recruiting advice

Hi I’m new on the board and after reading all the messages I would like to get some advice from all the members. I’m a 2020 graduate and I am trying to be a 2 way which has been hard. My velocity has been down since hitting 86 in January to 83-84 and did ok at the wwba in Atlanta. My travel team coach feels that I should be a po only but in high school I am 2 way. How do I approach this? How much does the travel team coach have to do with recruiting? Any advice appreciated thanks 

Original Post

There are many on this board who have more experience than I, but here are my thoughts:

If your goals are to play in college and be a 2 way, it may limit you in what schools will be available to you.  2-way are fairly uncommon, especially at a D1 level.  You'll have more opportunities at D2 and D3.

So you probably need to ask yourself, what is your main goal.  Is it to be 2-way, D1, or whatever else.

86 in January for a 2020 is very good.  Not sure why the drop-off and/or if you're still growing.  But if you are, that 86 can project well which can open D1 doors.  But, again, that may mean focusing on PO and giving up the 2-way.

My son is a 2019 RHP and he knew pitching is what was going to butter his bread, so he went PO when on varsity as a sophomore.  Also, my son's travel coach has had much more influence than my high school.  I was told the opposite years ago, bc they're 'paid', but he's a college coach himself so much more respected and trusted. 

While we're on that subject, I would highly recommend having a travel coach be a college coach (may be worth a topic in of itself).  My son has had many college coaches watch him pitch, and I spend most of my time watching the interaction with his travel coach.  They talk constantly in between innings.  Not sure if this is common with all teams/coaches or not.  Not to mention he has told us he called coaches directly, as "he knew them well."

Good luck to you!  Sorry for getting off track a bit.

 

Bossdude posted:

Thanks for your advice. Also is it too late to be recruited by D1 colleges as a rising junior? At what velo do the D1college coaches start showing interest ?

Absolutely, not too late.  Here's what we did, as my son was just like you, sitting 83 and hitting 85 summer of rising junior year:

Our take was no D1 would take interest with his current velo.  But, we attended various camps (didn't play on a team) in the fall, where a line of communication could be setup with the schools he was interested in.  All of our D1 targets were mid-major.

My son, like myself, is a slow grower and I am/was confident he would continue to get bigger and stronger.  Hope was, a coach would recognize that too.

We used those lines of communication to then email those coaches during his junior season of HS ball.

Focused on D1, with the thought D2/D3 would happen, starting around now, if D1 didn't work out.

I would say, the D1 interest was luke-warm, until I, by chance, signed him up for a cheap $100 Firecracker Showcase Day.  He hit 88 and had the best fastball of any kid.  Since then, coaches have shown tremendous interest and a few offers have come in.

We never did a PG or WWBA event, mostly because of his slow growth "issue".  We do PBR and they have been tremendous, and I know, first hand, that they call coaches on my son's behalf.

Here's the direct feedback we've received from coaches with offers:  1) Clean arm action is critical, if you don't have that, you won't get serious D1 looks.  2) you need to be able to spin the ball at your age.  This one shocked me when I read a recent scout report posted here a few days ago, then heard it directly from a coach.  He said if you can't spin it at 16, chance are you never will.

Hope this helps.  Not sure if this is the right path for you, or if we got lucky, but it looks like it's working out.

Just a comment on the 2-way thought.  You may get recruited and find an opportunity to be a 2-way guy in college, but it will ultimately depend on how you perform in both roles once on campus.  If you aren't performing at good enough level on BOTH sides of the game, then the coach WILL select which one fits his/team's needs the most.

So to that point, you need to make a determination now as to which you prefer and want to play if only one is an option, then align yourself with that as your primary and the other as your secondary focus.

Most good athletes are two ways guys in HS, but may have no chance of that at the college level.  A current MiLBer from my son's HS was the best pitcher and top 3 fielder (SS and OF) on the HS team.  His P5 school recruited and "promised" him he'd get the opportunity to be a two way guy at college.  First week of fall, when the kid was placing his bat order, the coach cancelled it and told him he wouldn't need any bats while there.  Never has a single AB in college.  So while the coach dangled the carrot that the kid wanted during the recruiting process, the coach never saw or entertained him as a 2-way guy.  Told the kid what he wanted to hear to get him on campus, then did what he intended to do with him once there.  Kid was drafted 3 times (out of HS, post Jr college season and after graduating college).  Currently a pitcher in MiLB.

