So, I have a 2020 RHP who is committed. Going into freshmen year of HS he was starting to struggle at hitting and was never a great hitter. I do think the effort he put into trying to get better at hitting helped him overall. Once he decided to be a PO, training was more focused. He didn't have to worry about playing the field in games and could plan his arm care routine and training better. 

My 2022 is a 3B/RHP. He will likely play SS for varsity this year in HS (he is not a SS, but options are limited). Before coming down with mono in June he was at 85.4 off the mound and 88 across the diamond. Now after coming back for a few weeks, back up to 84 on the mound (PBR and PG have him at 84). Once he's back to 100%, I think he'll be back where he was.

On a good travel team he bats 5th, but in the grand scheme of things, he gets by on athleticism, doesn't work on hitting and it's going to catch up with him.

The pragmatic side of me and based on what I saw with my older thinks he should stop hitting now, and concentrate on what will get him to the next level. The dad side of me says, let him have fun and keep hitting. 

The other benefit of hitting/playing the field is that it shows his athleticism. The flip side of that is if he does a showcase as a 2 way (like this past weekend) he can end up pitching after the 19th inning, 8 hours into the day....

How have others dealt with this?

Original Post

Personally, I never understood why a kid would go to a showcase/camp as a 2 way.  Unless you're an uber stud, you're not going to be a 2 way at college, so make that decision for showcases.  I also think it could reflect poorly on a kid, as it could be perceived as he doesn't know what he wants, so throw everything at the wall and see what sticks

HS is different and if coach let's you be a 2 way, go for it, but I would focus on my primary position (arm rest if it's pitching).

In my son's case, being a PO was decided for him, and I was OK with it as his bat wasn't going to get him D1 offers.  Plus it allowed him more time to work on the small things like holding runners, PFP, backing up properly...all stuff that becomes muscle memory if practiced.

 

So, I think you have other challenges than the two-way question.  If he isn't going to work on his hitting to get to the next level, I think possibly he is focused on other things.   Some of the better high school hitters I've known in our area hit at least a 100 balls off of a tee everyday including vacations.   These guys transitioned quickly to college baseball.

Agree with CTBBallDad.   I'm not big on the two-way player "thing" at showcases unless he has exceptional eye popping skills.   Son was a two-way player in high school, but a starting PO on his national travel team.  Every travel teammate went on to play D1 baseball so they had an abundance of bats in their lineup.   They'd throw my son a bone now and then to pinch hit as a lefty hitter.   There were a few position guys on his travel team that burned some mound innings (typically two pitch-pitchers...FB and CB or slider) early in the tournaments.   Some of these guys thought they were two-way players when they went to showcases, and I think it diluted their exposure.   For my son it was very clear when he went to showcases, he was a PO.  In college it was very clear he was starting PO, although it did chap his a$$ that he thought he could hit better than some of the position players...but that is a universal thought for many college pitchers.  ;-)

As a 2022, I'd give it some time to see where this takes him.   Keep in mind, it probably is a decision that is coming soon if he just relies on his athleticism to carry him.   

Good luck!

 

Yeah, I don't think hitting will be there long term. Working on pitching for him is much easier logistically. He's also had interest as pitcher because of his velo over the winter. My guess is he'll keep hitting in HS, and by this time next year will go into travel ball as mainly a PO.

Same for my guy. High 80's Exit Velo off tee, but not enough time with live pitching so tough to be consistent.  High school ball a different story, but for showcases it's PO.  Plus PO provides the VERY aded benefit of getting to fly in and out of tournaments, games, etc.  No extra nights at hotels, no waiting around to see if you get an AB.  Get your 2-3 innings and move on.  

