My son is a 2021 LHP. He isn't committed anywhere and has some recruiting interest from some major D1s in our area. He plays for the preimere showcase team in our state. We finished in the Top 10 nationall by PG and advanced to the finals of one of its biggest summer events. He's 6'0, 190. Velo tops at 87 (once last October) and he will cruise anywhere from 83-85. Runs a 7-flat 60, 93 mph exit velo w/ wood off a tee. That's my son. Here's our story. And let me apologize in advance for how long this is. 

The summer before his freshman year, he attended a PG showcase in Ft. Myers and did well. RC of local major D1 contacts showcase director and invites him to their prospect camp the next weekend. He goes and throws really well - shreds the juniors and seniors he threw against. Got up to 82. After the camp, maybe 5 kids were pulled aside out of 70+. He was one of those. PC asked for his phone number, wanted his fall schedule, talked him up etc ... Several weeks later we camped at the other significant D1 baseball force in our area. Threw well there too. Got some individual attention from their PC/RC, but not as drastic as the previous camp. 

Anyway, long story short, we don't hear from either school over the next year. My son attends a talent-laden high school in our state w/ a coach that's known to prefer upperclassmen and is rumored to frown on players for playing showcase as opposed to American Legion. He's the only freshman on the 25-man varsity, but throws just 1 inning for varsity that year. Should he have thrown more? Yes. But it wasn't that far of a stretch. They were loaded that year. 

Then comes summer, which was a disaster. Hand-foot-and-mouth disease and mechanical issues that nobody caught until I did at the end of the summer kind of derailed the whole deal. He threw OK, but for his standards, it was awful. Topped at 83 and threw a no-no in Ft. Myers. That was the highlight. Meanwhile, several players from his current team are receiving offers.

Fall 2018 - He plays in a fall league and absolutely dominates. Mechanics are fixed. Topped at 87 in october and won the league's "Pitcher of the Year" award. School A (first one mentioned) comes calling again. Their PC travels 3.5 hours to watch him pitch. And he was dominant. 6 innings, 9 ks, 1 walk, 0 runs and 2 hits. Only got up to 85 and was mostly 82-84. PC tells our showcase director that he likes what he sees. Mentions there's a camp coming up but there's "no need" for him to go. Implying like, the offer is just a formality. Gets a call from showcase guy a week later and is told he needs to go to the camp. 

Whatever. Not what we wanted to hear, but we'll play ball. We go. Again, he obliterates the competition he sees. This is at a MAJOR D1s prospect camp. I think in the two camps, combined w/ the outing the PC saw, he threw 12 innings w/ 17 strikeouts. 2 walks. 0 runs.  But that day, he only got up to 84. No offer. 

So at this point, we're pissed and sour. We see more players get offers, some by the major D1, some by mid-majors. "They hit 86 at a camp." So we shutdown. And start working out at a professional facility run by a former big leaguer in our state. Kills himself for 6 months. Goes from 5'11, 170 to 6'0 190. I've got him signed up for PG National Indoor in St. Louis in Feb. It was what was to be the beginning of what we refer to as "The Revenge Tour of 2019."

Then, more BS. Shoulder issues. Keeps complaining and he's not a complainer. He's a warrior on the mound. So I shut him down. Cancel PG.  MRI w/ dye, nothing negative. Starts throwing again and has logged 6 innings for his HS team so far this year through 7 games. Velo isn't where it was yet, but that's just a matter of working his arm back into shape. 

So that's our story and where we're at now. I've always read these forums. So many knowledgable people on here. I just want some advice, thoughts, opinions, whatever, etc...

Something I've learned about my son is that he's inmature. Like painfully inmature sometimes. He's very young for his age. If we knew then what we know now, he'd be a 2022. But it's too late for that. As we've gone on in this process, I've learned a lot more about the recruiting process. For instance, projection. IF he was 6'2, 160 I feel like he'd hold several offers. And the fact that absolutely NOTHING is guaranteed until we sign on the dotted line. And even then at some schools, and some more than others, you come in during the fall and it's a survival of the fittest battle. It's nothing for them to cut you loose after the fall. 