Ultimately, the decision will be made for you and you'll have to live with it, so to that point, focus most on where you want to play the most so you have the best opportunity to achieve.  If your travel coach doesn't agree/support your decision with playing time there, find one who does.  For now, you have some say in your future.  Soon, you will have little.

Nuke83 posted:

Just a comment on the 2-way thought.  You may get recruited and find an opportunity to be a 2-way guy in college, but it will ultimately depend on how you perform in both roles once on campus.  If you aren't performing at good enough level on BOTH sides of the game, then the coach WILL select which one fits his/team's needs the most.

So to that point, you need to make a determination now as to which you prefer and want to play if only one is an option, then align yourself with that as your primary and the other as your secondary focus.

Most good athletes are two ways guys in HS, but may have no chance of that at the college level.  A current MiLBer from my son's HS was the best pitcher and top 3 fielder (SS and OF) on the HS team.  His P5 school recruited and "promised" him he'd get the opportunity to be a two way guy at college.  First week of fall, when the kid was placing his bat order, the coach cancelled it and told him he wouldn't need any bats while there.  Never has a single AB in college.  So while the coach dangled the carrot that the kid wanted during the recruiting process, the coach never saw or entertained him as a 2-way guy.  Told the kid what he wanted to hear to get him on campus, then did what he intended to do with him once there.  Kid was drafted 3 times (out of HS, post Jr college season and after graduating college).  Currently a pitcher in MiLB.

Ultimately, the decision will be made for you and you'll have to live with it, so to that point, focus most on where you want to play the most so you have the best opportunity to achieve.  If your travel coach doesn't agree/support your decision with playing time there, find one who does.  For now, you have some say in your future.  Soon, you will have little.

My son's college coach told us up front during recruiting he'll be a PO. Being a two-way player is like having three full time jobs — pitcher, fielder, hitter — and don't forget student.

 

Iowamom23 posted:
Nuke83 posted:

Just a comment on the 2-way thought.  You may get recruited and find an opportunity to be a 2-way guy in college, but it will ultimately depend on how you perform in both roles once on campus.  If you aren't performing at good enough level on BOTH sides of the game, then the coach WILL select which one fits his/team's needs the most.

So to that point, you need to make a determination now as to which you prefer and want to play if only one is an option, then align yourself with that as your primary and the other as your secondary focus.

Most good athletes are two ways guys in HS, but may have no chance of that at the college level.  A current MiLBer from my son's HS was the best pitcher and top 3 fielder (SS and OF) on the HS team.  His P5 school recruited and "promised" him he'd get the opportunity to be a two way guy at college.  First week of fall, when the kid was placing his bat order, the coach cancelled it and told him he wouldn't need any bats while there.  Never has a single AB in college.  So while the coach dangled the carrot that the kid wanted during the recruiting process, the coach never saw or entertained him as a 2-way guy.  Told the kid what he wanted to hear to get him on campus, then did what he intended to do with him once there.  Kid was drafted 3 times (out of HS, post Jr college season and after graduating college).  Currently a pitcher in MiLB.

Ultimately, the decision will be made for you and you'll have to live with it, so to that point, focus most on where you want to play the most so you have the best opportunity to achieve.  If your travel coach doesn't agree/support your decision with playing time there, find one who does.  For now, you have some say in your future.  Soon, you will have little.

My son's college coach told us up front during recruiting he'll be a PO. Being a two-way player is like having three full time jobs — pitcher, fielder, hitter — and don't forget student.

 

That's great that he was honest and up front with you, but had your son insisted on playing two way, then this coach may have simply passed or left the PO offer stand and allowed your son to either accept a PO role or move on.  In my example, the kid was firm on wanting to be a two way player and was recruited heavily by all the top programs.  In his instance, the coach got him hooked with the belief that he'd get a chance to play both sides of the ball when he really had no intention of that ever happening for the player.  Not saying that every college coach will be dishonest, BUT, in all cases, whether BOSSDUDE is given a chance or not to be a 2 way guy, it will either happen or not based on his performance on campus and it will be the coach who decides where he'll play.