My son was an all-state SS in HS, 4 HR's and 2 K's his senior year......and also the #1 pitcher on our team and was routinely still hitting 88-90 5 innings into games.  He had 3 schools seriously recruiting him the summer after his junior year.  Two as an IF, 1 essentially as a PO.   He was offered by the last school, and accepted, but was told "I want you as a pitcher, but you'll have every opportunity to earn a spot as a 2-way"   Freshman year, starting weekday pitcher early....transitioned to weekend starter by the end.  8 AB's total, all in mop up duty when the games had been decided..... and never fielded a ball in practice.  Sophomore year, he told them he wasn't interested in batting if he was only going to get 8 AB's.  Starter/reliever all season.    Junior year....started the season as the closer..... but eventually ended up DH'ing (and with 10 team wins, he wasn't getting much time on the mound anyway).  Arm issue developed late in the season and ended up not pitching at all the following summer, but went back to hitting and playing OF and finished 3rd in the GLSCL with a .380 average.    Got pack to school for senior year and arm issue continued.   The team was also much stronger on pitching than they had been the previous 3 years.....so he kind of just decided his pitching career was likely over.  He had no interest in redshirting.   He started as the everyday DH by game 6....and ended up hitting .320 with 14 K's in 150+ plate appearances, led the team in RBI's  and had a couple HR's.

I guess my point is, that if he can hit and pitch....there's no reason to turn into a PO any earlier than necessary.  You never know what college coaches will see, some will see him as a pitcher, others as a hitter....and sometimes they won't figure it out until 3 years after he shows up on campus lol

A couple or three things. I wouldn't consider it unless your kid is an above-average student. The workload is bad enough as one or the other. Along those lines pitching would have to be something that came naturally. If it's something he really needs to work at it will be difficult. Thirdly, and maybe most importantly, as one or the other you'll be dealing with just one coach. Position players the HC and pitchers the PC. As a two way you'll be dealing with both so they really need to be on the same page. They aren't always, they weren't at the kid's school. The HC saw him and recruited him. I don't think the PC liked a kid being "forced" on him and didn't do much to set the kid up for success. An example. His first year they asked him to PO and things didn't go so well. So this year he didn't pitch at all. Sitting in the dugout last season talking to the HC he told the kid he recruited him for his CB. He was surprised and not too happy when the kid was like "that's interesting because the first thing Ted did last year was tell me I couldn't throw the CB anymore".  Obviously there was a lack of communication between the coaches. 

-If a PC isn't on the same page as the HC, then there will always be problems.

-The advice given to my strong armed, but defensively talented son was to "keep playing at your position till they tell you you can't". 

-A D1 school will not need a two way player unless you are truly extraordinary. They might promise that(P5 did to a couple of two way "studs" around here), but seldom follow through on that promise.

 

-A smaller, HA(or otherwise) D3 will often be open to having a two way player on their squad. Why not, if they are good enough? Some of those those schools are not swimming in athletic talent.

To excel in college focus on a position is a time issue. My son found it challenging at time to get in work as an infielder and outfielder. It wasn’t until his third season he played just outfield. Then he injured his foot and was moved to first (a position he had played maybe twice in his life). But he didn’t have to practice both at the same time that season. 

In my experience there are few 2 way guys in D3 and of the ones that are it is a no brainer. if he enjoys both have at it until they tell you can't...why stop? 

I don't believe for a moment that a kid doing 2 way at showcases will hurt them, I have read a million posts from or about college coaches who want multi sport athletes, projectable tools blah blah but showcasing as a 2 way guy is gonna hurt you? nope I don't by that at all.  

Saw many "two-way" hs players never make it to their dream school or any school at all.  Usually it is a direct result of the player not understanding how good the competition really is at their dream school.

If you want to be a professional at something, the common thought process is that you must put in 10,000 hours in training.  By the way, the word "training" in the above sentence is very encompassing just for ONE position.

There is a growing trend out there where players are being home schooled, held back a 1 year / 2 years or going to HS but not playing baseball. Why? They understand the 10,000 hour thing...They also understand grades are important. My son had the privledge of playing with many of these guys and they all went to their dream schools or were drafted out of HS.

Soar with your strengths....if you are not being seriously recognized for a second position by HS do you want to risk becoming average in your strenght position due to reduced training / development time? Trust me there are guys out there that are hoping you want to be a two way guy....it increases their odds of taking your roster spot!

 

I guess I will answer with an opinion contrary to what others have said.  But each experience is different, and we all agree with that reality.

My 2017 was a two-way, but a C/RHP, which is different than your son.  That is a tough combination and he knew that he would likely never be a two-way in college.  But I signed him up for both at multiple showcases, which I found to be "value added" since he got to play in the showcase games as a catcher, bat and usually pitch 1-2 innings.  He has a great arm, so his Pop times were always scored really high in the rankings, and he hit well enough as a catcher to be viable.  His answer to me was always I will play whichever position gets me the best chance to play college baseball at a school I like.

