What would you tell this kid?


#1

Hi, Mr. Ellis, I am [name] i’m 16 years old and a junior in high school in CT. I’m a left handed pitcher and a powerful hitter but i play at a high school that hasn’t even made the state playoffs in 10 yrs.

Do you have any advice to help me attract college scouts to come and watch me play or any other ways to get noticed if i can’t make it very many showcases.

How would you respond? There isn’t one “right” answer, that’s why I wanted to hear from you, too.

I’ll compile all the responses into a pitching article – because this is one of the most-frequently asked questions I get. Maybe you’re wondering the same thing??

I look forward to your thoughts/comments.


#2

[quote=“Steven Ellis”]Hi, Mr. Ellis, I am [name] i’m 16 years old and a junior in high school in CT. I’m a left handed pitcher and a powerful hitter but i play at a high school that hasn’t even made the state playoffs in 10 yrs.

Do you have any advice to help me attract college scouts to come and watch me play or any other ways to get noticed if i can’t make it very many showcases.[/quote]

Some thoughts…

  1. He’s a lefty, so the odds are in his favor.

  2. In this day and age, it’s hard to be any good and not get noticed by someone. There are very few out-of-nowhere, diamond in the rough prospects out there any more.

  3. There are many stringers and bird dog scouts out there who know area scouts, and the odds are that someone will see him and pass his name up the chain.

  4. If he plays against some good teams, or a team with a really strong prospect, he might be noticed by a scout who’s there to watch someone on the other team.

  5. If he’s any good, and is playing varsity, he’s probably already on someone’s watch list without his knowing it. However, he probably hasn’t been approached yet since he’s just a junior. If a scout is watching him, he probably wants to see if he can keep progressing.

  6. Does he play American Legion ball, summer ball, fall ball, or somewhere else that might help him get noticed?

  7. Many guys don’t get noticed until they get to college.

The bottom line is to perform and to get results.

To act like a scout is watching your every move even if you don’t know someone actually is.


#3

Given that he’s from Connecticut he may want to contact Tom Rizzi who posts on hsbaseballweb as TRhit. TRhit has what are in my opinion some flaws with regard to his attitude toward steroids and other forms of dishonesty in baseball but he has helped a lot of players in that area get into college.

There is also a wealth of recruiting information on the hsbaseballweb beyond what can be found on the message boards.


#4

CT is a very unique State in that it has two very different social environments. Southern CT, Hartford, New Haven and into New York is rich,big,and full of talent. The schools there get noticed. The Northeast and Northwest corners are very rural and the towns very small. My town about 7000 people.

Being from CT if I knew in what part of the State he played I may be able to provide more specific help. With the reorganization of the CIAC many smaller programs are struggling. Schools with graduating classes of 90 are playing against schools with graduating classes of 700 making it very difficult for talented small school players to get noticed. The problem seems to be that the newspapers only follow the winning programs in the middle of the state.

Because the Legions programs are boundary regulated their teams follow the same talent pool and population.

You can email me at pattersonsports@yahoo.com if you want to take the specifics off line.

FYI I coached at Marianapolis Prep School in NE CT.


#5

Unless you are an exceptional ballplayer, (exceptional meaning the star at every game and phenominal among your age group), I wouldn’t be waiting for someone to find me as a Junior. It might happen but there’s no reason not to be active in your future aspirations.

You might want to identify specific colleges you are interested in. Attend a camp if you can’t make a showcase. Camps are less likely to make you feel pressured. Make sure you are registered in the NCAA Clearinghouse and have your academic records released. Contact the coach in charge of recruitment for these colleges and ask them how they collect information on recruits. Alot of programs don’t have the time to travel far because high school games occur right at the peak of their season also. Be pro-active and sell your best assets. Usually the first question is: Are you left or right handed? Being left handed will give you a good place to start then tell them what your other attributes are. My son attended a DII Showcase in PA and not one of the pitchers was lefthanded. Some businesses might be willing to sponsor your attendence fee at a showcase. I know Perfect Game has a specific form for this.

Think of it as a job interview. After all you are going to ask them to invest some money in you whether it’s an academic or athletic scholarship. If your high school coach has connections ask him to write a letter or make a phonecall.

Anything you do along these lines will help. At least when you look back later in life you’ll know you didn’t let an opportunity slip by.


#6

I am with Dino on this.

I also want to welcome Jake, we’ve talked on another site and he brings much with him.

I will add that in my experience, college coaches want personal contact from the kid. They are mailed literally tons of tapes and letters, which are very nearly impossible do digest, much of it goes unlooked at. Bob Shepherd from the University of North Florida has told me several times that when a kid calls him, he pays attention, he has said that this is an indicator to him of the kids desire (Dads usually don’t get a return call) and courage (It takes kahoonas to call a D-1 Pitching Coach out of the blue and introduce yourself as a kid). He usually also gets the kid to come to his late December clinic so he can see what the kid has prior to actually scouting him.
My sons school has not competed state-wide since day one (Though the Girls Softball Team is a State Champion x 2) but he has been scouted, this has happened when they’ve played powerhouse district teams and he stepped up when opportunity presented itself.