Just good info for the kid to have now so he can set some realistic expectations.

Bossdude,

Welcome to the site.  Good advice by others...  My additional two cents regarding how to handle things with your travel coach would be this.. 

The baseball world is very small.  Be respectful.  Don't burn bridges.  

It's OK if you don't agree with his assessment and want to prove him wrong.  Meanwhile, do your best to maintain a good relationship with him.  The recruiting process is in many ways like a job search/interview process.  You need a resume and references.  One of your current "jobs" on your resume is with this travel team and one of the key references is this coach, like it or not.  

If you are 100% committed to moving forward as a 2-way at the next level, consider your options in regards to travel.  It may be worth another/deeper discussion with travel coach or may require a move.  In any case...

The baseball world is very small.  Be respectful.  Don't burn bridges. 

Two way college players are usually P/DH. They don’t hit when they pitch. Before someone mentions Brenden McKay or Tim Hudson they were very talented, high picks in the draft. 

Playing college baseball and being a student is a challenging enough two way experience. My son found it time consuming to practice infield and outfield. Chances are the coach will decide whether you’re a pitcher or a position player. One of the best high school hitters I ever played against never touched a bat in college. He ended up pitching in the majors. 

If your travel coach is a good coach he has credibility and college contacts. He should be preselling you to the colleges you’re interested in playing before they see you. 

 

As you would think, the likelihood of being a 2-way player in college is higher for those schools with smaller roster sizes. Ask yourself, "Are you a pitcher that hits or a hitter that pitches?"  With the three consistently 2-way players on Ripken Fan Jr's team, each can hit the ball over the fence. The closer was the regular first baseman. The DH also plays first and can also pitch. A third base/utility guy is was the number 4 starter. As for the top three pitchers, they are all POs (though on team's twitter site could swing a mean fungo bat).

Though son was not a "traditional 2-way player", he was recruited at 2-different positions : MI & CF.  He would bring both gloves to showcases as he wanted to keep the recruiting net wide. People would ask him which he preferred and he would say either, though he felt he had the instincts of a middle infielder. As it turns out the offer that he accepted was for "an athletic MI who could play the OF."  Bossdude, hope things work out for you as well. My guess is that your son will get more attention as a P or position player. I don't think you mentioned, but what position does your son play?  Continue to pack both gloves in the bag for the time being. 

Thanks to everyone for the advice. I play MIF and pitch which I started when I was 13. At 15 I was told that I couldn’t play MIF as I was too tall, wasn’t athletic enough etc and I have persisted and played MIF for my hs team and occasionally for my travel team as well.  All the comments have given me a lot to think about and please keep them coming 

I just read your profile... sounds like targeting D1 is high on your list of priorities.  Of course, the higher the level, the more difficult to get recruited, make a roster and compete at any position.  Most D1 players who become either a PO or position player were very good at both in HS but had to focus on their best position or skill set to have a chance to play at the next level.  Think about the best shortstops you saw at WWBA.  Think about the best P's you saw.  Which are you going to most likely be able to compete with in the next year or so?  I say SS's because that's who D1 colleges recruit to fill their MIF roles... the very best SS's.

We haven't seen you play.  If the answer is PO, as I suspect it is, you still have the next two years to enjoy both.  Then, after your high level competitive baseball career is over, you can get back to scratching that other itch if it's still there.

If, on the other hand, you think you have it in you to become a top recruit as a MIF (become very athletic, have great range, great hands and feel for the positions, hit the crap out of the ball consistently against top pitchers, etc.), then maybe that direction will remain an option.  But know this... even if you become a desirable recruit as a P and as a position player, there are a ton of other factors that will likely steer the coach to want you as either one or the other and not both. 