That said, where should my focus be w/ my son? He's an OK student (remember the maturity thing). He had a 3.3 last semester and currently has an 18 on the ACT. That will come up, but I'd be surprised if it's ever more than a 23-24. I've known several kids that have gone to JUCO and had tremendous success. Given his maturity level, this is slowly becomming a more attractive option to me. Our showcase guy has connections w/ some of the country's best. Should I already be zeroing in at junior colleges? Or should I shift to more mid-major types of D1s? Or should we continue to chase the dream of playing major college baseball and redshirt? 

If things go well for him over the next 5-6 years, I could see him being draftable one day. He is a lefty and his ball - all of them - have tremendous movement. At a D1 prospect camp last fall, he hit 85 and his spin rates on his FB and CB were both around the MLB average. He's a swing and miss guy. And perhaps most importantly, still just 15 years old. 

I'd just like some parental/coach/scout/etc... advice on what I should be doing w/ him. Where should I be looking? Thank you for taking the time to read this.

 

Original Post

My son is a 2021 also, but doesn't pitch (he's a 3B/1B), and plays for one of the best travel programs in our state.... So I'm familiar with that age group & the way things are working w/ recruiting etc

your kid has the "golden ticket" (lefty pitcher) & I applaud you for shutting him down when the shoulder issue came up.

There are a lot of 2021's out there throwing mid 80's these days.  Every top travel team has several of them, and there are many throwing upper 80's/low 90's (i.e. Cruising at those velocities).  That takes nothing away from your son.  It is an achievment to be where he's at, for sure.... However D1's aren't recruiting the mid 80's guys right now.  Your son is on their radar though, that's a great thing.  They are waiting to see if his velocity increases while meanwhile keeping tabs on a few hundred other similar pitchers.

For now I would emphasize arm care, make sure his mechanics are strong, and get him with a high quality pitching instructor... Your kid is pretty close to D1 material.  If he can be cruising at 88-90, somebody will want him for sure.  It is way too early in his academic or athletic career to  resign yourself to attending a Junior College.

Do what you can to protect his arm health while working on getting stronger & increasing the velocity, and if he can improve his grades & test scores that will certainly help...

I've found that comparing my kid's recruiting experience to his teammates' was a gateway move to dependency on antipsychotic drugs.

3/2 gave you great advice. I'd focus on patience, while still pursuing as many options as possible, AND getting an ACT/SAT tutor. That score can go up significantly with the right preparation.

 

I echo much of what 3n2 said.  You seem to have a pretty good awareness of what's up and you seem to have him in a good situation with a well connected travel org and he is getting attention, albeit no solid D1 offers.

The few red flags I see are tied to panic.  He's a soph and you have already had a "revenge tour" and you are reacting to others on his travel org getting offers already.  A soph in HS and you're already planning a redshirt year in college.  Take it down a notch.  I'm guessing part of the problem is that he started getting some attention very early on, before he started HS so you started feeling like you had to get him on the fast track recruiting timeline.

Your son is 15.  Many don't come anywhere near hitting physical maturity until well after that age.  He will mature physically at HIS own pace.  I too think at least one key factor in not getting those final offers from D1's is the fact that he is just shy of targeted velo's.  Most important is to keep his arm healthy and factor in the 40 yr plan as part of the recruiting/college search process.

He is a lefty that is close with his velo and otherwise proven as an effective P against strong competition.  Even if it takes him another year or so to find those extra 3-4 MPH, he will most likely have very good options when he does.  If you let the pressure of the moment push him to continuously chasing the "next big event", you risk pushing the arm beyond what it is ready to handle.  And it will probably help a great deal if he knows from you that it's OK if things don't happen in the next 3 months, 6 months, a year.  With continued efforts, patience and precautions, he can still do great things.

cabbagedad posted:

I echo much of what 3n2 said.  You seem to have a pretty good awareness of what's up and you seem to have him in a good situation with a well connected travel org and he is getting attention, albeit no solid D1 offers.

