The kid is on needles and pins. JV season has ended. Varsity is on Spring Break trip. After their last JV game, the JV players were finally told what the plan for them is. They will be either called up to Varsity or given a handshake and told to come back next year. They made it clear that only a few are likely to be called up, based. largely, on what the Varsity needs. JV season was sort of an extended try-out, in effect.
The kid did well in the limited JV season. He hit .350, with .533 slg and .444 obp and played very solid defense. But the varsity OF is SO crowded with upperclassmen and all but one can really play, according to him and also from what I myself have seen, that seems right. Plus if only one JV OF'er is called up, it will almost certainly be another kid, he believes, who flat out hammers the ball consistently. (probably lower BA and obp, but awesome power numbers)
I'm trying to encourage him to keep his chin up and keep working, no matter what happens from here on out this year. But it is really hard on him. I think the main thing is that the JV guys didn't know until right after the last game that they would be disbanded as a unit and either called up or shut down for the rest of the season.
Frankly, from this distance, it does seem like a pretty cold way to treat them. I know my guy is finding it really hard to deal with. He is somewhat disenchanted with the school's approach to younger guys. Only one frosh pitcher and one frosh position player are getting serious Varsity PT. The rest are on JV, though JV pitchers are double listed as JV and Varsity -- which seems to mean they suit up for Varsity home games, just in case they are needed but don't travel -- though I don't think a single one of the double listed pitchers has gotten a single varsity inning.
None of this was fully spelt out to him or to any of the other guys, it seem.
I actually don't think I've ever seen him this discouraged about baseball - even with all the injuries and setbacks he suffered in HS. The upside is that he hasn't loss his self-belief and he has worked his butt off from day 1 since setting foot on campus (and even before). Nor has it changed his basic personality. He's the do what you can do, keep working to try to get better, don't complain type. And he hasn't lost his self belief. He knows what he is capable of. He believes that he can be a solid and consistent offensive contributor and an outstanding defender. What he has lost is the confidence that he will be given a chance to really show what he can do.
I'm trying to keep his chin up, trying to get him to appreciate that waiting isn't always a bad thing. Good things can come to he who is willing to wait for his moment and seize it when it comes.
The most promising thing to me is that by the time his cohort becomes juniors, there will be only one senior OF ahead of them (the only sophomore OF currently on the varsity, who is himself getting almost no PT.) Plus he is clearly the best defender and one of the two best hitters in his OF class. So I do believe that his day will come, maybe not this year, and maybe not even next year, when there will be 6 senior OF'ers still in the program. But eventually.
Hard getting him to fully embrace that thought and trust that the coaches really see and appreciate his talent and his work, though. He feels like the program is so focused on winning now and brings in so many guys every year -- both freshmen and transfer -- that they aren't really concerned with development. Help us now, or be thrown aside, because we can always find somebody who can help us now. At least that's how it feels to him.
Brutal stuff, but the way of the much of the world.