P's and position players have different schedules, workouts and daily routines in college.  Doing both often requires nearly double duty.  Then, there is the task of a coach to balance use of a P as a position player in terms of arm care... very difficult.  So, if the coach has 15 other good P's on his staff, why would he want to deal with that?  You better be markedly better than the very good recruits and returners he already has on staff.  Most HS players underestimate just how good and how deep D1 rosters are. 

IMO, if a player wants to be a 2-way in college, he has to be willing to play at a level where he clearly stands out among his college peers on both sides.  

Given your size at fifteen (6’2 170) unless you’re a premium shortstop, centerfielder or absolute masher you’re going to get slotted as a pitcher. You’re good size with a lot of room to fill out, get stronger and throw harder in the next few years. 

Those guys are there to talk to players, so there's no reason to be shy.  Just stick your hand out and say, "Hi, Coach, my name is Mark Baseball, how are you?" Also, make sure you're hanging around where they can approach you. Because they will if they like what they've seen you do on the field.  Don't hang  out talking to players or parents away from the fields.

@JCG Loved the HeadFirst experience. While it was a bit overwhelming in terms of options, the ability to access coaches was pretty good. Like life, some were ready to receive certain information (positions) and others only wanted arms.  A lot wanted arms. But our outfielder  had a great experience, and showed keen baseball knowledge and performed.  He has two solid interested schools-- one of the schools he approached and one that approached him.  They have a few more weeks of showcases and then discussions continue...  

The one that approached asked him to come visit the school.  Both are D3.  Ranked in Top 120.  Son is happy.  (most important!) He is starting to email tonight!  Also following up on all the conversations he had with other prospective schools. 

Any other advice is welcome.  We understand that some schools are finishing their 2019 recruitment while others are just beginning.   It's all about the process! 

 

Bossdude posted:

Thanks to everyone for the advice. I play MIF and pitch which I started when I was 13. At 15 I was told that I couldn’t play MIF as I was too tall, wasn’t athletic enough etc and I have persisted and played MIF for my hs team and occasionally for my travel team as well.  All the comments have given me a lot to think about and please keep them coming 

I have a 2020 son who hates the idea of being a PO....I'll tell you the same thing I tell him.  Yes, you can hit, yes you can field, but you are an amazing pitcher and if you don't capitalize on that now you are just messing yourself up.  If a coach is excited to see you pitch then you pitch!   You can have all the thoughts and plans in your head that you want but it will come down to the coaches.  This isn't a case of the 5'8 guy who wants to pitch and has talent convincing the coaches to give him a shot in the game.  The game has determined that your role is pitcher.  That is what will get you to the next level.  If you take away pitching do you truly stand out from any other 16 year old baseball player?

I know it's tough love but baseball is a business.  You don't have time to convince a coach you are a two way player, you need to convince him that you are a pitcher.  Focus on what you are good at!  I know baseball is supposed to be fun, and sitting on a bench 5 out of 6 games isn't fun, but you are getting to the point where you need to stand out.  You can't do that if your focus is split.  This idea that you have that you are a two way player may be true, but are you a better pitcher than position player?

CaCO3Girl posted:
 

........................................................

I know it's tough love but baseball is a business.  You don't have time to convince a coach you are a two way player, you need to convince him that you are a pitcher.  Focus on what you are good at!  I know baseball is supposed to be fun, and sitting on a bench 5 out of 6 games isn't fun, but you are getting to the point where you need to stand out.  You can't do that if your focus is split.  This idea that you have that you are a two way player may be true, but are you a better pitcher than position player?

100% agree with CaCO3Girl's bolded words above.   You do what separates your skills from others.   My son was a PO on his national travel team and two way player on his high school team that batted 3rd in the lineup.   He was all-district DH in high school but never picked up a bat in college.  Bottom line is there were better hitters on his travel team and eventual college team.   There weren't better starting pitchers on his travel team or college team.

if you are fortunate enough to be the 5-6% of high schoolers that move on to play college baseball then count your blessings.   It is a select (extremely) few of that 5-6% that will be two-way players in college at any level.   Most of those 5-6% that are given that opportunity to play college baseball were two way players in high school but will soon realize they are competing with men in college for roster positions, travel team, playing time and the starting lineup.   It is better to focus on what you can do extremely well, and separate yourself from the crowd.

