Recruit Me Monday - Common Recruitment Questions from Prospects

For the high school athlete looking to play at the collegiate level, the recruiting process can be one of the most exciting times of their life. It can also become one of the most confusing and difficult processes for parents and players if they are unaware and unprepared for everything the process entails. Over the next few weeks we will be sending an email out once a week with information covering the recruiting process and what to expect and prepare for. We will cover the following areas: Eligibility/Academics, Important dates for prospects and college coaches, D1 scholarships, Financial Aide outside of athletic scholarships, communications with college coaches, and college visits.

This week we take a look at compelling questions from prospects and parents regarding the college baseball recruiting process. 

If a college coach says “we play in a very offensive ballpark, it’s a great place to develop as a hitter” should things of this nature factor into our college choice?

Obviously, there are many other factors that need to be higher up on the importance scale but, other things being equal in terms of the other schools you are looking at, I say absolutely yes things like this should be considered.  Confidence is critical in any hitter’s development and practicing every day, playing your fall season and all of your home games at an offensive ballpark definitely helps in the confidence department.  

What makes an offensive ballpark?  Obviously, small dimensions of the outfield fence help.  The ball carries better at facilities located at elevation – like a mile above sea level, for example.  Fields that are located in windy parts of the country and face north so the spring south winds add distance to fly balls definitely help hitters.  Very little foul territory is a bonus for hitters too (less chance for a cheap out on a foul pop up = more opportunities to hit).  

Even though the dead BBCOR bats have leveled things out some, year in and year out a good number of the top offensive players and teams in college baseball are ones that play their home games at offensive ballparks.  Not to negate their talents or hitting coach’s ability, but it’s simply easier to develop as a hitter in an offensive environment.  

If you ever want to know if a ballpark is offensive or a “pitchers park” just ask a current or former player – trust me, they all know - especially the pitchers!

So, long story short, yes when you get past the major decision points when trying to decide on a school it doesn’t hurt to research things like this.

A school we are considering has already collected commitments from two shortstops in the 2019 class and have offered my son (also graduates in 2019 and shortstop) should this be a red flag?

I don’t think so.  High school shortstops are often the best players on their high school team or one of the best players.  This just shows the coaches at that school are likely targeting top players that, as high school shortstops, are normally athletic enough to be moved to other positions on the field.

How much do colleges "project" a 2020 recruit's potential at this point in their development? 
 
My son is a RHP/OF and has participated in some events this fall and been named on top prospect lists.  Currently his fastball tops out at 81 mph and has 6.7 / 60 yard speed.  He’s 6-foot-3 and has a 4+ GPA. These numbers are respectable for his class, but not elite. In post-event write-ups they use the word “projection” a lot when describing him.
 
Is it better to respond to the questionnaires next year with the hope of better numbers or complete them now?  Or even be proactive and complete questionnaires from various programs' websites that he has an interest in?  I am not writing to tout his figures by any means, but to be realistic about the process and determine when a recruit’s numbers become relevant to college program. 

I would submit the mailed questionnaires as they come in and also seek out baseball programs he’s interested in online questionnaires.  I would be sure to put a date next to any verifiable stats he has recorded (velocities, times, etc.) so the coaches know what age he attained them.  

In most cases a class of 2020 prospect’s questionnaire is going to be hanging around for a while in the coach’s offices and if they refer to it, say a year from now, having those dates on there will help.  

In fact, they may see him throw 87 mph next summer, then go back to the questionnaire and see he was 81 mph in the fall and that screams of a kid that’s making a jump - this is always good!  When kids show progress over time this has a lot of meaning for coaches.   

On the flip side, if a kid throws 87 in the fall, then the next summer is throwing 83, that is cause for concern.  

The 6.7-second 60 = athlete!  Being 6-foot-3 is likely where the repeated mentions of projection come, if a kid is 6-foot-3 and throwing 81 at his age it’s highly likely he’s going to climb in velocity, possibly a significant amount.  

I would use the post event accolades he's earned at these events in correspondence with coaches as well - these show an objective source thinks he’s better than the other kids at those events.  The 4.00+ GPA will open a lot of doors for him in the future as well – tell him to keep it up!

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