What are the opinions out there for players getting drafted out of high school and signing vs. going ahead and going to a D-1 school and having to wait 3 years to sign, assuming you're drafted again.

This has always been a struggle for me as I was drafted out of high school, signed and then got injured a few years later and never made it to the big leagues.

If I had gone to college, maybe I wouldn't have been injured and then maybe gotten drafted again and maybe made it to the show.

It's a hard thing to answer I know. There's really not a right or wrong answer. I realize each person's situation is different and would dictate a different conclusion for each person.

Just wondered if there are any others out there with similiar stories and would be interested in hearing those stories.

I would like to hear from the draft and follow guys out there as well and see what you guys think. Thank you in advance for any responses.
"You see, you spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball, and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time"
Original Post
Old Pitcher, Good topic but like you say ---no answer.

There are many different ways you can look at this. Take your pick!

Let me get deep here ----You can ONLY compare your situation and the way you are doing it ---- to ----- yourself if you were doing it another way and since it is impossible to do two things at once, there will never be an answer.

Let me give you two fabricated answers to the same question using my son using his actual situation as an example and both could be true --- or untrue --- take your pick.

#1 answer (used with family members and college educated friends)
My son chose the right path. He didn’t sign when drafted out of high school and opted to go to college, work toward a degree and play college baseball. He had a great time in college and is well on his way to a degree that should provide him with the basics necessary for a good future. He has since been drafted again and opted to play professionally. Doing it this way allows him the best of both worlds; almost a college degree AND playing professional baseball. I am so proud of him!

-------------OR-----------------

#2 answer (used at the county club and the poker game after a few brews)
My son chose the wrong path. He should have signed out of high school. He was drafted and offered a sizable signing bonus that would have provided him with a comfortable life for a number of years and more than enough where he could have focused his attention to becoming a MLB player. Had he signed out of high school I’m sure he would be on a MLB roster and making a seven figure salary TODAY.... But NO..... he wallowed around, socializing. playing college ball and failed to get a degree. While he is more mature he is also older by three years and will not be given as much time and attention toward fulfilling his lifelong dream of playing ML baseball. Had he signed out of high school, I know at this instant I would have my new $300,000 RV (nicknamed “Fungo’s Fastlane”) that I could follow him around in ---- but I
don’t.

The preceding answers are to be used as an example only. Fungo gave up golf, doesn’t belong to a county club, no longer consumes adult beverages, or plays poker .... Or owns an RV. Big Grin
quote:
If I had gone to college, maybe I wouldn't have been injured and then maybe gotten drafted again and maybe made it to the show.


Old Pitcher, this is an interesting topic.

I am sure there are a lot of “what ifs” out there. Some may wonder what would have happened if they had gone to college, while others could wonder what would have happened if they had gone pro right after high school.

In the case where Old Pitcher got hurt playing pro ball, there may also be those who got hurt playing college ball and never got the chance to play pro ball again.

I would like to hear some of these stories, too.
Pitchers are in a tougher spot than position players --- it's a little tough to "overuse" a left fielder. Injuries are a factor at either level, but the overuse (see TR's "Ouch" thread) and (argueably) less extensive training/medical facilities at college would lead me to believe a quality pitcher drafted high enough to know he was getting a serious look (and enough of a bonus to know the club had made an investment in him) should probably go with the draft.

As for stories, let's see, there's the old LL hero, touted for the first couple of rounds but with parents who laid down the law on college. He was signed to a major-perennial-CWS program, and hasn't pitched much since his sophomore year because of arm problems.

Conversely, there's the Grienke story and how strange is that?!

Maturity is the key either way: would he be able to handle minor league life, able to recognize how the organization regards him and hang in there or cut his losses as the case may be, would he go on to college a few years down the road if things didn't work out?

Or, can he handle the rigors of academics and athletics, and recognize when he needs to protect his body without getting too precious about it? If academics have always been a strong suit, that argues in favor of college.

Then there's a compromise route: consider a JuCo in a competitive conference like the Panhandle Conference here in FL. He can get his AA, transfer to a DI, and be constantly eligible for the draft.
$1 million and more...take the money.

Poor student...take the money.

If you're a stud, and likely to be drafted in the top 5 rounds, go to college.

