How do you know what the right decision is?

My son is currently 16, he is 6’7" and he weighs around 220lbs. He plays at a very high level of ball. He attended a showcase last fall and by the time we got home we had several schools wanting us to visit their campus. He attended an MLB scouting event back in February. Now we are being contacted by other organizations wanting him to come and play for them. We have been contacted by an agent wanting to know if he is planning on going to school or straight to the draft out of highschool. We were very vague and said we are leaving all the doors open right now. We have been told that he will go high in the draft however with everything I have been reading over the past few days it seems like a pretty big gamble to take. My son is not a scholar and never will be. His grades are okay but not nearly good enough to get into any top school. Last year when he first started playing for the team he is on now he was throwing 83mph with no previous instruction. Within a year he has increased his velocity to 90mph. We have been told he will max out between 95 and 100. People who have talked to us are always talking about his loose arm and his mechanics and other things I don’t even understand. How do you know who you can trust and how do you make a decision on if a person should go to school first instead of the draft. Has anyone been through this that could shed some light for me?

This is a very good resource for information regarding the numerous questions you have about your son being drafted. Pay particular attention to the blog titled: Is professional baseball really best for your son.

http://www.stevenellis.com/steven_ellis_the_complete/mlb_draft/

You’ve asked plenty of questions and you may get lots of answers and opinions. If it were my son, these are some of my thoughts and concerns I’d want answers to:

Is he mature enough to begin a professional career in baseball? Consider all the life changes he’ll have to make and the pressure. Can he handle it?

Would he be better off in a junior college program where he is eligible for the draft each of the two years he is there? He can participate in a high level program, experience the college lifestyle, work on his pitching and does not have to have high SAT, ACT scores. He may improve his standings in the draft and receive a larger bonus.

If he goes to a four year school, he’ll have to wait for his junior year or third year of eligibility to be used or quit school to be drafted. On the plus side, he’ll get a great education at a considerable discount if he wants it.

Most importantly, he needs to always have game plan B. What do I do when baseball, for whatever reason, is not viable. Injury, for example?

If everything is what you say it is, lots of people you don’t know are going to be in your ear for various purposes. Trust the ones who have nothing to gain from their association with you.

Your son’s size alone will get him opportunities others won’t get. He’s still going to have to prove he’s a projectable professional style pitcher. If he’s just started, he’s got much to learn about all facets of pitching. A sound committed pitching coach, the best you can find and afford is wise.

Professional baseball is a dog eat dog world. He needs thick skin, a strong will, over achieving attitude, the maturity to resist peer pressure and a host of other character traits that usually take to the mid twenties to fully develop.

My guess is future circumstances will help you make the “right” decision. I wouldn’t stress about it. It’s a nice problem to have. Everything will work out. Good Luck.