The few red flags I see are tied to panic.  He's a soph and you have already had a "revenge tour" and you are reacting to others on his travel org getting offers already.  A soph in HS and you're already planning a redshirt year in college.  Take it down a notch.  I'm guessing part of the problem is that he started getting some attention very early on, before he started HS so you started feeling like you had to get him on the fast track recruiting timeline.

Your son is 15.  Many don't come anywhere near hitting physical maturity until well after that age.  He will mature physically at HIS own pace.  I too think at least one key factor in not getting those final offers from D1's is the fact that he is just shy of targeted velo's.  Most important is to keep his arm healthy and factor in the 40 yr plan as part of the recruiting/college search process.

He is a lefty that is close with his velo and otherwise proven as an effective P against strong competition.  Even if it takes him another year or so to find those extra 3-4 MPH, he will most likely have very good options when he does.  If you let the pressure of the moment push him to continuously chasing the "next big event", you risk pushing the arm beyond what it is ready to handle.  And it will probably help a great deal if he knows from you that it's OK if things don't happen in the next 3 months, 6 months, a year.  With continued efforts, patience and precautions, he can still do great things.

Great reply that I needed to hear. You're exactly right. He's fine. He's a typical weirdo lefty. He thinks he's the best pitcher in the country and, that (Major Division I) is completely ignorant for not offering him. He'll always have that confidence. The "panic" is from me. Deep down, I know that it's going to be OK. But you're right, he got early attention and it didn't quite materialize yet. I left out the fact that the RC at the SEC power told the showcase director that he thinks the velo "will get there, and we'll be ready when it does." I'm open to JUCO, mid-majors, redshirting, whatever ... but again, you're correct ... probably too early to worry about that too much. Have to see where he's at in a year. 

All of the responses have been great and very much appreciated, but I really needed to hear this. Thank you.

I’m on board with the responses. As a lefty D1’s are probably looking for him to hit 87/88 consistently. If he was right handed it would be 90. 

It’s great your son is dominating the hitters he ‘s facing. It’s good for his confidence. But the college coaches aren’t necessarily gauging him against those hitters. They’re looking at his tools and trying to project if he will get college hitters out. 

And you’re right about if he were 6’2”. Is he done growing? Are his growth plates still open?

This summer is only his post soph summer. Relax. 

It’s fun to tell others to relax now that my kids are done playing. . But the reality is it all works out for any kid with the will to make it work.

Good luck. 

 

JayLu0204,

Thanks for posting.   So I think you'll discover that your approach, history and results are not that unique.   Actually, I found myself reading your post and thinking..."yeah, I've been there and I remember going through exactly that".  Nothing you posted surprised me at all.   I'm not sure you know this but, getting recruited to play college baseball at any level is ridiculously hard.  Listen, my kid was the second-to-last kid on his national travel team to commit.  Guess what?  I learned years later that being recruited second-to-last from a successful travel/showcase team is not necessarily a bad thing.  Because he was also one of the last kids from his travel team to be playing in college after 4 years.  The kid that was recruited last on his travel team had a very successful college career and is still playing in the minor leagues.  So, think about that for a minute and the reasons why.  Recruited = Passion + Skill + Persistence + Exposure + Luck.

College Coaches are looking for kids that can solve their problems.   They need a reason to "invest" in a kid either with scholarship money or help with admission.   Your son has received interest and that is a very good thing.  You understand the mechanics of the process.   It is also a signal you are doing the right things, so keep at it.  The next level is "serious interest" and you'll probably know that when it happens, because when it does it happens very quickly.  Remember, college coaches need a reason.  Try to understand things from a college coaches perspective, and this may help you and your son.  

Good luck!

PS..I agree with Smokeminside and 3/2 that an ACT or SAT tutor may be beneficial.  Again, anything to bump his standing in the coaches eyes is always a good thing.

Last edited by fenwaysouth

Food for thought....do not give up on shooting for a P5 school....LHP's live in a different world. They usually develop slower than others and coachs know that.  Ensuring your son is healthy is the most imporatant thing right now.   

