Baseball: What to do NOW?

<p>Hi, been reading the board for a while. Very helpful info, thanks to all. </p>

<p>I'm the dad of a 2013 LH Pitcher/1B. What I'd like to get advice on is whether our son is ready to go to the camps at GPA, HeadFirst and, possibly, PG this year. We just got back from PG Atlanta and our son did well on the mound (9 innings, 1 earned run), but a bit struggled at the plate (2/15) and with the defensive speed of the opponents (what would likely be hits in high school were outs given the speed of the infielders). He got his pitching velocity #'s for the first time and that is the basis of our question. He worked at 75 and hit 77. Walked 2, struck out 6 in his 9 innings. He's the typical "crafty lefty" but might gain some velocity over the next 2 years (he 6'1" 190).</p>

<p>His grades are very good and he started at 1B on varsity in a very, very good conference and had a lot of success at the plate. </p>

<p>Oh, almost forgot, his 60 time will likely not be good at this time. He's working hard on getting in better shape. Right now I'd say he's in good shape, but he (like us all) needs to get in better shape.</p>

<p>Thanks for your time. Look forward to your thoughts.</p>

<p>redsoxchicago,</p>

<p>Welcome to CC. Your son got very good experience recently at East Cobb. As a 2013, he should realize by looking around East Cobb what he is up against. Some of the best baseball players in this country (and others!) were at East Cobb. As a rising junior, I don't think your son is ready to showcase nor would it be a good $$ investment as coaches are focused on 2012s. </p>

<p>Based upon what you've shared, I think your son needs to decide if he trying to be recruited as a pitcher or a position player. If it is pitching, he needs to work with a pitching coach to get his velocity up, hit the weight room and work on his athleticism. While most colleges don't really care about the 60 time of a pitcher, they do care if he can field his position and be an athlete when called upon. He has a year to progress and be ready to showcase next summer. You will probably see improvement due to the normal growth spurt at that age, the weight room, and the pitching coach utilizing a long toss program and band work. These activities will be a precursor to what he is expected to do in college as well.</p>

<p>In addition, you may want to sit down with him to determine what schools he is interested in from an academic perspective as well as a baseball perspective. There are many options out there, and you need a place to start. I went through this with my oldest son, and I'm getting ready to do it with my middle son (also a rising junior). Although they are from the same parents, their college & baseball requirements are vastly different. Understanding their (starting) goals is very important to this process. Once you understand their goals you can do some college searchs on collegeboard.org, and look into the specific schools baseball program and baseball needs (ex LHP). </p>

<p>Best of luck, and let us know if you have any specific questions.</p>

<p>Fenway:</p>

<p>Thanks, I'm not surprised that you were the first to respond. I've ready a lot of your posts and find them very insightful and quite helpful. Your response to my post fits that bill. Very good points. Thanks. </p>

<p>I think that I should add some info to my original post: Our son will likely go the "highly selective" college route. Big Div. 1 conference, including the Big 10, are likely not in his future (his high school batting coach might disagree, but we're being cautious). So, we're now focussing on GPA and HeadFirst rather than PG. Also looking into camps at Ivies and East Coast Div III (like tha camp Harvard held in Feb. 2012). He's gotting some response from these types of school in response to his e-mails to coaches and two coaches have contacted his high school coach (based, I guess, on his sophomore batting average in his tough conference).</p>

<p>We're trying to focus our efforts and are wondering if we should get a "read" from these types of coaches now and attend either GPA (one's in Chicago in 2 weeks) or HeadFirst this summer. This "read" might help us narrow our efforts over the next 2 years to those coaches that truly might be interested in our son. That would likely save us a lot of time and money.</p>

<p>Thanks!</p>

<p>Hey redsoxchicago, I'll give you my spin on your son as a LHP, since that is what I am directly familiar with,. I was actually in a similar situation after my sophomore summer: I did well at a Headfirst showcase I went to (lots of Ks), though I was 77-81 mph at the time (deceptive delivery, effective curve, and of course a southpaw). I would say schools probably saw me as a crafty lefty, and that got me a lot of letters from nice D3 schools though I struggled to get D1 attention back then. I think that you and your son have already done the most important thing at this point, which is deciding what your son's goal is school-wise. You are already on the right track for showcases, although GPA camp, from what I remember, was mostly D1 schools and I don't know if your son is ready for that exposure yet. Certainly there is a premium for crafty lefties, but from my experience the attention started to come when I was able to sit in the 82-86 range the next summer. Again, consider what your son wants; D1 or D3, the most important thing in the end is the education and I'm sure your son will be able to attain that at either level, but if he wants to go, say, Ivies over NESCACs, the most important thing is velocity gain. </p>