Dino has opened many doors for you to consider and his advice is truth in
Its greatest form. I’d like to drop in for some suggestions and advice with
Respect to the professional side of things – I have no experience or know-how
About the college end of it.
1. Professional baseball is just that – a professional environment but with a
slight twist. I say this because, even though these people don’t where a
suit, a surgical cap and gown, a judge’s robe, etc., they’re involvement
in baseball has to be such that an array of markets($), willing to spend
money to promote, merchandise, broadcast, spotlight, gossip, publish,
blend taxpayer’s money, and even involve the ups-n-downs of an entire
metropolitan city - in a professional way all because of them, the player.
2. Professional baseball has to be fresh, active, and constantly demonstrate
it’s worthiness to watch – hence the reasons for #1. But, the skill of
promoters to use people like your son with professional ability – even
though that ability fails to reach the highest goal in the sport, the
World Series, brings home a promoter’s best effort – the Chicago Cubs.
3. Like all professionals, your son will be expected to undergo an education
and qualification phase that very few outside of this business expect.
Notice I used the word business – not sport. When your son signs
on the dotted line he is no longer a baseball player
– he’s a business man. A very unfair position for a youngster to
be in – but that’s the way it is.
In fact I know of no other profession that expects a young man or women to meet
a certain standard, day one as a tradesman, like professional baseball.
4. As a business man he’s expected to set a market value on his assets.
In other words … what’s he worth. Usually, the higher up in the draft,
the better his chances of getting a better signing bonus that those
below him. Also in play, are those already in the pipeline, and since
these players are taken up a market share of interest – how does
your son stack up to these people. All in all, it takes a bit of getting use
to, researching one’s worth against others in the field, the various
organizations that need this-or-that this year … or maybe not this year
but next year, and so on. So, if your son has the tools and the talent,
I would strongly suggest that you consider reviewing the marketplace
That your son is in and who he’s competing against for money. And
on that note – that’s the only thing on his agenda – MONEY. It’s not
about the green fields, the cheering fans, the great looking uniforms,
it’s about money. As much as he can get his hands on as quick as he
can. So, think of yourself and your job offers, interviews and negotiating
a wage during your life time.
5. Agents can give you an edge, but be very careful. Some states in the Union
require registration and other administration, while others do not. Also,
an agent that has a lot of players like your son – position wise, like 5 or 6
pitchers already, may not be your best bet. Look to see who this or these
agents represent already. Also, verify up front the location of the agent
and his/her credentials. Just a post off box…. “ I’m on the go a lot”, is a
warning flag. My best advice to you in this regard, sit down with your
family attorney and get him/her on board day one. There are attorneys
who deal with sports and your family attorney has a network of other
law offices and references to help you and your son.
6. The scouting, review and contact process from the professional MLB
organizations is a multilayered experience. But this you should know,
these people are very professional. They all understand that this is
unchartered water for you and your entire family – and especially for
your son. So, don’t think for a moment that these people are out
to put one over on you. They can help you to a certain extent, but
they will not walk you hand-n-hand. What I’m getting at is, be up
front and honest with these folks and they will return in kind. Just
remember, they wanted to talk to you and your son because there’s
value there – your son.
7. Your son has to have a hard shell during his tenure in the Minors.
Regardless of the signing bonuses and all that, the numbers are not
in his favor. A true test of mental toughness. The washout rate is very high.
So since he’s going to be a business man, get him involved day-one on
who is his competition for the money supply, who is his next best
rival for cash at his position, who is he being measured against.

I wish I had more time to get into the other avenues of this stage in your son’s
experience. In any event, contact your family lawyer and let him/her use the
contacts that are available to them to clarify any agents or 3rd parties that are
not directly with the professional club(s) that are interested in your son. Also,
I would strongly suggest not “stringing along” the representatives of the MLB
Clubs that are interested in your son. Work with them 50/50 and be reasonable.
I would also suggest NOT being your son’s negotiator for $$$. If your son is
THAT good, a professional agent can be very helpful here. Do your homework.

Coach B.

Thank you both so much for your replies. If it was up to my son he would sign on the dotted line tomorrow because all he has ever wanted to do was play ball. He is currently with a fantastic organization where I know they truly care about his well being. He is on a strict throwing regimen so that his arm stays healthy. We have been told we would need to get an agent for him but we really didn’t think we would need one this soon.

I honestly couldn’t tell you how good he is. From a mother’s perspective I have always tried to have him thinking realistically. A lot of parents think their kid is the next big thing so they don’t think about the what if’s. I on the other hand am more concerned about my son’s well being and making sure his feet are firmly planted on the ground. I want him to understand the every aspect of both sides because all in all it is really his decision on what he wants to do. Yes money is important to him but believe it or not he just wants to play ball. He has a complete passion and love for the game and has since the first time he ever stepped on the mound. When he is on that mound he is all business. His concentration is very good and he knows what he has to do. He doesn’t want to be average, he wants to be the best. He is very competitive and wants to win.

Until now he really hasn’t been seen by many people. All of that has now changed. He is currently in Florida for extended spring training. My husband is there with him now so I get daily reports on what is happening. My son stepped on the mound and after the first practice pitch he threw in radar guns came out everywhere. My husband heard several comments made about him one of which was “where in the hell has this kid been hiding”. My husband is meeting with someone who we think is an agent/scout today as they requested to sit and talk with him. This is the main reason I am asking these questions. It seems like we have run out of time. This is definately unchartered territory for us and we don’t know what to do. We know we can’t represent him ourselves but finding someone we can trust is important. Should we be looking for an agent or should we let them come to us?