 

Last edited by Scott Munroe

Your son can still be a P5 prospect, schools are just looking for more consistency at this point. Topping at 87 then 83 then 86 then 84 is a bigger issue than 85 every time he takes the mound. The velo differences probably tell coaches that he is either injured or doesn't have proper routine/training to maintain that peak performance yet. It sounds like the latter, and it sounds like they are still interested, just waiting for him to correct that part. 

If he doesn't have it yet, get him in a routine. Scheduled bullpens and a throwing schedule. stretching, running, etc. Especially if he isn't throwing a ton in HS yet. Seems like you have some good guys in your corner, I'm sure they can help. 

For now I would focus on getting back into form. Velo up, proper mechanics, good shape, etc. I wouldn't hit any of the big events until he is 100% back to normal. At the end of the day your son is a 6 ft lefty who can bring it in the upper 80s, who plays for one of the top organizations in the state. They will be playing big games, he will get plenty of looks, that's not the problem, it is looking sharp every time he takes the mound. Your son will be fine.

Just don't disclose the ACT scores to schools yet. He took it very early and simply put, they're not good. Have him take the ACT/SAT again in Oct/Nov of his junior year and see how he does. There are still plenty of top baseball schools that are test optional for college applications (MS State, Wake, etc). 

My sons' story is very similar in terms of velocity, growth, etc. Everyone above gave good advise. My only add would be to look at a different P5 conference. Our experience was that ACC & SEC were looking for large kids, can't change that. Shop in a different area. A lefty in the upper 80's will find a good home with a good offer, IMO.  Be patient, make a list of target schools, reach out to different areas. Be open to this part.

If you son projects an attitude, attempt to kill it! Being humble when your surrounded by really good players  and coaches is imperative. Have to remember that every time he's on the field, it's a job interview. 

I'm confident this story will have a good ending......

He's a lefty and going to be a pitcher in college so forget all the other stuff. He is a "potential" P-5 candidate, but be aware P-5 programs are very demanding and only the best play. Higher reward, but higher risk. Better to be a big fish in a winning program than a small fish in a demanding P5 IMO, as I many of my son's friends who went that route flamed out and transferred. 

Develop a plan and work the plan. Make a list of preferred programs 30-50 and make a list of recruiting and head coaches. Profile schools based on academic/location/cost/size interest and THEN add in baseball. Focus on grades, getting bigger stronger, and then on mechanics in that order. Get into a woolforth or driveline program and focus on velo, for now forget about all of the showcase stuff, he is a lefty and once he gets to 89 the phone will be ringing. 

Search through the recruiting threads here as there is tons of good advice.

Good luck.

"RC of local major D1 contacts showcase director and invites him to their prospect camp the next weekend."

"Gets a call from showcase guy a week later and is told he needs to go to the camp. "

Always like to hear pitcher experiences. As my user name indicates,  my son is a 2020 RHP. Similar to your son, my son was the only freshman on a top 6A varsity team in Texas and did well (he was pitching against full grown major D1 commits that spring when previously he had only pitched against 8th graders) and my son was also on one of the top travel organizations in Texas and pitched against some of the top players in the country. Like many pitchers, he's had his ups and downs but generally does pretty good, sometimes very good. His fastball touched 90 mph last summer.  But here's the deal - he's never been invited to a camp before, never been invited to a campus visit, never had a junior day invite. I hear so many fathers talking about this school is contacting their son and other schools are contacting their son and I assume they are telling the truth, but it's rarely happened to my son. That's been my experience so don't feel so bad.

 

2020-RHP-Dad posted:

"RC of local major D1 contacts showcase director and invites him to their prospect camp the next weekend."

"Gets a call from showcase guy a week later and is told he needs to go to the camp. "

Always like to hear pitcher experiences. As my user name indicates,  my son is a 2020 RHP. Similar to your son, my son was the only freshman on a top 6A varsity team in Texas and did well (he was pitching against full grown major D1 commits that spring when previously he had only pitched against 8th graders) and my son was also on one of the top travel organizations in Texas and pitched against some of the top players in the country. Like many pitchers, he's had his ups and downs but generally does pretty good, sometimes very good. His fastball touched 90 mph last summer.  But here's the deal - he's never been invited to a camp before, never been invited to a campus visit, never had a junior day invite. I hear so many fathers talking about this school is contacting their son and other schools are contacting their son and I assume they are telling the truth, but it's rarely happened to my son. That's been my experience so don't feel so bad.

