I would appreciate advice regarding whether I should “move up” my son to a better Little League division.
My son is a lefty who turned 8 in October 2009. He’s big for his age (92nd percentile in height and weight), and a very good infielder and hitter. Also, I’ve worked with him on pitching (I pitched through high school), and have paid a few local pitching instructors to work with him a few times (I of course have adopted much of what the pitching instructors did with him). In short, as a pitcher he throws hard but is wild (probably to be expected of an 8 year old).
The Little League he plays in is well established, well organized, and competitive. The divisions he will be eligible to play in for the 2010 season (January through May) are:
Double A: 7 and 8 year olds, and 9 and 10 year olds who don’t get drafted into Triple A.
Triple A: A few 8 year olds who get drafted, and 9, 10, 11, and 12 year olds who don’t get drafted into Majors.
Last season my son played in Double A and batted and played the infield very well, and pitched just a few innings. Now, however, I have been told by many coaches and pitching instructors who have seen my son play or pitch that I should put him in Triple A next season. I have seen Triple A games and there is no doubt in my mind that my son can play up there.
However, my concerns with Triple A are safety (an 8 year old, though big, playing against 9,10,11, and 12 year olds), maturity (he’s very competitive and doesn’t handle failure well), and pitching (he’ll obviously pitch less in Triple A than in Double A).
My concerns with Double A, on the other hand, are that it has lots of bad players (a lot of 7 year olds coming out of Single A), players who aren’t in the game mentally (playing with ant piles in the outfield, etc.), and so my son may not develop as much in another season of Double A. The only benefit I see of another season in Double A is that I will be able to pitch him in at least one game per week and maybe two games per week (depending on his pitch counts), and so he’ll get a lot of experience pitching to live batters in game situations (more so than in Triple A).
My son says he wants to play Triple A.
Any thoughts on what I should do? In particular I would like to hear from those who have personal experience with this situation and have seen younger players “move up”.