Helpful things to know /think about…
How do I know if I am a DI, DII or DIII player – There are some baseball players that excel early in their baseball career and clearly are destined for DI or professional play– others need time and skill training to find their potential. Good coaches can help you find the level of play that is right for you, but consider it a training opportunity and a step toward a higher level of play. Never give up on a dream.
Does it matter which college I choose – it certainly does. The level of play will often determine if/which recruiters will have the opportunity to see you play. Research the history of their program to see what successes their players have had – if they found playing opportunities after college. The Baseball Bluebook provides a historical record of the number of players that have been drafted and have played on the all-star team for each college team listed.
- The depth of the roster is also important to look at. Program with 40 man rosters may offer fewer playing opportunities than other options. Few players come to college at the peak of their baseball career – if you do not have a chance to build on your skills, you may not reach your dream.
- Your physical size is a factor but it is not as important as your desire to play, your passion and your willingness to make it happen.
- Equal to your baseball performance, you must be able to academically perform, meeting all the eligibility criteria necessary to meet college admission standards.
Is it a good idea to start at a Junior College – two year colleges are great feeder programs for four year schools and other playing opportunities. A strong foundation in both academics and skill training at the college level is beneficial and many junior colleges are prepared to provide them. The Baseball Bluebook provides junior college baseball program contact information and summer league & showcase playing opportunities.
- Junior College coaches are encouraged to submit player information to the Baseball Bluebook each year and the Bluebook promotes these players to all four year college baseball programs, MLB scouts, Minor Leagues, Independent Leagues and Summer Lagers – FOR NO COST…FREE! The Bluebook is honored to help players find playing opportunities.
- We do the same thing for high school players – high school coaches are encourage to submit their program / player information to help their players find colleges to play at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Two years of playing at a Junior College will offer you an opportunity to prove yourself; the tuition costs are usually less and a successful experience will help you ‘get noticed’ and obtain a bigger scholarship offer at a four year college program.
Little things matter – start by knowing and using the name of the recruiting coach, head coach or scout. By knowing their name, you will have shown them you are industrious enough to go the extra mile. It is a good idea to use their title or surname; Coach Wubbena or Mr. Wubbena. It wouldn’t hurt to also know something about their baseball program and mention it when you are telling them why you want to play for them. The Baseball Bluebook updates its information each year with contact information.
- Do not contact recruiters / coaches on their cell phone unless you know it is ok to do so.
- Don’t call and leave a message asking them to call you – leave your name, tell them why you called and ask if there is a better time to call back and catch the recruiter/coach. Be persistent and positive.
- Be sure to add some personal information to show that you care about academics, have a good work ethic and are a good citizen. These things matter to a quality baseball program.
- A photo is a good thing to provide along with physical attributes, speed, etc
- Don’t forget to give them your phone number and email so they can initiate contact with you.
Their paperwork is more important than yours – when recruiters have forms and procedures to follow, FOLLOW THEM! Their player review procedures have been designed to fit their program preferences and they don’t have time, energy or interest in sorting through hundreds of player stats, each with a different individual design and format. Read their procedures carefully and complete them completely. If you have initiated a contact, follow-through with their paperwork even if you have decided not to play baseball there. If nothing else, extend the courtesy of letting them know of your decision to play at a different school so they can take you off of their list of potential recruits.
- Keep your correspondence brief and to the point. Provide valued information that will help them assess your fit into their organization. Let them know of your willingness to provide additional information if needed.
- Be factual, don’t embellish or add unnecessary descriptions. Relevant standings / awards are good items to include and provide adequate comparisons.
- Be sure to tell them why you are interested in playing for their program – especially if you are looking outside your state geographically (coaches will not want to invest in you if there is a chance that you will not stay around long enough to help their program)
Follow-up and stay in touch – never rely on email or Facebook as your primary form of communication, unless the recruiter directed you to use it. Call them to make sure they received your paperwork and/or to see if there is any other information they would like to have. Your voice is what they need to hear so don’t have mom or dad call for you. It never hurts to have your coach make a call on your behalf – coaches tend to be biased toward your abilities but it gives the recruiter the opportunity to ask additional questions. The Baseball Bluebook updates its information each year with contact information.