If you go from 10th round to 50th round...Go to college if you don't get more than a plane tickets and some McDonald's coupons.
Fungo - That's hysterical!!!! Big Grin A lot of wisdom in that humor too, of course!

Old Pitcher - I've always said that if a kid chooses to skip college and go on to try his hand in the minors, he'd have my understanding and support. I still feel that way. However, I know players that have bypassed that chance and gone on to college first. As has been said, it's their choice, their decision, and they'll be the ones that live with the consequences - just as you did.

You do understand that for every story similar to yours - there's a kid that went on to college to not be drafted again or to have a career ending injury there.

Unfortunately, (well, maybe fortunately) none of us know what the future holds and can only make the best decisions at the time. Many of us have a regret or two lying around - part of life.
I would have to say that, looking back on my career and my life in general, an education would have helped me tremendously for life after baseball. I was finished at 22 years old, married, needed money and went to work for my dad, thinking I had it made. Wrong. A college education would have made my life since a little easier in my opinion.

I loved the opportunity I had playing baseball. I just wish I had been smart enough to realize how important an education is.
Old Pitcher - This question always comes up. One of my thoughts and feelings has been that if a kid is motivated enough to go to college, that he can do that at 30 or 40 just the same as 18. However, I do understand, that for many players, baseball really is the motivating factor to obtain an education.

Did you go on to school or did you ever consider going to school when baseball ended? Or were you not interested because baseball wasn't a part of that scenario any longer? Interesting thoughts you've shared.
quote:
Old Pitcher - This question always comes up. One of my thoughts and feelings has been that if a kid is motivated enough to go to college, that he can do that at 30 or 40 just the same as 18. However, I do understand, that for many players, baseball really is the motivating factor to obtain an education.

Did you go on to school or did you ever consider going to school when baseball ended? Or were you not interested because baseball wasn't a part of that scenario any longer? Interesting thoughts you've shared.


lafmom,

Thinking back to that time, I guess I just didn't think school was for me. I had a great job working for my dad. He sold the company 5 years later and I went to work for the new owners. I didn't like some things they did to change what my dad and I had worked so hard to make the company better, so I decided to go out on my own and own my own business. I felt I didn't have time to go to college at that time and just didn't realize how much you really need to think about the future and not the here and now.
Old Pitcher - Thanks for sharing your story. You certainly point out some valid thoughts. I guess it's a difficult thing for many of our young guys to completely understand what the future means and what it takes to be prepared for whatever the future holds.

An education has made the difference in many of our lives. While all of us here are passionate about our baseball, an education is an opportunity most of us desire for our kids to have as well.

Again, no easy answers to your question! Smile
OP: You made the right choice at the time. Unfortunately, it didnt work out the way you wanted.

You could have gotten hurt in college too. Nobody knows what would have happened if you did something else.

You took your shot, at least you had the chance. There are probably millions of men who wished they had that one in a million chance to make it.

Go back to college if you feel you need it.

You made the right choice for yourself at the time. As each other player will do every spring.
I was just wondering how big a jump it is from high school to rookie ball? You hear so much about player development, but it seems to me that it would be very hard to skip a level (college) and go straight to professional ball.

P.S. Sorry if this is off topic.
HowUbe, it is a significant jump from high school to rookie ball. In many ways, professional baseball is so much different than college. Going to college, however, isn't necessarily a "stepping stone" to rookie ball, viewed only from the baseball side. In fact, in some "rookie" leagues, a 19 year old will be competing with recent college signees.
Taking it only from a baseball perspective, it is quite a big jump from high school to "rookie" ball. You will play upwards of 75 games in about 80 days, long bus rides, will be playing guys 3-4 years older and some younger, especially from the Latin countries. If you are a position player, it will be a rare day the opposing pitchers (3-4 of them)do not throw 90mph with some pretty good command of at least one other pitch. If you are a pitcher, you will find the other teams 6-9 hitters were probably better than anyone you faced anytime during high school. The game is faster, more intense and a place where you quickly move from the success or failures in one game to being ready for another challenge...as soon as you get off that darn bus. You will generally not experience the emotions, the highs/lows you might in a college season, but if you really love baseball, you will play plenty of it with the associated improvement you might expect.
infielddad,
I am not sure so someone can correct me if wrong.
My understanding is that "rookie camp" was more or less for those directly out of HS.
Most college signees go into short season or low A, etc, depending on team.
noidea
TPM, "Rookie" ball is also known as the Rookie league. The Gulf Coast league, Arizona league and Appalachian leagues would all be considered "Rookie" ball and anyone who is drafted in June out of high school and chooses to sign could end up with such an assignment. These are all short season teams but classified as "Rookie" as opposed to "short-season A." Plenty of college players end up with assignments in "Rookie" ball after they sign. I would propose that upwards of 1/3 to 1/2 of the college signees end up at that level. I would fully agree that most college players selected in the first 20 rounds end up in short season A and some in low A and a few even above that level. College players after the 20th round have a pretty good chance of being in a Rookie league where a lot of high school players start.
There really is no "rookie camp." At the end of Spring training, if a minor leaguer does not get an assignment to a full season team, they can stay in extended Spring training awaiting an assignment in June to a short season team and that does happen with high school players who signed the previous June but are not yet ready for a full season assignment.
Infielddad,
Thanks, I think that is what I meant!

OP,
After seeing some of the pitch counts from this last weekend of several pitchers, it is a very big decision to consider just what could happen to a young college pitchers arm during his college career.
Scary actually to see counts of 147, 137, 124 and some pitchers well past 60+ innings mid way through season. And done week after week. We used to be horrified seeing this in Omaha, now it is happeneing on the road to Omaha.

Interesting to learn that most pitchers entering college have at one time or another pitched too much already in HS. Then there is college summer leagues, fall practice. If there is no pitching depth, the starters have to go deep. This usually happens with juniors and seniors, but now seeing freshman and sophmores with high pitch counts.
My suggestion, watch closely the schools that have shown great interest in your son. This might be a deciding factor as to where he chooses to attend, or not to attend college at all.
On the other hand, I often hear many say that for position players, getting at bats, maturing and developing tools, college should be the choice.
TPM, uh, er, hmm...I think Fungo might have said that? Wink
From what I know, and it is not too much but is a lot more than in 2004, a lot of that answer depends on the organization and their views. Our son was a 25th round pick and his contract says he was headed to a "Rookie" league. After a mini-camp, he ended up in short season A, got some chances there and survived and got another chance in low A and survived. I also know of a 2005 free agent(undrafted college senior) who was assigned to Rookie ball last summer and now has really created some interest.
In the minor leagues, you come to hear the term "organizational" player. When you read that in a scouting report or hear it from a scout, that is the player you are describing. Some organizations let you earn more, some may not.
If you are wanted out of high school and baseball is your top priority, then you should sign. If you are wanted out of high school and education is your top priority, then you should go to college.

If baseball is your top priority and you go to college instead of signing, you will then be playing an inferior brand of baseball and a lot less games too. There is no comparison between pro ball and college ball. It is not even close.

College is for education and then you get to play college baseball too. You get a wonderful experience for 4 years and get to learn and grow as a person.
quote:
If you are wanted out of high school and baseball is your top priority, then you should sign. If you are wanted out of high school and education is your top priority, then you should go to college.

If baseball is your top priority and you go to college instead of signing, you will then be playing an inferior brand of baseball and a lot less games too. There is no comparison between pro ball and college ball. It is not even close.

College is for education and then you get to play college baseball too. You get a wonderful experience for 4 years and get to learn and grow as a person.


Great points bbscout! All the posts here have been very insightful and well thought out. Each situation is very different and a lot of prayer should go into each decision. If you put it in God's hands and truly feel led by Him, then whatever the choice is, it is the right choice in my book. That's all I have for now!!! Thanks to everyone for their input. It is truly appreciated.
quote:
Originally posted by HowUbe:
You know some days I think I understand all this, then other days I realize how LITTLE I know.


Don't feel badly, feel the same myself at times. Eek

I agree with bbscout's post. But there are many players who do get a chance to experience both. The main reason for attending college is education, with the added bonus of playing the game you love.
As long as one realizes the road ahead and what are the odds of becoming a MLB player, the pros and cons of playing in college, than it becomes a bit easier to make the decision that is best for that player.
I just had to bring this thread back now, as it pertain's to my son's situation right now.

After reading the post's again.
I'm nominating this thread for a Golden Thread Status.

