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This one is for fun, on the eve of a holiday.

When, at what age or level, did your son first play on a team "where everyone on the team was really good"?

You usually don't see it at the younger youth levels. In fact, I had an 11U travel coach once tell me "You don't want 13 studs on the team because then you will always have kids leaving because they are not playing full time."

And, you don't usually see it on a middle or high school team where everyone is really good. There always seems to be a few kids who rarely get off the bench.

Even in Little League All-Stars, there's kids on the roster who aren't as good as others on the team.

The first time I saw it was when my kid was 16 and he was playing for our state in a PBR event.

Every single kid on the roster was really good. The kids batting at the bottom of the lineup were just as good as those in the top. No one hardly ever made an error in the field. Everything was clean and there were usually 3 or 4 outstanding plays per game. All the pitchers threw hard and pounded the strike zone.

And, it was the same for all the other kids on the rosters for the other states.

After the games, I remember saying to my son "This must be what it's like to play in college. Everyone is really good. It's the top 5% crowd."

That being said, I realize that some kids get to experience something like this earlier, later, or not at all. When was it for your player?

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Every time he moved up a level I said the same thing

The biggest was his local travel team to his national travel team. 27 or so players. 26 D1 commits with the other signing as a D1 QB. 5 drafted. I couldn't believe the talent put together on one field. Team made it to the quarterfinals at the WWBA, winning 10 or so games, and when you get that deep in that tournament it's like watching pro games. Couldn't fathom the idea of competing with the Canes, Team Elite, EC Sox, etc but went to to toe with the big guys and took out a few along the way. You go from playing a few studs and maybe a P5 commit every now and then to playing against teams with multiple first round picks and GMs in attendance.

The difference between local travel and that level of travel ball was night and day.

At the youth levels my son would occasionally guest play for teams that were loaded. His LL all star teams were also pretty good, but the kids were never really all playing well at the same time.

This fall I can say everyone on the team was good. It was a 2023 team that competed with some of the best teams in the country. They held a practice before the season started and all I could think was that we outkicked our coverage with this team. As the practice went on my son hung with them and ended up drawing praise from the coaches. It was a really fun season and it was neat to see my son step up to the challenge of the competition (both internally and externally)

My kid's 11/12u travel team was filled talented players. Looking back I wish the parents were better and the team didn't die from the typical parent drama syndrome. His HS and summer travel teams has several D1 commits and have depth. The HS team will make unpopular cuts unless they expand their roster size.  I do enjoy watching summer travel ball, but it is a mercenary environment by design to promote prospects...even with good parents. I am envious of those teams staying through HS and maintaining a family environment.

my son has played local most of his life.  there's been a mix of good and not so good players on every team but he was always the best or one of the best players.  at 13/14u, he got on to his current team which was hand picked and everyone was solid.  this lasted a year or so before kids started drifting away to football or other teams.  now, there's a core of 7 or so kids who are fantastic (local level fantastic, not national level fantastic) and the rest are competent.  

this past October, he had the opportunity to play with Team Hawaii at the Arizona Fall Classic.  because of covid, they hadn't practiced at all and hardly anyone knew anyone else (it was a team built for this event and selected through tryouts around the state so the only ones who knew other players were the ones who came from the same high schools).  my son was lucky enough to have a dad who played for and remains good friends with the coach of the team.

after a very rough first game (remember, these kids hadn't played a live game at all most of the summer and fall), their innate talent clicked in and that team was something to see. everyone was a dude.  catchers (two of them) who run 6.7.  165 lb ss who short hopped the cf fence at a spring training stadium.  3b with a 100 tee exit velo.  my son played well but the experience was eye opening for him.  it was a great experience and has lit a fire under his butt.  

Wow.  Yeah, my son has been playing travel ball since age 7 and he's never once been on a team where everyone was good.  Not for baseball, basketball or football.  But one year (U10?) he was on a travel soccer team that had that.  I had never seen anything else like it before or since.  It hit me all at once one day while at a game.  No matter which player was subbed into the game, I was always comfortable.  I never once found myself thinking "why did they put player X in right now?"  Whoever came in and whenever it happened, it was never the wrong decision from my perspective.  Playing time was pretty equal.  There was almost no drop off from the best kid on the team to the "worst."  It was remarkable and I can't imagine ever seeing it again, but I'd love to be wrong.

It's not the case that my son hasn't played with exceptional talent.  I just did an on the spot, quick list in my head.  In less than a minute, I was able to count 25 guys he's played with who are committed to solid or better college programs as of today (2021s and 2022s).  Many D1s, a couple D2s, lots of strong JUCOs and a few NAIA's sprinkled in.  LOTS of talent here in the midwest, but there are far too many teams (and orgs willing to cash your checks) to find teams like you're talking about.  Contraction is needed badly around here.

When my son was eleven ten of the thirteen LL 11/12’s went on to play college ball at some level. The team would have had a shot at Williamsport if not for daddyball coaching. The coach’s kid didn’t make the 8th grade team. He was the #2 pitcher and hit cleanup in all stars. Kids who went on to play college ball didn’t start over him. Most of the 12’s were on the state champion 12u USSSA travel team.

When my son was twelve the team that won states and went on to Williamsport had ten of eleven go on to play college ball at some level.

Everyone on the 13u-16u travel team played college ball at some level except the kid who went on to play college basketball. All of the 17u team played D1.

Not all of these kids stuck for four years in college ball for various reasons.