#7

I wonder the same thing, so I’ll look foward to the article.


#8

Steve,

What did you end up telling him? This comes up every year.

jake


#9

Actually, I’ve been telling kids more or less what Chris O’Leary said in his post. I also e-mailed the kid last night and told him to check out the forum. that’s the beauty of this thing :slight_smile:


#10

The other advice I offer young players is “You can only supress talent for so long. The very talented always get noticed.”


#11

Go to some camps over the summer


#12

Really good info in this thread!

The one thing I didn’t see mentioned much is Travel Baseball. My son also will be (next year) playing for fairly weak high school team. Knowing this, we targeted the travel ball scene last year in hopes of getting better exposure. He played for one of the top 13U teams here in Indiana last year and will play with another top 14U team this year.

I feel this venue gives a top player many more opportunities to be seen and noticed. Heck, there were scouts at one of the 13U tournys we went to in Alabama last year!

I don’t know what the travel team situation is for all states, but here in Indiana there are numerous good teams and new teams are cropping up each year. I would strongly recommend trying out for a travel team if you’re looking to maximize your exposure.


#13

The problem with this idea is that kids this age are generally too young to be taken seriously by scouts.

They may just be early maturers and might not be able to scale; to maintain their advantage over other kids. Scouts are also so busy worrying about HS Seniors that they don’t have much time to spend on HS Juniors and very little time to think about younger kids.

In most cases, a kid will enter a scout’s radar in their Sophomore or Junior (and sometimes but rarely Freshman) year when they are playing up to the Varsity team.


#14

[quote=“Chris O’Leary”]The problem with this idea is that kids this age are generally too young to be taken seriously by scouts.

They may just be early maturers and might not be able to scale; to maintain their advantage over other kids. Scouts are also so busy worrying about HS Seniors that they don’t have much time to spend on HS Juniors and very little time to think about younger kids.

In most cases, a kid will enter a scout’s radar in their Sophomore or Junior (and sometimes but rarely Freshman) year when they are playing up to the Varsity team.[/quote]

I agree, at that young age the scouts aren’t that serious. But they do take notice and will likely return to see those they took notice of once they’re Jr. and Sr. in high school.

Obviously the chances of being noticed by scouts increase when playing on 16U through 18U teams. The Indiana Bulls orginization based out of Indianapolis has been very successful at getting their high school-aged players noticed and signed with D1 colleges.

Travel ball isn’t just for the younger players. There are numerous high school aged travel teams. But it’s difficult to break into these teams if you haven’t played travel ball at the younger levels.

I guess the only point I was attempting to make was there are other options besides high school ball for good players to get noticed. Maybe I took the long way around to get there??


#15

Also, a great way to get where you wanna go, in all walks of life, is to kiss butt. It works surpsisingly well. I’ve seen a$$ kissers go far. I myself am not one of them.


#16

reason why you’re not where they are.


#17

reason why you’re not where they are.[/quote]

no no. I’m happy. I don’t feel I’ve been screwed out of much of anything … but there is a political game in all walks of life.


#18

I just had a conversation yesterday over lunch with a youth coach in the Boston area. He’s got a sophomore that plays legion here in the summer, but is considering playing AAU. The difference between the two? The AAU team costs $4,000. The legion team costs about $400.

The coach, of course, wants to do the best for his kid.

Do you guys really think travel teams such as the AAU team can boost a kid’s shot at getting looks by college and pro coaches? I tend to lean toward “no.” But I didn’t have anything other than American Legion when I played summer ball – and legion in my area was very, very good. So I’m only going on personal experience here. We had a number of Northeast college coaches scout the league. (I played legion ball in upstate NY.)

I’m not suggesting that AAU is a poor choice. I’m just not sure there’s an advantage to the extra costs.


#19

No, at least at the pro level.

If a kid is good enough to deserve a look, then in most cases he will get that look. His name will usually first get mentioned in the context of HS prospects, and scouts will first see him in that context and then seek him out over the summer to see if he can keep it up.

I guess it may depend slightly on the quality of the competition in the league to a degree, but at the HS level what scouts are looking for in pitchers are absolute, objective measures like velocity and movement that are largely league-independent. At the HS level they are less concerned with things like W-L record, ERA, and number of K’s precisely because those are so dependent on the quality of the competition. If a kid has good velocity and a couple of plus pitches, then he will get a look regardless of where he is playing and who he is playing against.


#20

Indirectly, yes. Scouts may not attend travel ball games but travel ball seems to provide better coaching and a higher competetive level (than, say, Little League and yes I know that is a broad generalization) which helps kids get better faster. And that will get them the looks once they get to those settings where scouts are watching.