So You Think You're a Baseball Prospect?

Just about every high school baseball player who picks up a bat at some point has aspirations of going to on to play baseball beyond his high school career. For most the journey will end on senior day at the high school level, but the lucky one moves on. In the end it boils down to more than luck or even skill. For some players flying under the radar marketing means everything.

It is impossible for college coaches to get out and see all of the prospects within their recruiting territories. Coaches have to have some help.

They often depend on Major League Baseball scouts who cover the same area or other scouts familiar with the territory.

In the end, those same people have a responsibility to the clubs they represent and their main priority is to find prospects who have major league potential.

Maybe you fit a different category. Perhaps you are an above average high school player, but you lack the appeal the big time scouts are looking for.

If you are in that number, like countless others, you cannot afford to sit around waiting to get discovered.

You have to make yourself known and there are a number of ways you can do that in order to raise your stock as a college prospect.

Go Make it Happen

The most important thing any prospect can do is make themselves available to college coaches. What I mean by that is you have to go where the college coaches are.

There are several ways to get yourself in front of college coaches and perhaps the most effective one is to attend college baseball camps or showcases.

While these camps can be expensive, the investment in your future far outweighs the cost of having to foot the bill for your entire college education on your own.

The camps provide the coaches the chance to put you through a workout to see how you respond to their coaching and the game like situations they put you in.

Perhaps the most important facet of the camps is competing. You will be grouped with several other campers at your position and you all are competing for the same attention and possibly an eventual offer.

Take all your reps, leave it all on the field and take advantage of the chance to showcase your skills in front of the people with the keys to your baseball future.

College coaches are always evaluating you when you are around them. If you are lackadaisical in warm ups, they will notice.

If you are not paying attention when a drill is being explained, they will notice.

If you are not giving your best effort, they will notice.

It can be a two-edged sword attending collge camps if you are not mentally prepared for it, so it is extremely important to put your best foot forward when you attend.

Boys of Summer

Another way to show those coaches what you can do is through a good travel baseball team.

High school baseball is extremely important and your allegiance to that team is paramount for a lot of reasons, but if you can hook up with a good summer team it can help you.

A good travel team that attends the bigger tournaments will get you in front of college scouts. Just about every college program in the country attends these events due to the fact that there are a huge number of college bound prospects in one area at one time. It makes their job easier.

The chances of a college coach getting to see all of the prospects in his area at a high school game are not very good, so that is an important factor for you to consider.

You will have the chance to compete with and against other prospects who are being evaluated by college programs. This gives you a chance to prove your value.

The Magic of the Internet

Perhaps for some reason or another you are unable to attend camps or play on a travel baseball team. Not everyone has the resources to do that and that certainly will not eliminate you as a prospect. It can make the task of marketing yourself more difficult, but all is not lost.

The internet is a valuable resource to use and the best thing about it is anyone can use it.

If you are unable to play live in front of a college scout, you are still able to show him what you can do thanks to today's technology.

One of the best ideas that has been shared with me is creating a youtube video.

It is important to know how to put these videos together. College coaches get tons of DVDs and highlight videos through the mail. To be sure your video gets looked at, put it on youtube and e-mail the link to the coaches with a couple of short paragraphs about yourself.

The video needs to contain real live game at bats, pitching or defensive highlights. Everybody looks like a superstar batting practice, so showing what you can do in a game situation is of the upmost importance.

You do not need to include the entire play, just short clips of what you can do. The video should be no more than two or three minutes and it should contain your best plays.

Remember you are showcasing your strong points, so be sure to cater to your strengths.

Fan Mail

Once your name is out there in the recruiting circles, you will begin to get mail. Some of it will simply be a brief overview of a college program or an invitation to camp.

These recruiting letters should serve as some positive reinforcement, but they are no guarantee of a future scholarship offer.

Some schools will send you a form requesting more information about you. Some schools send these to tons of prospects and others are more selective, but either way you need to fill them out and mail them back.

Do not limit yourself or discount any school that is showing you interest. You never know what options you are going to have, so do not take any opportunity for granted.

Some programs encourage you to fill out their on line recruiting forms and that enters you into their recruiting database.

I would encourage you to fill out those online forms for all of the schools you have a true interest in. If you have no interest in attending a school, there is no point in wasting your time or that school's time with your inquiry.

If you want to play ball, don't play games

Stats will often tell the tale for you. If you are an All-State player hitting over .500, chances are you are going to be on the radar.

If you are an All-District honorable mention hitting .250, then you have some work to do and you may not be a college prospect.

One of the ways you can turn scouts off is to inflate your numbers and size. You are never going to trick someone into giving you a college scholarship. You have to earn it.

Being dishonest says a lot about your character and the off the field intangibles are of equal importance to your on the field ability in the grand scheme of things.

No one wants a cancer on the team no matter how talented he is. College programs are not very tolerant of the me first attitude. With only 35 roster spots these days, coaches have to get production out of all 35. A player causing problems within the program is bound to be dismissed.

College baseball recruiting is much different than football or basketball recruiting because those sports can offer full scholarships while college baseball has to split 11.7 grants into partial scholarships.

If you attempt to play a high stakes game of poker with a college coach about the percentage of scholarship another program is offering, you may bluff your way into a walk on situation.

Once you know where you want to play, make a commitment. Do not make a commitment until you are sure because once you commit other programs will drop you and look elsewhere to fill that spot.

Making the Grade

In the end there is a place for all players who have the talent, character and grades. If you are lacking in one of the three, then you will find your options limited.

Not everyone is going to be able to play Division 1 baseball, so you have to be willing to accept the opportunities your talent affords you.

1-AA, NAIA and community college programs need players too, so remember them as options as you move forward. Only the select few get to play in a major conference, so if that is not the direction your recruitment takes you have to be willing to accept that.

Take some time and consider what all is important to you in a college opportunity.

If you say geography is not a factor in your recruitment, then be willing to explore every option available to you around the country. Also be aware of out of state tuition costs.

The better you do academically the more valuable you are as a prospect. You may have the grades to supplement your baseball grant with some academic scholarship money.

It is extremely important to take care of your business in the classroom. In today's day of the A.P.R. and degree progress requirements, college progams are a lot more hesitant to take a chance on a player who may be an academic risk.

All things being equal when two prospects are similar in ability, the college program is going to break the tie more times than not with the better student.

Rounding Third

Playing college baseball is one of the greatest joys a player can experience. Being able to play any sport beyond the high school level is truly an honor.

To make yourself more attractive as a prospect, do all you can to get in front of college coaches.

To set yourself apart from the other prospects with your ability make your grades and stay out of trouble.

You may not be able to control much in life, but you can control your attitude and effort. Strive to be the best you can be in practice as well as games.

You simply never know who may be watching you and what impression you might make.

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