Playing up

I need help with a decision. My 12 year old son has been asked to play up on a 13U USSSA team.
The team is pretty well set, but he has been asked to join strictly as a pitcher, closer on Saturday and a regular start on Sunday.
The problem is that he would mainly ride the bench when he wasn’t pitching and get very few ABs.
I would like opinions on whether this is a good situation for a 12 year old, or is he too young for such specialization.

In my experience with my son who is also 12, I would not make that move. I would look more for a team with good coaching that wants your son for more than a pitcher. I dont know any 12 year old boy that wants to sit on the bench for 4 games and play one and that is if you go all the way on Sunday. So look for a team that will give him growth in all aspects of his game. That way if he does go on to High School ball he will be more than a one trick pony. Hope that helps.


I agree with Gatorbaseball. Your son needs to develop in as many aspects of the game as possible.

There’s no substitute for playing time.

Nice post, Gator!

Thanks for the input.
That was pretty much my feeling as well. He is on a 12U team already and doing very well Pitching, and playing 1st base or 3rd base.
That particular 13U team still wants him for August with more playing time, as their 13 y.o.'s move up in August.

My 12u son was in the same position on is 12u fall team. One ab every 2 games but pitched 3 of 5 tournament games as a closer. he left that team at seasons end. In his new spring team in two games he has pitched, played third base and outfield going 3 for 6 with 4rbi and is much happier.
It should be about having fun at that age. Things will get very serious soon enough.

Gator, good post…wait till high school to specialize, until then he might turn into the best center fielder or god help us catcher there is.

Nice posts by everyone… You hit the nail on the head… When you are young, you want to play,…that’s right, PLAY!!! That doesn’t mean sitting on the bench for 1 attempt at pitching when the coach wants you for that one game.
There will be plenty of time for specialization later on…
For now, play and learn as much as possible and have fun!!!

That seems a hard question to answer without seeing your son play. I don’t have the experience at the sport the other posters do but…

If your son strikes out every time at bat, can’t field a grounder, or catch a fly ball, but excels at pitching, then common sense tells me maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad idea.

I agree have him stay down but try and get him up for tournaments whenver possible. Some teams will participate in tournaments and if he can get some pitching out of it that would be benefitial.

Thanks for all the advice.
As an update I can say that he is playing with a 12 year old travel team and doing very well. Hitting .460, and pitching 43 innings so far and given up three earned runs, with 51 K’s, and 11 BB’s.

He has become part of the 13U roster and filled in sparingly, so the he can play State and World Series with the 13U team, the 12U team is not planning on playing a World Series event, instead going to Myrtle Beach to play Cal Ripken tourney.