7 innings per game) and look for a team where he can catch more?

I appreciate the knowledge on this board and would welcome some guidance.

Original Post

If the kid loves to pitch he should continue to pitch. It amazes me how many people make a plan for the future that cuts out the present enjoyment. Don’t forget to enjoy today. High school and travel ball are fun. Plus they’re the bird in hand. You can’t guarantee future pleasure in baseball. 

Don’t obsess on level of play at college. Find an opportunity that is the best potential baseball, academic and social experience regardless of level. Once college is over what level is played is irrelevant.

If a kid is a two way player (pitcher and position) and not dominant in one just keep doing it and let it sort itself out. 

My only disclaimer on this is the issue with pitching and catching at a competitive level. It can be rough on the arm. But you mentioned he’s been used as a corner infielder.

i noticed you didn’t bring up hitting. It doesn’t matter how well a kid catches if he can’t hit. College programs will find a hitter who catches adequately.

Last edited by RJM

Let's take inventory...

You know the kid loves to play and is a good player.  You know he doesn't currently have D1 measurables and size and may not reach that going forward.  You've learned the velo, projected velo and size are certainly parts of the equation with regard to college recruiting at the D1 level.  You mentioned he has been told catching skills are high and it may be his ticket to a mid- D1... although there is a little bit of confusion to that point as you also say when he doesn't pitch, he plays corner IF with rare opportunities to catch (so, if he has such great potential as a C, why are coaches not putting him there when not pitching?).  Also, you mentioned that he loves to pitch but didn't mention anything about a love for catching.  

So, what are the takeaways?

With typical continued growth and development, he will likely be able to play somewhere in college but the right fit may very well end up being at a level other than D1.  Be aware that maxing out at 79 doesn't fair well for him as a D1 catcher either.  So, first, will that still fit with his goals (playing college ball at a sub-D1 level)?  I know that can be a very difficult question to ask at this point as most HS sophs perception is that D1 baseball IS college baseball.  If this does end up being the case, the recruiting timeline is later for those other levels, so he has time to develop overall without making immediate decisions about what position to focus on.  He needs to also be aware that catching at the college level is particularly rigorous with a great deal of time catching bullpens for large pitching staffs, often sacrificing time with team hitting to do so.  He REALLY needs to love it.    

I don't think we can give you direct answers on this, but can give you additional perspective to frame your thought process with.  RJM touches on a few very important points.  How well he hits against top level pitching, of course, is also a huge part of the equation.  And, probably most important, he has three seasons of HS and travel ball to enjoy.  Be sure to allow for that to happen to the fullest for both of you.  College ball may or may not happen for a wide variety of reasons.  Yes, it is wise to allot some head space to planning ahead and asking these questions.  But don't get too far ahead and forget to embrace the day.

 

Last edited by cabbagedad

I'm sure he is a good catcher, but at 5'7 he doesn't have any tickets. Size is important and he is still growing. For now all he can do is continue to eat and hope he sprouts up in the next year. If you're wondering why your 5'7 mid-high 70s son isn't getting looks as a pitcher it's because there is nothing for a college coach to look at. Getting outs and having a low ERA at 15 does not project as anything. Height and velocity does. So his coach is right, he is somebody that can pitch well and win them games for now until he grows and his velocity gets up there, there is nothing to see from a recruiting standpoint. Most kids are recruited the summer heading into their senior year, he still has plenty of time. 

A bit off topic, but the relationship between a pitcher and catcher is important. DS is a pitcher (1 of 6 on his team) and we have 3 catchers. DS keeps getting paired up with one and he tells DS to throw only FB's and DS shakes him off but he signals him to throw a FB anyways.

I did ask my DS, can't you shake him off and throw what you want and he said not really because if the catcher is set to catch a FB and he throws a slider, and the catcher misses it, it affects him...

I told DS to talk to his coach and ask if he could have one of the other catchers, but he is also afraid of retaliation...(the catcher is good at what he does, but DS also knows that when he has a batter 0-2, he needs to throw something other than a FB). (I did tell DS that I am out of it, he has to handle this all his own)

Advice please.

DS needs to speak first the catcher who keeps calling fastballs so he can understand the reason why.   They should try to get on the same page first before anything is asked of the coach.   No good will come of going around his catcher to the coach until they (pitcher and catcher) come to an impasse.

Gunner Mack Jr. posted:

DS needs to speak first the catcher who keeps calling fastballs so he can understand the reason why.   They should try to get on the same page first before anything is asked of the coach.   No good will come of going around his catcher to the coach until they (pitcher and catcher) come to an impasse.

