Play my 8u son in AAA Minors (One below Majors)?

Greetings everyone…first time poster, but long time fan of this website. I have a dilemma that my family is going thru that I hope to get some advice on.

Facts:

a) My son is Little League age 8;

b) My Little League hosts a draft for team assignments. The League is discouraging my son from playing AAA because he’s only 8. The AAA division is one below Majors and the AAA division is typically for 9-11 year olds. Last year, there were four 8-year olds drafted into AAA and even though a couple of them were better than 1/2 of the entire AAA division, they were all forced to play in AA, solely because they were 8.

c) My Little League allowed 8 year olds to play in AAA two years ago, so there is a precedent in our league to allow for this.

d) Everyone tells me to let him play with his friends. This would be an easy solution, but his school classmates are ALL playing in Single A this year. He has one older (9u) buddy who will be playing in AAA and my son wants to play with him.

e) My son plays travel ball and is the top 2 or 3 players on the team. He plays P, SS, 2B and bats 2nd or 3rd every game. His travel ball teammates all play in a different Little League.

f) His travel ball coach suggests that he play AAA this year as it will be similar to the travel ball league that we play in (8u) currently.

g) The Little League Board says that he should stay down in AA for social reasons, but our AA division is always really bad. The AA division is the first year of kid-pitch and many kids in the division cannot throw or catch with any ability level. The pitching in this division is horrendous and most of the time, the game is just about walks. Kids get very discouraged about going to the plate because 90% of the time, they walk on 4 pitches.

h) My son has no friends playing in the AA division (where the League wants him to play). I understand he’ll make friends, but it’s more about baseball to him as he has a TON of friends at school. For some reason, not many of them like baseball and/or are not at his ability level.

i) I have spoken to a AAA manager who wants to draft my son (same dad as above in “D”). Another manager says he’ll draft my son too, based on talent.


I just want my kid to have fun and I think he’ll have the most fun playing with kids who know how to play baseball. Yes, there are bound to be a couple of kids in every division who can’t catch or throw, but I’m guessing that it’ll be limited in the higher divisions vs. common-place in the lower divisions. He’s not going to be a superstar in the AAA division, but I’m confident that there will only be a couple of kids better than him on his team of 12.


Your thoughts on where we should play this upcoming season?

Thanks so much

I would definitely reommend that he play “up”, in Triple-A. He would be much more comfortable playing with kids at his level and even a little better than he is, because he certainly would enjoy the challenge. I see no reason to hold him back purely for “social” reasons; that’s tantamount to treating him like a baby, which he most definitely is not. Go ahead, let the coach who wants to draft him into that higher league do it, and see what the kid is capable of! :slight_smile:

Skip AA. Since he has the skills and abilities, and assuming the maturity, to play AAA, playing AA would be a waste of time. You will just be frustrated.

My son skipped organized baseball at 7 and 8. Instead, we played ball in the back yard and had fun. He played Minors at 9 and Majors at 10. Skipping organized ball at 8 is no big deal.

He’ll get all of the experience he needs through travel.

By all means skip AA. I’ve seen good young ball players regress and play down to the competition. Not that your son would, but why chance it.

I think at those younger ages kids should play up as long as they can compete.

My son played up in a 10U fall team as a chronological 7 year old. He didn’t turn 8 until December. He was good enough that he was a middling player amongst his teammates and competitors. However, he did experience a bit of anxiousness amongst much larger kids - half a foot in height and 30-50 lbs in weight. That is the social aspect your league argues. My advice is to skip rather than go backwards. Fwiw, my boy will either play with 9s and 10s this Little League season in between Spring and Summer travel.

Good point. Kids who played up last year were freaking scared to bat against my son, who was 5’-10" 170. Several times they would duck in fright, only to have their head get leveled in the strike zone by a fastball. One kid suffered a concussion when he ducked into a pitch. The umpire confirmed the pitch was a strike, taking a little pressure off of my son; yet, it was still a nasty experience.

[quote=“West2East”]
Good point. Kids … scared to bat against my son, who was 5’-10" 170. [/quote]

We also had our best pitcher, who was 10 already, anxious about throwing to my son, who was a very capable catcher and one a just a couple kids on the team willing to catch him. It had nothing to do with baseball ability and everything to do with psychologicl maturation.

The tough thing as a parent who is interested in making sure my kid is properly challenged to develop their skills is the fact the kid himself may not yet be as emotionally mature to do so. Hence I have a seven year old, now eight, who can positively contribute skills-wise to a 10U team but is still slightly intimitdated based purely on physical size.

Drawing the line is the hardest part for the parent. Will just be glad when 8U Summer comes back.

I am curious. How did/is this turn/turning out?

It is on my mind as we just began Spring travel in my town and my aforementioned son made the 9U team. We also just had the evaluations for 8 year olds to move into our Minors division (9-10 year olds).

One is not necessarily connected to the other despite both being sponsored by the same little league organization. Yes, it can be that my son does well on a travel team and does not make the cut for the regular in-house league due to age restrictions (all 9s must be placed on a team before 8s can fill roster spots.)

I don’t see any problem. If your kid is moved up to a higher (AAA minor) league and if he can cut it, if he does well, by all means go with it. 8)

My son played AAA Little League at 8 and was one of the better players on his team, as the good 10-11s are always in Majors.

At the time I thought it was a big deal, and maybe it was, but in hindsight I don’t think it would have had any long-term impact whatsoever on his skill development had he stayed in AA one more season and played with his friends.

He’s been on LL All Stars every year he’s been eligible, and I don’t think things would have been any different had he stayed in AA that one extra year.

I guess my point is don’t think your son “needs” to play up all the time, as you may be told. It’s really not going to matter long term. Do what’s fun for him.

end of story…
baseball should be about fun and friendsters who are about the same age group.
If UP means balling with good players of the same age by all means, do it.
If UP means balling with good players who are a lot older…they are insanely bad or your son is insanely good.
Anyway…my point: pick the best team which is around the same agegroup and let them have fun.

Like what southpaw said…cream always rises to the top.

end of story…
baseball should be about fun and friendsters who are about the same age group.
If UP means balling with good players of the same age by all means, do it.
If UP means balling with good players who are a lot older…they are insanely bad or your son is insanely good.
Anyway…my point: pick the best team which is around the same agegroup and let them have fun.

Like what southpaw said…cream always rises to the top.[/quote]

Couldn’t have said it better myself. If he likes the challenge, and wants to play AAA, then by all means, skip AA