Last edited by RJM

@ABSORBER that is amazing for the 11/12 U  team. My son's Little league team was an inning from winning the State title as 11's and got deep as 12's. By RipkenFanSon's sophomore year of college, he was the only one still playing baseball. As for the OP's question, I could answer the when was EVERYONE  good more by the opposition son faced, rather than his teams (similar to Danj). This was true for his younger AAU teams, Legion and college as well(playing spring games vs P5 schools).

On a related note, my wife and I were talking the other night about how few teams RipkenFanSon played on that he was considered the best player (probably his last Legion season and a part year sub in Babe Ruth). Many teammates were "the"guys, while son even today views himself as "the little engine that could."

@Ripken Fan, the 11U and 12U teams were most definitely NOT LL teams! While my son played on some decent LL teams, travel team talent was much different!

While the players were not members of the same LL, they were all from three adjacent LL districts in our state.

I can also honestly say that being invited to play for this team was an important start in my son's journey. It really opened his eyes--and mine!

I'm gonna get killed for this but when he was 7 he played on an 8U kid pitch team that ended up having 1 second round draft pick, 4 D1 baseball players, 3 d1 football players and everyone else except 1 is playing college baseball.  We had 2 kids who hit balls over 285 fences when they were actually 8.  Should have kept that team together but none of us wanted to be head coach when ours died of cancer their 8 year old year.  They were really good but hard to find tournaments.  We mostly played 10U tournaments and won most of them.

I am guessing that each level my son advanced it probably meant his teammates technically should be better than previously.  The one year (actually a few months) where the entire team was really really good was the USA Collegiate National Team (and they better have been).   They had scrimmages and tune up games against summer collegiate teams and that is when I realized there was really no comparison talent wise.  The pitching dominated, the hitting display was a sight to see, and the defense was sharp.  Nobody really expected the other teams to win but it was something to see the "boys" being loose and having fun.  It made for a memorable overseas trip and experience for my son.

Good is relative ;-) I have to believe "everyone" would be tough - as there's always "someone" that "anyone" can point out that isn't as good, but in their son's position !

My oldest son was on a team of kids that all were cut from some other program in the area - by the time they were U15 they were playing in the AAU World Series - won a couple games...  They had one player who ended up somewhere in minors / indy / int'l ball (Ruben Sosa). The HC is now the HC at Northeastern - they caught lightning in a bottle and had great coaching throughout.

My youngest son's U11/U12 team had 10 really solid players that all ended up in some D2/D3 program  - not bad for a small town in the middle of nowhere NH. Our lineup typically had 5 kids who could hit against top pitchers and 5 that hit the slow/junk pitchers...  We carried 12 players and had the most issues from just 2 players parents - go figure!

Believe it or not.  They made my kid look like a baby when they stood up by him.  1 was 3rd round draft pick by Yankees and destroyed balls in high school and on travel circuit.  The other is an SEC starting lineman who gave up baseball.  They hit 4 in one weekend over 250 fences playing 10U and another kid hit one.  The only age appropriate game we lost when they were 8U was to a team that ended up having 4 1st and 2nd round draft picks out of Tampa. The Tampa team and Elite Squad team from Miami were destroying balls back then.  I watched Harper hit 400 ft. shot in game at 12 and 450 ft. shot when he was 14 in bp.

No offense to Dadbelly2023, I watched a 10 year old hit 5 over the 285 fence this summer and the teams were consistently hitting homeruns over the 250 in this open USSSA tournament.  So 180 is not really hitting the ball.  That is not even getting out of a LL field.  The big boys in 9U open are consistently hitting home runs over 250 fences.  Some of them won't get much better but they kill balls at a young age and others will continue and be the best.

@PitchingFan posted:

No offense to Dadbelly2023, I watched a 10 year old hit 5 over the 285 fence this summer and the teams were consistently hitting homeruns over the 250 in this open USSSA tournament.  So 180 is not really hitting the ball.  That is not even getting out of a LL field.  The big boys in 9U open are consistently hitting home runs over 250 fences.  Some of them won't get much better but they kill balls at a young age and others will continue and be the best.

I'm not going to call anyone a liar.

That said these kids must have gotten a lot better because we spent three years (12/13/14 I think) playing USSSA Super NIT at the majors level all over the mid-west and even at that age I never saw players "consistently" doing that. To be sure I saw HR's on 300 ft fences, hell my kid did it as much as anyone, but there weren't balls flying out left and right. My kid, until 12, lived in the same town that produced Scott Rolen. The same people who watched him play freaked out when my kid hit one over a 200 ft fence at 8. From 10-12/13 my kid regularly played a team Jordan Adell was on and I never saw him hit the ball like that.

So all I can say is I guess youth baseball has really changed in the last 10 years and when these kids hit the MLB they better be ready to build some new stadiums.

Last edited by SomeBaseballDad

On the kids going big fly...

1. Before USA Bats, some of these youth drop 10s and drop 13s were serious rocket launchers. The ball would fly off them.

2. Sometimes at tournaments, once in a while, back in the day, I would see rabbit balls being used. I remember my son, at 11, going opposite field for a HR on a 200 foot field on a swing that was not pretty at all. I swear the balls were not regular baseballs.

That all said, I never saw or heard of an 8u player going 285. Maybe some 9u at 200ish. But, 285 at 8u? I can't even imagine.

at 14u my sons first season on a really good regional team, we are at Diamond Nation in the Semis against a well known team from the Baltimore area, the coached batted the roster (minus a pitcher or 2) but it was 12 deep and smoked them. Did the same thing in finals and won vs another power team...the next year we went WWBA and won a pool. Those were fun times with all kids from within 30 or 40 miles.

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