<p>Velocity gain was and continues to be two-fold for me: most importantly, have your son hit the gym and eat all that good high-protein stuff. 6'1 190 doesn't sound like a very projectable frame, but again I know from experience that this can be deceiving: I was 182 at Stanford Camp last year (a highly recommended showcase for a kid of any level, I must add), thinking I was in pretty good shape after 9 months or so of quality lifting with a trainer; a summer later (now) and I'm 10 pounds lighter, shedding weight mostly from staying in better shape by focusing on running and I've gained just as much velocity as I did between my sophomore and junior summers. At any cost, getting stronger simply equates the ability to throw harder. What was also crucial for me was mechanical work; I was probably too herky-jerky 2 summers ago, and that limited my velocity. My dad started filming my pitching a lot and that enabled me to see the changes that I needed to make in order to throw harder; I still throw from the same low-3/4s arm-slot that I always have, but otherwise I hardly look like the same pitcher I did 2 years back.</p>

<p>It's a long process but it was a lot of fun for me and the end result will always be an incredible memory for me. Best of luck to your son and let us know how he progresses!</p>

<p>redsoxchicago,</p>

<p>Thanks. I'll try to help as best I can. </p>

<p>My two cents....I do think HeadFirst and GPA will be a better overall fit than PG's Academic showcase. HF has been doing it longer, and they are better at it. However, HeadFirst is $795-895 and GPA is $625. These are not inexpensive. So any financial committment needs to be well thought through IMHO.</p>

<p>Given that your son is interested in highly selective D3s and Ivys, the recruitment timetable is not the same as most of the D1s you saw at East Cobb. Yes, some D1s get some rising juniors to commit, but these are elite athletes and some will get MLB drafted. For Ivys and D3 schools the recruiting time table starts in the Fall of junior year at the earliest. An Ivy may be in contact, but they are not going to be truly interested until SATS/ACT scores are posted. Our recruiting experience is the D3s will even start later than the Ivys. So, I really don't see the value in showcasing at these more expensive showcase camps as a rising junior. However, if you really feel strongly about it, and have an itching desire to do it, by all means go for it! </p>

<p>I'm not really sure what you mean by get a "read".....possibly get on their radar? While that may be possible, you have to remember they are focused on 2012s. In terms of the Ivys, they just announced their 2011 baseball class to the team(s). The Ivy coaches are now turning their attention to Fall baseball practices, intrasquad scrimmages, real coaching, and possibly a couple select camps or a showcase targeted at 2012 recruits. Again in the Fall, they'll invite the 2012s for Official Visits on campus and try to get them signed up or committed for the following year. Sorry, they are not thinking about 2013s yet.</p>

<p>I think you will get a response (or get on the radar) from an Ivy coach with an email intro, a link to a video, academic achievements, fall travel baseball schedule, and note about why you want to attend the school. He will ask for your SATS/ACTS when available, and possibly ask you to one of his camps. Remember. he is looking at thousands of kids for probably 8-9 spots of which 4-5 will be pitchers. If your son has the credentials, he will want to see him at some point. He has a very hard job finding a needle in a haystack, and getting his choices through admissions.</p>

<p>My son wasn't considering Ivys when we started this process and we kind of backed into it by chance. We have "H" to thank for that, but son is not at "H". We thought we were late to the game because we were dealing with traditoinal D1 timetable, but as it turns out we got in front of his current coaches for the 2nd time in the early Fall of senior year. 1st time was (summer) at HeadFirst 2009, but son's coaches no longer attend HeadFirst. Perfect timing for us. You'll have even more time with the D3 recruiting. Attending HF next summer will be more than sufficient followed by a select camp at their campus.</p>

<p>Good luck, and feel free to PM me if you want to talk specifics.</p>

<p>Thank you both. This info is very helpful. I'm hopeful that he'll do the necessary work. </p>

<p>I might be underselling him a bit, but it seems that the radar gun doesn't lie.</p>

<p>Fenway and Monster:</p>

<p>OK, I have some revised info. The info at Perfect Games states that our LHP 2013 topped out at 81 (I was told in Marietta that he topped out at 78). As I mentioned before, he has never been on a gun before so I don't know if topping at 81 versus 78 is correct and I don't know if 3 mph makes a big difference. I'm wondering if this new info changes any of your thoughts. Thanks.</p>

<p>First, I'm typing this from my phone so I apologize up front for typos. You'll see most pitching coaches refer to a top out mph and a cruising speed mph. A 3 mph difference is typical of those two measurements. It doesn't really change much in terms of what I think your son needs to do to improve and catch the coaches eye. Good luck.</p>