Good luck!

Thanks. Just got offered a spot on another travel team who I play for occasionally  as a 2 way player and they believe I should play and pitch until I get picked up as a PO or a position player. Both travel organizations are equal and I'm having a hard time deciding 

My son's pitching has really excelled the last couple of seasons.  Opportunities have come to pitch on top travel teams.  He was a very strong hitter through freshman year of HS, but got very few at bats this past season.  The "opportunities" as a pitcher came at the cost of at bats.  While the pitching stands out, some coaches have told him he also has a D1 bat.  He has committed as a pitcher for college, and is comfortable with that.  He knows he can hit.  At the urging of his high school coach (and myself), he is structuring his fall so he can hit in every game.  He hopes to hit middle of the lineup for his HS team the next two years.  They have a chance to go deep in the Texas HS playoffs.

BossDude, I put that out there as a reminder you have a couple more years of high school.  Hit as long as you can.  Win district in high school.  Go deep in the playoffs.  Win a state championship.  Work towards your college goals, but don't miss the fun you can have right now in high school.

Bossdude posted:

Thanks. Just got offered a spot on another travel team who I play for occasionally  as a 2 way player and they believe I should play and pitch until I get picked up as a PO or a position player. Both travel organizations are equal and I'm having a hard time deciding 

No two teams are equal.

What's the coaching like?

Do you have any friends on either team?

What BIG tourneys do they plan on playing in?

How many are on each roster?

What are the costs for each team?

Have you played for either coach before, did you respond better to either coach?

 

I live in Georgia, we have some of the best orgs in baseball right here.  No two teams are EVER equal, they all have their pro's and cons.

I have played for both coaches. One was a pitcher in the Milb and now coaches. His style is old school and have to keep proving your self all the time. No encouragement when you fail. The other is laid back but positive coaching but no Milb experience. I have friends on both teams. The first will carry 6 POs a total of 16-17.  The other has 14 but I would play MIF hit and pitch. Cost is more with the first and the exposure tournaments are identical Ft Myers in October and Pbr for fall and summer has pg in Atlanta, music city and Pbr tournaments in Indy. 

Son played for a travel team that was coached by his HC in high school.  This HC told him he was a PO at the age of 14/15 and would barely put him as a position player for travel and did NOT allow him to hit in high school.  Son did not want to pitch and knew that his hitting and foot speed was what would take him to the next level.  In the Fall of his Junior year he started playing for a travel team that saw him as a position player only and not as a pitcher...played fall and excelled.  High school season came and went with son not seeing field at all.  Summer before senior year the new team started him every game...he ended up making the tournament team at PG and ended batting 3rd on a team loaded with D1 and D2 commits...his bat and speed stood out (pitched 1 inning all summer).  He ended up committing to a nationally ranked D3. 

BLUF:  Your ability and work ethic will dictate if you are a PO or position player or a two-way...not what a high school or travel coach sees you at.

My 2019 had couple of visits with D3 colleges after his showcases last week.  One school wanted him to be a P.O., because they didn’t need an outfielder, and the other, two way because they happen to be looking for pitchers and outfielders.  I think whether you are 1 or 2 way player depends on the school’s need, but you also must earn the spot once you get there.  My son didn’t play high school baseball his Junior year due to an injury.  I am finding out in recruiting, nothing matters except for how you play in front of the coaches at showcases and tournaments.  That is a good thing because it gives kids chance to play in college irrespective of what happened in their high school.

My son is a young 2020, and a RH PO. It wasn't a difficult choice for him. Had a good arm, but a weak bat. I think if he had to train for hitting and pitching he wouldn't be where he's at now. Hit 85 down at the WWBA this past year, up from 78 the previous year. 

We are at a very competitive hs and we are finding it hard to even be a two way player there.  My son got to dh the first half of the year and was hitting .350 but is still seen as a PO. We know that is his fate in college to play at the level he wants to play, but thought he could keep playing 2 way through high school.  It’s proving difficult. If you are better at pitching, I say focus there.

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