- Sometimes it is wise to hold back a referral letter or support document and send it to them after the initial contact – this will give you a reason to call them a second time and they will have to pull your paperwork from their pile to add your new document, which now puts your material at the top of the pile.
- Parental support is a positive element. It is better to have parents that have an interest in your success than not – it just should not be a dominant aspect or your effort to be recruited.
When processing your college application – don’t expect your recruiter/coach to process your college application for you. Just keep them informed on your progress and if there is a problem, it is ok to ask for advice but you do the leg work.
Is it a good idea to participate in a showcase/summer program – yes, but maybe not as much as you would like it to. Much depends on the reputation and contacts of the particular showcase. Showcases are not necessary – you can get noticed by other means, however, they do provide some exposure to recruiters. The Baseball Bluebook helps players find playing opportunities – FOR NO COST…FREE!
- Ask your coach if they have updated their program information with the Bluebook (free) and has included your name/stats to be promoted to recruiters/coaches across the country at all levels of play.
- If you know which college you would like to play for, it would be a good idea to attend their summer showcase/training program as early as between you junior and senior year of high school – this will not only provide an opportunity for them to see what you can do but it also allows you to confirm that this program is everything you thought it was.
- Summer play is important for a lot of reasons. The more you play the better chance that someone will notice you; the more you play the better your skills get; the more you play the more confident you become that baseball is what you want to be doing.
Should I create videos and my own web site and send it to the recruiter – you might want to have some video clips available but recruiters/coaches are too busy and have too many prospective players to screen to spend all that time viewing videos. Focus on making it through the first impression screening with the recruiter and then be ready to provide the added information they are looking for. They will tell you when they are ready to see your videos and they will direct you to what it is they want to see.
- Keep your videos short - a few swings of the bat, some fielding and throwing. Not a lot of filler - around 5 to 10 minute clips of live or practice format showing basic fundamental skills. Be sure to include your school, your coach information and your contact information with/on/in the video in case the video gets separated from your paperwork. Videos can be added to the Player Profiles [level 2 and 3] of the Bluebooks National Baseball Network. Coaches and Scouts are given free access to player videos in our system.
What do scouts look for –players with hitting ability, power, running speed, arm strength and fielding, aggressiveness, instinct, dedication and work ethic, and a fastball, curveball and slider if a pitcher.
- Recruiters/coaches are looking for a player that swings with a good cut, is coachable, wants to get better and is a hard worker that knows how to hustle.
- Sean McAdam in a special to ESPN SportsZone, quoted scout Tom Mooney, “Because baseball finds so many of its future players at the high school level, the margin for error is enormous. Unlike basketball or football scouts who evaluate mostly college players, baseball scouts are often trying to project the career upside for a 17-year-old, who hasn't yet attended his senior prom. That can be a risky venture to begin with, but with other variables such as maturity, self confidence and upbringing factored in, the task becomes all the more complicated. "When you are watching a 17 year old kid who's dominating at the high school level," explains Mooney, "as a scout you have to take him off that high school field and think about him in the Florida State league, competing against the best kids from Florida, California, and Texas. What happens when he has his first long slump? Does he give up? Does he work harder?" Mooney stresses that athletic ability is paramount but he is less interested in how good a player is now than how good he's going to be.
- Avoid being rude or arguing with others; being late and immature; throwing your helmet or your bat; a sloppy appearance and an inability to communicate/listen respectfully; always finding an excuse for a bad attitude and/or poor performance; thinking your ‘style’ is always acceptable and that ‘you could do it if you really wanted to.’
- Be positive, always encouraging, regardless of performance; enthusiastic, responsible and on time; smile and look for the good in everyone; be a team player and work hard; treat others with respect and be confident in your abilities & who you are becoming.
Talk to your coach today and ask them if they have submitted your stats to the Baseball Bluebook. There is no cost for this – we work very hard to connect players with playing opportunities, FREE.