As Senior year rolled around, he attended a P/C camp at Stanford where he had a chance to talk with their then pitching coach.  He gave him some sage advice:  stay a two-way player until the college coach of your school of choice tells you which you play for him. He told him not to give up playing both because it would give him more options. Interestingly, a number of the schools he was recruited by wanted him as a C, others wanted him as only a PO, and two were even saying he could do both at least as a Freshman.

He wound up as PO in college, and his coach was clear from the start that would be his future.  But the coach also liked the fact that as a two-way in HS, his arm was not abused as he might have been as a PO.  He assumed there was more upside in building as a PO in college when he focused on the training and regimen as a PO.  So far so good.

So our experience says maybe you don't want to end that dream until a college coach tells him it is over.

My son never hit in showcases unless they asked him to which was over 50% of the time.  He rarely ever did anything in the field but would hit after he pitched.  Mine was recruited as a 2 way but has been told point blank that he must do the extra work on his own to find a spot in the lineup as a hitter.  He has done it so far this summer working 2 hours a day on hitting but we will see when fall ball starts up in a few weeks.  The PC and HC have both had friday starters that hit so it is not out of the ordinary. 

Going into college Soph year at D2, 2-way is still in play for mine. Was recruited as a position player, told he wasn't quite ready to hit in fall, but could help the team on the mound. Pitched a limited number of innings out of the pen, not great but not bad. He was still taking regular BP, getting his hacks in practice. At the end of the season, he DH'd the last 4 games and hit above .500, so much for not being ready to hit I guess. Had a really good summer both on the mound and at the plate. He's been told he'll be a mid-week guy on the mound and in the lineup on the weekend this year, at least initially. He will have to perform at both to stay there. I don't know when it will go one way or another, but he's still in play for both. 

 

I don't think you go one way or another until your college coach tells you that's what you are.

 

It is extra work to do both, and imperative that the coaches are all on the same page, which by all indications his have been and are.

My son's college coach loved 2 way players. Of course, it's easier said than done.

Over son's college time, they had four 2-way players. Two were drafted/FA. Both made it all the way. One was a SS/P; the other a 1B/P. Both were consensus all-league and one was both Player and Pitcher of the year (and likely the best all round player in league history).

In fact one pitched last nite in mop up while DHing for NYY. One made it as a pitcher, the other as a hitter. Both are still in the land between AAA and MLB. Both were fantastic athletes with incredible work ethic - doing full bull pens and then doing their position stuff. And, both graduated after signing.

The others had successful college careers; both succeeded on the mound (they weren't college level hitters).

Son played third all through high school, as well as pitched. When D1 dream school made their offer, they said RHP only. My husband said -- 'yea, but you'll have him hit occasionally right?"

HC looked him in the eye and said No.

Turns out 2-way dream was my husband's thing, not my son's.

I am not a fan of players choosing to be a PO in high school, especially on their high school team. If you don't think college baseball coaches are looking for athleticism, I would recommend you reach out to a few or do a little more online research. If they are looking at 2 pitchers with one having 2-way experience and demonstrating athleticism and the other being a PO (all else being equal) the 2-way kid will get recruited every time.

IMO, too much is made of being a complete pitcher prior to playing at the next level. If a HS pitcher has the appropriate velo for D1, D2, etc., and can command a FB, coaches will show interest. There is no doubt that my son is playing college baseball, as a PO now, because he demonstrated athleticism. I know this because it was a comment made by several coaches and despite struggling to find the strike zone during 2 IN appearance in front of his current program, his velo was great and he made several athletic plays covering 1B and home. He only threw 2 different pitches his SR year and his pick-off move was ugly to say the least. However, he was in CF almost every inning that he was not pitching. He was not a D1 hitter or CF but good enough to start for our varsity team as JR/SR. And if he was able to comment, guarantee he would tell you his favorite HS experience was hitting walk-off in extra innings to beat our school's biggest baseball rival!

Long story short, stop worrying about the little things in HS.  If he thinks his strength is on the bump, then work on safely improving velo and the ability to command 2 pitches. Then let him have fun, play a position and swing a bat as often as he enjoys doing so. Just my 2 cents.

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