He has already spoken with the catcher multiple times. The catchers response is “ do what I tell you” 🤷‍♀️

OP,

Can your son hit?  I've seen my share of outstanding defensive catchers in high school and college.  All three of my boys were primarily pitchers in high school but also played the field and hit.  In college, nothing separates a catcher from another catcher like being able to hit.   Switch hitting catcher...double bonus.   IMHO catcher is THE most important position on the field.  He always needs to know what is going on in both dugouts, be a step ahead, and get a feel for the flow of the game.  If he can add anything to the offense then you have a rare skill set of offense, defense and leadership.

PS..You shouldn't have to do anything except support him.  He will gravitate to where he wants to go.   If your son is a college bound recruited baseball player it will be very apparent what skill set separates him from others, and is in demand with college coaches.

As always, JMO.

meads posted:
Gunner Mack Jr. posted:

DS needs to speak first the catcher who keeps calling fastballs so he can understand the reason why.   They should try to get on the same page first before anything is asked of the coach.   No good will come of going around his catcher to the coach until they (pitcher and catcher) come to an impasse.

He has already spoken with the catcher multiple times. The catchers response is “ do what I tell you” 🤷‍♀️

My son asked the coach if he could have some additional bullpen time with the catcher that was struggling with his slider and wouldn’t call it during games. Saying he “just needs time to get used to it”.  It was a valid point as my 2022 is (obviously from my moniker) a lefty. Also a passive aggressive way of bringing the coach into the situation.  But I do understand your son’s frustration. My son loved it when he was pulled up to pitch varsity games because the catchers would call what they thought was best against the batter, not what was best for them to receive.  The lower level catcher never got to the point where son could throw a hard breaking ball with a runner on third but it did get better. 

meads posted:

A bit off topic, but the relationship between a pitcher and catcher is important. DS is a pitcher (1 of 6 on his team) and we have 3 catchers. DS keeps getting paired up with one and he tells DS to throw only FB's and DS shakes him off but he signals him to throw a FB anyways.

I did ask my DS, can't you shake him off and throw what you want and he said not really because if the catcher is set to catch a FB and he throws a slider, and the catcher misses it, it affects him...

I told DS to talk to his coach and ask if he could have one of the other catchers, but he is also afraid of retaliation...(the catcher is good at what he does, but DS also knows that when he has a batter 0-2, he needs to throw something other than a FB). (I did tell DS that I am out of it, he has to handle this all his own)

Advice please.

More background needed... what level program? fall games? is regular coaching staff on hand? is there a P coach? is C calling on his own or getting signs relayed? is C and upperclassman and P underclassman? will C be the likely starter going forward?  what's DS?   could this be beginning of practice season when P's generally are directed to throw only FB's? is this 100% of the time or just most of the time?

cabbagedad posted:
meads posted:

A bit off topic, but the relationship between a pitcher and catcher is important. DS is a pitcher (1 of 6 on his team) and we have 3 catchers. DS keeps getting paired up with one and he tells DS to throw only FB's and DS shakes him off but he signals him to throw a FB anyways.

I did ask my DS, can't you shake him off and throw what you want and he said not really because if the catcher is set to catch a FB and he throws a slider, and the catcher misses it, it affects him...

I told DS to talk to his coach and ask if he could have one of the other catchers, but he is also afraid of retaliation...(the catcher is good at what he does, but DS also knows that when he has a batter 0-2, he needs to throw something other than a FB). (I did tell DS that I am out of it, he has to handle this all his own)

Advice please.

More background needed... what level program? fall games? is regular coaching staff on hand? is there a P coach? is C calling on his own or getting signs relayed? is C and upperclassman and P underclassman? will C be the likely starter going forward?  what's DS?   could this be beginning of practice season when P's generally are directed to throw only FB's? is this 100% of the time or just most of the time?

Club level - 16u team. Fall season. No  P coach, but 3 coaches are there. Catcher makes his own calls. The C is the primary one. DS stands for Darling Son 😂 The C calls FBs most of the time. My son and the other P’s can throw sliders and curves. Some are better than others. My son and 1 other are the top 2 for the team

And as far as bullpen time: my son has asked numerous times for him and C to get together with us doing the driving and open to the C’s schedule and C says he can’t.... this C and my son used to be friends over the summer and as soon as Fall ball started C is very different. He has detached himself from the other boys. 

Last edited by meads

Hahaha... definitely a new use of an acronym 

So, sounds like there might be some issues going on with the C so tough for us to advise without being in tune to the situation.  Maybe it's something more important than fastballs and curves.  Maybe son can appeal to him that way... "hey, everything OK?  I can't get better as a P and you can't get better as a C if all we're doing is throwing FB's.  What's up?"