 

The Ft. Myers deal was kind of a fluke thing I think. RC saw something on twitter about him and invited him to camp.

The other was due to our showcase director. He hit 87 in an all-star game on Tuesday. Wednesday, he puts in the call to the PC. Saturday he came to watch.

Those are the only two times a coach has specifically contacted someone about my son.

Don’t worry about how much he does or doesn’t pitch in high school. His exposure to college coaches will be in the summer. College coaches are mostly busy right now coaching.

It’s MLB scout’s who show up at high school games. But if your son isn’t in high demand for college ball yet it’s not time to worry about pro ball. The scouts are looking at the 90+ high school pitchers.

To echo what BOF said, for a pitcher, I don't think the P5 thing is quite as important. Looking at the Fangraphs 2019 draft board current rankings,, the first college pitcher on it is George Kirby of Elon, the second is Jackson Rutledge of San Jacinto JC, the third is Alex Manoah of West Virginia (a P5), the fourth is Seth Johnson of Campbell. 

Or look at last year's Cy Young voting. In the AL, of the top 4, Snell was a HS pick, but Verlander went to Old Dominion, Kluber went to Stetson, and Sale went to Florida Gulf Coast. In the NL, deGrom went to Stetson, Scherzer and Nola were P5 guys (Missouri and LSU), and Freeland went to Evansville.

Point being: if he wants to maximize his baseball results as a pitcher, P5 is one path, but it's not the only path. 

Yep. Most of D1 can be a rat race, but the kid's we know that went to the big time baseball schools are struggling to get any playing time. Sometimes you are better off playing at a mid major, and getting off the bench. If you produce, they will find you.

My advice is always to use baseball as a vehicle to get into schools he might not get into academically and use it as leverage. He is likely not going to play pro-ball so use baseball to find the right college home that fits his profile. Also go to a winning program as it is a lot more fun than loosing and find a head coach that is going to help him grow into a man, not necessarily a better baseball player, his pitching coach should do the baseball part. 

Also most HS players (and their parents) have no idea how freaking hard college baseball is...its really really hard,  when you add in the academics, which is of course the reason for college. Don't forget that. 

BOF posted:

Also most HS players (and their parents) have no idea how freaking hard college baseball is...its really really hard,  when you add in the academics, which is of course the reason for college. Don't forget that. 

Yes, that is worth repeating. As they say, be careful what you wish for because you might get it. Major college sports is a full-time job with lots of overtime. As I've heard many times, there is no such thing as a college baseball scholarship.

Hey Jay,

Lots of good advice above from experienced people. If you have been reading the board for awhile, you have read all of above before.  And it is all good advice.

To what you (your son) should be focusing on?  Health first and foremost, combined with strength, mobility and conditioning.  My recommendation is to go to Eric Cressey or an Eric Cressey like experienced PT / CSCS that has a lot of experience with pitchers.  Get your son a movement assessment and a bio-mechanical assessment and a written program from the trainer.  Driveline Baseball is another, as is Rockland Peak Performance.

I say all above from reading, not from personal experience.  I am trying to figure out what is the best next step for my son, a 2020 RHP.  No injury or soreness, it just seems like the next step.  And an expensive step.  And a harder sell to my son, who would rather be competing in the summer than on a program.

Be patient.  It is hard not to panic.  I remember being exactly the same thinking, my son just killed it against other D1 powerhouse commits, why did this coach just watch and not offer?  Some schools are looking for specific things.  Some schools talked to my son almost weekly for a year and never offered. He didn't commit until August after his sophomore year.  I think for him, the number was 91.  He had a couple offers before while hitting 90.  He hit 91 3x and for the first time and he had guys calling all over.  Who knows what specific thing they want to see from your son.  What I have learned is that you can't control any of it.  Give him opportunities and what will be will be.  Good luck.  You have plenty of time.

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