Is college baseball right for me?

Hey, this is my first post. I’m currently a Jr going Sr in high school. I’m really struggling to figure out if I should try and move on with baseball in college. I’m a pitcher and sit around mid 80s, I have a good slider and changeup and am confident that I could play D2 baseball. I’m a very extroverted person, I love human interaction and playing baseball as well as soccer has been a great way of not only keeping me active not only physically but socially. Don’t get me wrong, I love baseball, but I feel like just being with people is a huge part of that. Do I love the actual game enough? Should I play to satisfy my social needs even though it could be satisfied another way? I’ve never thought about quitting baseball since It’s never collided with other opportunities in life, but college baseball from what I have read and heard is a huge commitment. I understand that D2 is different from D1 but is the fact that I’m even doubting playing a red flag? Would be great to hear others opinions on how I should approach this decision.

I think it is good that you are thinking now whether college baseball is something that you really want. Since you are on the fence, maybe the question is whether baseball can help you.

Since D1 may be out of reach, do any D2 schools appeal to you for other reasons and will pitching help you get money to pay for college? Similarly, if you end up in D3 (no small accomplishment these days BTW), will baseball help you get into a better school than if you applied more traditionally?

To be pitching at your level took real work, maybe it is time to see if there is payback. The good news is that if the schools that like you are not your academic and social matches - move on. Sounds like you played enough already to have gotten it all out of you.

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Very mature of you to be asking and pondering this question. Some things to consider:

  1. What’s your primary goal in college? Is it to play baseball, to get a degree from a great school, etc?
  2. Without baseball, what type of school would you like to attend? Many kids leave the program at some point due to playing time, time commitment, just not good enough to compete at that level, realize it’s not for them, get injured, etc. Would you still want to be at that school without baseball?
  3. Time commitment. College sports is a big time commitment and will limit other activities and opportunities. D2 (and even D3 are still quite demanding). Your identity will largely exist around the team. That’s not a bad thing. Lots truly love that and would have it no other way. Is that you?
  4. Club Baseball. Have you considered playing Club ball? Still very competitive and really designed for the good to very good high school player who wants to continue playing / competing without the significant time commitment. (S did this and loved it. His team practiced twice per week and played games on weekends, so in season it was 4 days a week. But very aware of other commitments so it was no big deal if a player needed to miss practice or a game. It was competitive though and they enjoyed playing other college Club teams)

Everyone is different. When S was in HS, the focus for many of his team mates was on playing in college. Several of them found a team to play for at an obscure school somewhere in the country (NE X State U or something similar). Then transferred to SE Y State U, etc. I think all but one have stopped the journey. S was focused on college and wanted a “traditional college experience”. That didn’t include full time baseball.

Really think about what you want. Even if it helps you get in to a better school, do you want to be doing that? If so, there are a lot of good teams / players within all the Divisions. I wouldn’t worry too much about D2 v D3.

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There is significant overlap (in talent and time commitment) between NCAA DI/II/III baseball (and NAIA/JUCO too), so I don’t think you have done enough research yet on where you could potentially fit.

It’s up to you whether you want the commitment that baseball entails. Baseball is a demanding sport at every level: D1 - 42 hours/week in-season, D2 - 37, D3 - 34. See 2020 NCAA Goals study for more details here: NCAA GOALS Study | NCAA.org - The Official Site of the NCAA

If you want to be recruited, you need to be contacting coaches now. Do you play on a club team that will get college coach visibility this summer? If not, you might consider attending some school based camps (at schools of interest to you), or larger showcases.

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I’m 50-something. I’d give my left arm for 5 more minutes on the field or sitting on the bench with my teammates enjoying the camaraderie. Assuming you are recruited at some level I would continue IF you enjoy playing. You have your whole life to look back without any regrets.

Playing would take time out of your week but learning to manage your time isn’t the worst thing.

There’s a big difference between D1 and D2/D3. Even a bad D1 program is stacked with good players. Good luck.

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Could also think about attending a school with a Club baseball team. Gives you the chance to still play competitive baseball, great way to meet some new people and less stress, and likely better schools from an education standpoint than a D2/3 program.

As an example Rutgers Club Baseball practices 2-3 days a week and plays a doubleheader on the weekends.

In my opinion, you need to ask yourself if you’re willing to make the commitment necessary to play. I have two sons that played, one in D1. My observation is that you are either 100% committed to playing or you aren’t committed enough. Division 1 schedules are 56 games, plus conference tourney, plus NCAA tournament if your team makes it. I’m not sure what the total is in D2/3. A typical week is game on Tuesday, game on Wednesday, then games on Friday, Saturday, Sunday. That doesn’t even contemplate travel time for away games. Plus practice. Plus lifts. Plus film. Plus meetings. Plus physical therapy as needed. The commitment is real.

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@Ostrich44 : Are you ranked as a player in your state or by any other scouting organization ?

Definitely consider playing for your first two years as participation in an NCAA sport should help to keep you busy & out of trouble while building close relationships with teammates. Plus, playing DII baseball beats getting drunk at frat parties.

As an FYI to all -

pitchers who throw mid 80’s can usually play D3. D1 and D2 depends on a lot more than that fact.

There are dozens, likely hundreds, of pitchers in DI and DII that max out in the mid 80s. As well as pitchers in D3 that touch 90s. There is significant overlap in talent by division, as I noted above. Many top players in NAIA and JUCO too.

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You are correct. Note this guy is not playing D1.

https://www.ncsasports.org/baseball/recruiting-guidelines

Scroll down to:

“What do college baseball scouts look for in a pitcher ?”

With the trend toward showcases/events driven somewhat by the pandemic, the mph matters more than it use to. I don’t think that is a positive, but that is for a different discussion.

Sorry, but your most recent post is unclear to me regarding “trend toward showcases/events driven somewhat by the pandemic”. What does this mean ? (I think that you might have intended to convey the opposite.)

They have baseball player showcases that have grown in popularity partly because college scouts were not traveling the same way during the pandemic. They are frustrating to some players because it is basically a carnival where a pitcher who can throw 90 gets scout interest… whether he is actually a good pitcher or not.

Interesting as I thought that showcase activity would have been curtailed during the Covid outbreak.

It was a bit, but not as much as scout travel.

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It’s all relative. I’m in FL. The D2s and Jucos could easily compete(and do well) with many if not most D1 schools. A lot of Juco kids go to get drafted. They’re not interested in school. Personally know several that started at a state school, transferred to a Juco (sounds weird, I know) and raised their draft interest and are now professional ball players. Not uncommon in FL. I imagine the same in TX, CA, AZ.

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Thank you for your response. However, I was not asking a question; I was just referring to the subtitle of the article that I cited which answers that question.

Thanks again !

Starting the recruiting process early can help an athlete assess where they stand relative to others in the recruiting pool, and you can always jump off the band wagon if it feels wrong. You don’t say whether you have attended any showcases or worked at recruiting yet in any way. If you have not, you are well behind in the schedule. I would simultaneously reach out to coaches and get film made (if you don’t already have it). Film for a pitcher need not be game film, but should show between 5-10 pitches for each pitch that you have. If possible, do it without cuts to show control. If you have a gun to show speeds on the film, at the same time. Then send the film to the coaches for college programs of interest.

This process will be informative. The programs that are interested may be of no interest to you. Or, they may be uninterested because they are all filled up. Or they may be drooling over you. You won’t ever know unless you try.