There is nothing easy about our Son's Decision. Not one little Bit.
But it is one that he has to make on his own.
Sometime's player's are drafted that are just not ready to make that jump yet.
It could be Phisically, are Mentally, or Both.
And also the School they choose could also be as Demanding
Acadimically as going Pro.
There is no right or wrong Answer.

As a Parent I'm going to worry know matter what Happen's.
Are what ever Decision they make.
It's just the Nature of the Beast.
Parent's let's just sit back and enjoy the ride.
Yea, Easier said then Done. OOHH HHAA. EH
College pitch counts are not always posted in the box scores. One school we followed last year, posted pitch counts until they threw a kid 137 pitches on three days rest. (The kid ended up with an ERA over 9.00 for the season.)Miraculously, after that game there were no more pitch counts in the box scores! From a person who went through a bad experience (me), parents of pitchers need to BEWARE. I really don't know that there is any 100% solid advise to avoid overuse. All I remember is that when my kid was recruited, almost to the tee, every college said they had this wonderful history with their pitcher's arms. My question, is why are there so many Tommy John's going on then? My guess is they are going to blame the high school. Most of the abuse I see tends to go on in the Tournaments, would you all agree?
From a making a living perspective:

I have heard that it is common practice to have college paid for by the pro team if/when he does not make it to the bigs.

Is that true?

If so, seems like best of both worlds.... I do a lot of hiring for my company at the college grad and higher level (sales and marketing types) making anywhere from $40-$60 with no experience. I always look for life experience plus a college degree vs college degree only.

Thoughts?
this may not be 100%accurate but here goes.

every major league team puts money in a fund to be used for school.in our case son was a 2yr juco player so they had in the contract 2 years x that schools tuition.i'm not sure if it needs to be written in but it is a good idea. on the other side if your drafted from harvard after your third year they will try to pay a 4th year at a state school for alot less money.it has to be used within two years of leaving pro baseball. not used very often i'm told.but still nice to be able to get a degree after your done.
I have never seen any stats, but think about this logically. If you play pro ball until Sept, most schools start in August. If they ask the player to play in a fall Instructional League, how would that fit in to your academic calendar? I am assuming a pro team would pay you to play in the fall, but those seasons are not very long. So if a player lives away from home and signs up at a college near where they are playing and if that player has to live away from home for the entire semester who is paying for that? If a player's career ends at 23 or 24, and he doesn't take any classes beforehand, will he start his freshman year at age 24? Some one told me that there are something like only 30 MLB players with college degrees. It sounds like a good financial bargaining tool for MLB that few players ever take advantage of. Maybe I'm wrong but I have never seen any stats like the NCAA publishes.
well, my coach said if you get drafted as a pitcher, he recommends going to the pros so the college coach will not overthrow you and mess up your arm, and if you are drafted as a positional player he recommended going to college. It made sense to me, dont know what you guys think of this
I think your coach has painted with a very wide brush. There are colleges and MLB organizations who overuse pitchers but not all of them. There are colleges and MLB clubs that do a good job of teaching position players but not all of them.

Start with do you want a college education? How much will it cost a club to buy you out of that once in a lifetime opportunity? Then do your homework about the colleges and Mlb clubs.
They all have a history spend some time investigating. That will serve you much better than an overbroad generalization.
One of my friends who has been in the minors for 4 years and had an outstanding year last season says he has arm problems due to over use.
I always wonder how you can get paid and still be eligible for D1 ,D11 ball. I guess you can go to school but not play.
My son worked out with Ron Davis who was the pitching coach for a local pro team. His college coach was very concerned about his eligibility. We had to show he never suited up , got paid and that he only worked out on bull pen day.
Short season ball is also considered rookie ball. Also, don't forget about the 100 % college scholarship that pro baseball gives. Have you done a study lately to see just how many college graduates are in debt above their heads when they graduate from college? That college experience is something that has to be payed for and most college graduates spend a lifetime paying off that 4-5 year experience.
rookie ball $1150 a month ,depending on where you are you may get a motel room paid.or they have a list of host family's you can contact. stay with them for around $50 or $60 a week.depending on where you are and the team.
as you climb the ladder you get paid more.not a lot more but the love of playing and mlb,that's the carrot.

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