If still no response, at some point, maybe son has to  go to the HC but, at the same time, lets him know there might be something deeper going on with C - express concern.  Since son is one of two top P's, he likely has some leverage to be able to bring it up.

Meanwhile, make the best of it.  There is plenty to be gained by becoming really effective via well placed FB's.

Last edited by cabbagedad
meads posted:
cabbagedad posted:
meads posted:

A bit off topic, but the relationship between a pitcher and catcher is important. DS is a pitcher (1 of 6 on his team) and we have 3 catchers. DS keeps getting paired up with one and he tells DS to throw only FB's and DS shakes him off but he signals him to throw a FB anyways.

I did ask my DS, can't you shake him off and throw what you want and he said not really because if the catcher is set to catch a FB and he throws a slider, and the catcher misses it, it affects him...

I told DS to talk to his coach and ask if he could have one of the other catchers, but he is also afraid of retaliation...(the catcher is good at what he does, but DS also knows that when he has a batter 0-2, he needs to throw something other than a FB). (I did tell DS that I am out of it, he has to handle this all his own)

Advice please.

More background needed... what level program? fall games? is regular coaching staff on hand? is there a P coach? is C calling on his own or getting signs relayed? is C and upperclassman and P underclassman? will C be the likely starter going forward?  what's DS?   could this be beginning of practice season when P's generally are directed to throw only FB's? is this 100% of the time or just most of the time?

Club level - 16u team. Fall season. No  P coach, but 3 coaches are there. Catcher makes his own calls. The C is the primary one. DS stands for Darling Son 😂 The C calls FBs most of the time. My son and the other P’s can throw sliders and curves. Some are better than others. My son and 1 other are the top 2 for the team

And as far as bullpen time: my son has asked numerous times for him and C to get together with us doing the driving and open to the C’s schedule and C says he can’t.... this C and my son used to be friends over the summer and as soon as Fall ball started C is very different. He has detached himself from the other boys. 

Do you have an older daughter who played sports? DD is a girl’s sports term. I’ve never heard DS. I’m thinking my son might have had a comment had I called him Darling Son. 

RJM posted:
meads posted:
cabbagedad posted:
meads posted:

A bit off topic, but the relationship between a pitcher and catcher is important. DS is a pitcher (1 of 6 on his team) and we have 3 catchers. DS keeps getting paired up with one and he tells DS to throw only FB's and DS shakes him off but he signals him to throw a FB anyways.

I did ask my DS, can't you shake him off and throw what you want and he said not really because if the catcher is set to catch a FB and he throws a slider, and the catcher misses it, it affects him...

I told DS to talk to his coach and ask if he could have one of the other catchers, but he is also afraid of retaliation...(the catcher is good at what he does, but DS also knows that when he has a batter 0-2, he needs to throw something other than a FB). (I did tell DS that I am out of it, he has to handle this all his own)

Advice please.

More background needed... what level program? fall games? is regular coaching staff on hand? is there a P coach? is C calling on his own or getting signs relayed? is C and upperclassman and P underclassman? will C be the likely starter going forward?  what's DS?   could this be beginning of practice season when P's generally are directed to throw only FB's? is this 100% of the time or just most of the time?

Club level - 16u team. Fall season. No  P coach, but 3 coaches are there. Catcher makes his own calls. The C is the primary one. DS stands for Darling Son 😂 The C calls FBs most of the time. My son and the other P’s can throw sliders and curves. Some are better than others. My son and 1 other are the top 2 for the team

And as far as bullpen time: my son has asked numerous times for him and C to get together with us doing the driving and open to the C’s schedule and C says he can’t.... this C and my son used to be friends over the summer and as soon as Fall ball started C is very different. He has detached himself from the other boys. 

Do you have an older daughter who played sports? DD is a girl’s sports term. I’ve never heard DS. I’m thinking my son might have had a comment had I called him Darling Son. 

DD and DS are pretty common online abbreviations (in non-sports circles).  Very prevalent on parenting boards and college admission boards as well. Don't forget the DH, which doesn't stand for Designated Hitter

LousyLefty posted:
 
...
 

DD and DS are pretty common online abbreviations (in non-sports circles).  Very prevalent on parenting boards and college admission boards as well. Don't forget the DH, which doesn't stand for Designated Hitter

There are other boards?  ... THERE ARE NON-SPORTS CIRCLES ?!?!?!?


Seriously, I don't get out enough.