He is currently in Florida for extended spring training.
Spring training? Why do you use this very specific phrase -Spring Training?

[i]Yes money is important to him but believe it or not he just wants to play ball. [/i][/b]
My advice- get out of that mindset now. He doesn’t want to JUST play ball. He’d better get his feet on the ground and think in terms of net worth and his earning power, in step with the competition around him. If he doesn’t toughen up now, his career will come to a crashing end with in 18 months.

My husband heard several comments made about him one of which was “where in the hell has this kid been hiding”.
ERXCELLENT! That’ll put a fire under those rep’s from every MLB front office that has the idea of getting to an unknown before some one else does! Again, you son’s marketability is enhanced the more juice can be squeezed out. It’s all about making $$$ now - not later.

My husband is meeting with someone who we think is an agent/scout today as they requested to sit and talk with him.[/
Here’s your first mistake - learn from it. In no way shape or form should you or your husband THINK some person is or is not a scout or something like that. YOU MUST KNOW UP FRONT WHO YOU’RE TALKING TO AND WHY. Don’t fall prey to a conversation of the sales pitch. You want a business card, a title of the person your meeting, an office address, you want that person if rep’g a sport’s agent syndicate to be listed with that state’s Sec of State. Meet that person or persons in your home first - get surroundings that are comfortable to you. For your first meeting never meet in a restaurant, bar, mall, etc. And above all, do not meet in an office – to easy to rent by the day, then their gone. Also, let them do all the talking, after all your fact-finding them and what they have to offer, not the other way around.
On the other hand, if who you’re about to talk to is from MLB, more than likely they have all the bases covered as a matter of day-to-day business.
And a final note : GET YOUR FAMILY ATTORNEY ON BOARD NOW.

Coach B.

stressedmom,

Follow Coach B’s advice to the letter he will not steer you wrong.

And for goodness sakes…keep learning all you can. Coach Baker is gold. He admits up front to not being knowledgable in the college ranks, he also points out clearly that maturity in mind is HUGE!!! Guys jumping directly into the pro’s are facing a very difficult and cut throat challenge so getting that aspect properly addressed and focused is just as important as lighting a gun up. You’re big hoss may “think” he just wants to chunk hyde but pitching at the pro level, with their load and lifestyle, it is by design, a grind, so a gradual, stepped approach may be a better approach, it really depends on the constitutional make up of your son.
High School Baseball Web has a pitching forum (
http://hsbaseballweb.com/eve/forums/a/frm/f/1491034941
) and the administrator of that forum has a son in hi-A baseball right now, he played D-1 college ball…even if you don’t strike up a relationship with her, just read her posts (TPM), she has a perspective and experience which could prove very helpful for you now.

Actually JD,

DK got up to Triple A and a few years ago was on the 40 man he actually recently got released and is looking for a new home.

But I agree read some of TPMs posts, even send her a PM she’s always one to share advice and is knowledgeable on the subject of going Pro or going the College Route.

Even talk to a guy named ClevelandDad on there his son a MIF is currently battling his way through the minors as we speak, he too is very insightful.

Stressed,

I sent you a Private Message.

If I may humbly add just one more thing about this whole decision making process. Over the years, I’ve been forced to make some hasty decisions while in some tight spots. You can’t help but wonder for a split second “what happens if the “worst” happens”. Once you’ve sorted through all the possible options and honestly faced the problem or choices, you can do one thing to ensure the best outcome.

Commit yourself 100%. I’ll relate it to a good golf swing. You have to make a nice finish and follow through. After you initiate the plan…don’t look back, second guess or say, “I wish …” Many a poor plan has been turned into a winning situation by sheer determination to see it through. Crisis…is the only thing that should derail your efforts.

Once I adopted this attitude, I never dreaded being faced with a challenging situation. It also helps to have a connection with the Almighty. :roll: