I was doing some research for my website and wanted to share some information. We have all discussed roster reading in the past, but I don’t think families are using roster reading as well as they could be. First, you should consider yourself pretty lucky that you can basically access any roster in the entire country online and see what players are currently on the team, their positions, their year of graduation, and where they are from. This can give you an idea of what the team and coach might be looking for in terms of positional players, where the coach actively recruits and what players are getting playing time. Some recruits will notice only 2 or 3 freshman but won’t notice that those freshman are playing every game and every inning.
My goal was to try and find a college baseball program that consisted of all players from the same State. While I didn’t succeed, I came pretty close. The University of South Florida baseball team has 29 players on its roster and 28 are from Florida.
Lets look at why this is the case.
(1) Florida is a state that has tremendous participation at the high school level for the sport of baseball and with the weather that allows for baseball to be played all year, Florida has very talented baseball players at the high school level.
(2) Given this vast pool of talent, from a time and cost perspective, its makes little sense for the coaching staff to scout in other regions of the country.
(3) USF is a state school and since there are only 11.7 baseball scholarships available (assuming the team has that many) they can use their scholarship dollars better with in-state recruits
(4) The majority of the college baseball teams in Florida, regardless of Division are extremely talented, so there is less incentive for top Florida high school baseball players to leave the state to compete. Players from say New England want to leave because the weather is terrible here.
(5) Florida has a tuition reciprocity program which rewards money to students with certain grades who want to attend a State School in Florida.
Now despite the fact that you have a desire to play for a team like this and the skills, you have several factors working against you. From a coaches perspective, there is simply so many local baseball players with talent that they don’t really have the time, need, or desire to recruit in other parts of the country, and who can blame them. It’s like catching a lot of fish in one part of the lake and deciding to leave to try and catch the same fish in another spot. Never leave fish to find fish!
The one player not from Florida on the roster is from New York. After reviewing his stats in high school, I can see why he was able to be recruited by USF. In his junior year he struck out 110 batters in 43 innings. In his senior year he struck out 90 batters in 44 innings and opponents hit .035 against him. I haven’t seen him personally pitch, but based on those stats over the last two years of high school, it would appear he has some talent.
Now, its not that USF doesn’t want to recruit out-of-state players, its just harder for them to evaluate out-of-state players - well, because they are out of the state. Another factor I learned after speaking to one of the assistant coaches is that they will only recruit out-of-state players (as long as they have seen them play) who will be impact players. They will not sign an out-of-state player to be a role player because it’s too far to come not to play.
It’s certainly possible to be a talented player from another part of the country and capable of playing for a team like this, but unless you understand how the coach recruits, and other factors that go into the recruiting process (the particular school, the local talent), despite your desire, getting recruited by a team like this will be more difficult.
With USF’s move to the Big East, they will get more exposure to other parts of the East Coast and they will start to draw more interest from recruits in other states and they may start to recruit more players from out-of-state because those players will get a chance to return home on a more frequent basis to play road games.
Understanding rosters, how the coach recruits, and what the team is looking for is an important part of the recruiting process. I hope this helps!