I have been in threads on this site where DS was used...originally I posted “my son” and thought oops and changed it to DS. Oh well....

TideFanRTR posted:

We have a 2022 kid (5'7" & 175 lbs) and are looking for advise. He is a RHP and his top FB velocity last summer was 79. He is part of a competitive travel team and participated in five PG tournaments summer/fall and made the All-Tournament Teams in four of the five for pitching and all five for hitting. (The one he missed for pitching was due to an injury where he did not pitch. )   I understand the All-Tournament Teams is not a big deal but mention it as back ground information. He also catches and we have been told his catching skills are high and might be his ticket to a mid D-1 school.

...

I appreciate the knowledge on this board and would welcome some guidance.

TideFan, thanks for the post...thank you to all who post here. I have been a lurker for a couple of months now and this is post #1. 

I have a 2022 who was a catcher/pitcher combo until the end of the spring season this year. I agree with the majority of advice/info given thus far on this thread but do want to post a warning or caution for you and your son to consider. My son was similar to yours from a velo standpoint with him touching 78 this last spring on the mound while catching a lot of games for his HS team. He only threw a couple of innings in games in the spring (we play spring/summer/fall here in MN) but caught 18/21 games for his HS team. I would have considered him a catcher/pitcher rather than a pitcher/catcher as his HS team needed him as the starting catcher more than as a pitcher. We threw bullpens on Sunday's during the HS season in order to be more prepared for summer club team where he would be called upon to pitch more innings while splitting catching duties. 

The back of his shoulder started to bug him late in the HS season about mid way thru his Sunday bullpens. We would throw till the shoulder bugged him and then shut it down. Usually it was about after warm up and 20 or so pitches into the pen.

Long story much shorter it finally started hurting more and much sooner when he was just throwing rather than pitching. We went to the orthopedic doc to have him checked out and found out that the combination of pitching/catching was exposing some weakness in the muscles around his rotator cuff. No internal damage but the combination of his throwing 2x as much and in different ways made that weakness apparent in pain. My kid is a nice combo of big/strong/flexible (6'3" 180) which is great everywhere but for those muscles in his right shoulder. The solution from the orthopedic Doc and the Doc of PT was shut it down for 10 weeks and do shoulder strengthening every day until muscles back where they need to be and then start throwing again.  DH'd all summer (what a learning experience that was on many levels) and then was able to start throwing again in late August and then played some OF this fall. Gonna ramp up catching again this winter. 

Beware the combination of Pitching and Catching. Both of our docs (they are both THE people to see for arm/shoulder injuries here in MN) warned us of that combo going forward. They said the only combo that is worse for arm and shoulder injuries is SS/Pitching. My son has decided to be a Catcher/other going forward (he hits the ball well) for the rest of his HS career and beyond as he likes catching more than pitching and both he and his club coach think that is the best strategy going forward. He can most likely change to a pitcher only or pitcher/other in the future if catching does not work out. 

I wish your son nothing but the best going forward but just wanted to let you know a little about what we went thru this summer. Hoping that it does not happen to him or another reading here in the future and for sure later in his recruiting window. 

The size of a pitcher and catcher will matter to a D1 HC/RC. Pitchers are typically in the 6'2"-6'-5" range for D1 and catchers are typically 6'-0"-6'2". If your son would like to compete at a D1 then my suggestion is to showcase as a catcher. As Fenway stated, catching is the most important position on the field. With plus defensive catching skills coupled with ability to hit then most HC/RC will overlook size.  I have seen many catchers 5'10" who can hit that are successful at the D1 level.  

Good Luck!

Thanks Guys for the replies.....

USED2LURK - You hit the nail on the head.  The only reason our kid is not catching right now is because of his pitching skills. To his teams, his ability to go out there and win a game on the mound right now is his most important contribution.  He is also a solid hitter (always ends a season in the .300 - .350 batting average) so he always has a spot in the line-up as an infielder or DH/EH.  He too developed a soreness (never a pain) in his shoulder which was diagnosed as a weakness in a particular muscle and he was placed on a J-band program which has seemed to help but it highlighted the pressure he was placing on his arm when catching/pitching.

JABMK - Your point about 5'10" catchers is what I was thinking.  I Just want to make sure he has the proper preparation to achieve his post-HS goals.   The original intent of my posting was to gain insight from others who have faced similar situations.

CABBAGEDAD - Your comment; "But don't get too far ahead and forget to embrace the day....."  Is perfect.   It has been a great experience to see the kid develop and mature.  So few of the kids who started out with him 10 years ago still play.  It is a true blessing!

 

Again, Thank you all for your comments and insights.

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