When high school players decide they want to pursue playing baseball in college, it can be a hopeless feeling not knowing where to start. There are endless ways that players are seen by college coaches and the majority of the players on every college baseball roster had a slightly different path to get there.
The most common events and methods college coaches use for recruiting are:
- Prospect Camps
- Summer Travel Teams
- Fall Travel Teams
- High School Teams
- Online Profiles & Videos
- Word of Mouth
College baseball coaches recruit differently from one another, as seen in our Program Spotlight Q&As, and also recruit differently depending on the time of the year. Players can maximize their exposure to college coaches by strategically attending events, playing on the right teams, and properly marketing themselves. In this article, we will discuss the most common methods college baseball coaches use to scout players, and how players can use this to their advantage.
In our article discussing showcases and what to expect, we explained how showcases are events run by organizations that provide high school baseball players an opportunity to perform a workout in front of college coaches. Showcases range in size and structure, but these events often draw in dozens of scouts representing college baseball programs. During these events, players will usually run 60-yard dashes, perform position-specific defensive evaluations, and conclude with a hitting evaluation where bat speed is typically measured.
Showcases are great for the player that is testing the waters and trying to get as many eyes on them as possible. It is common for showcases to release a list of the committed schools before the showcase, which means these schools are guaranteed to be represented at that particular showcase.
Prospect camps, which are sometimes synonymous with showcases, are run in a similar format. The difference being that prospect camps are usually hosted by a school, unlike a showcase which is hosted by an organization. We have an article that provides an in-depth look into college prospect camps and what to expect. There is a lot of helpful information there about how to plan and prepare for prospect camps.
If a high school player has a specific school they are very interested in, attending their prospect camp can be a great way to ensure those coaches have an opportunity to evaluate them. Often times if a college is hosting a prospect camp, they may invite other schools in different divisions to attend their prospect camp, so it’s possible not all prospect camps will only have one school in attendance. Prospect camps also serve another purpose though. Attending players receive an inside look into the school’s baseball program which can help determine if it is somewhere they see as a potential fit for their college career.
Summer Travel Teams
College coaches are busy in the spring since they have their own seasons to manage. Summer is usually the time they hit the recruiting trail; attending showcases and summer travel ball tournaments. Finding a good summer team in high school can help with recruiting, as it’s important to be on a team that is attending high-quality tournaments with good competition. College coaches tend to travel to the tournaments and areas with the most concentrated talent. Regularly playing in these tournaments with a good summer ball team will definitely come with some college scout exposure.
Fall Prospect Teams
While not as popular as summer teams, many areas have fall tournament teams that are specifically focused on attending high-profile tournaments geared toward college scout exposure. Some of these teams may have additional resources to provide scouts, such as media guides, player videos, etc. These teams are often very competitive and selected through try-outs or invitations, and landing a spot on one of these teams can be very valuable in the recruiting process.
High School Teams
As mentioned earlier, college coaches are busiest during the spring with their own season, so the high school season isn’t typically the most popular time for college coaches to be looking at players, but it still does happen. What we see most often, is if a college coach is interested in a specific player, they may make a trip during the spring if their schedule allows. This is far more typical than college coaches watching random high school games, but if there is one rule to follow in college baseball recruiting, it’s that you never know who’s watching.
Online Profiles & Videos
Many showcases will record a video for each player, but if not, every player that is serious about playing baseball in college should make a recruiting video. These are usually a minute or two long and show the player fielding, batting, and running. Unless a player is one of the top prospects in the country, they will need to get comfortable with promoting themselves. Reaching out to specific schools and sharing their recruiting video can garner enough interest to put a player on a school’s radar.
Players should also make sure their social media is up-to-date and professional, and they should have a clean and professional email address for contacting coaches. This is discussed in more detail in our article about the 6 do’s and don’t when talking to college coaches.
Word of Mouth
College baseball is a small world, and many college coaches have friends and former colleagues at other schools. They are often at the same showcases, scouting the same tournaments, and sometimes even invite each other to their school’s prospect camp. It is common for coaches from different schools that don’t compete with one another to recommend certain players to each other. For example, a coach at a DI school might be following a player that they really like and decides their abilities fall slightly short of what they are looking for, they might recommend that player to a connection they have at a DII school.
Players should always put their best foot forward, and treat everyone with respect throughout the recruiting process. It can certainly come back to bite them if they develop a bad reputation. College coaches want to see good players succeed and if a player is college ready, a good kid, and continually makes good impressions, word will get around and they will find a home in college.