Showcases are one of the most efficient ways for high school players to be seen by college coaches. Showcases often have dozens if not hundreds of college coaches and scouts in attendance, providing participants a lot of opportunities to show off their skills.
While showcases can cost hundreds of dollars, the opportunity for exposure to college programs is typically worth it for talented players. Through showcases, college coaches may begin recruiting players that they see as a potential fit for their program. This can lead to roster spots and even scholarships down the road.
There are a few considerations when choosing which showcases to attend. The costs of showcases can vary a lot, but also the quality. Finding a showcase that is in line with a player’s talent level and schools of interest is also very important. We wrote an article discussing the differences between showcases and prospects camps, but in this article, we’ll take a look at showcases specifically and how to find the right ones to attend.
Costs of Showcases
The most obvious downside of attending a showcase is the cost. Showcases are expensive and on top of equipment costs, summer ball team fees, and travel expenses, baseball can quickly become an expensive sport. While showcases are not the only way to get recruited, which we’ll discuss later, they can certainly be a good option for players looking for exposure.
On average, a typical showcase will cost around $250 to attend. They can range from $50 to $500+, but typically expect to pay a couple hundred for most reputable showcases. Some showcases have a discounted rate for pitchers only, meaning if a player chooses not to work out at a position player and only wants to be evaluated as a pitcher, this would be an option for them. On the flip side, it may cost more for players who want to participate as both a position player and a pitcher.
This should go without saying but a lot of showcases will require some travel, especially for players that are not in populated areas. Showcases often start early in the morning, so overnight accommodations the night before may be necessary as well.
What Type of Player Should Attend A Showcase?
There are really two phases when a high school player decides they want to play college baseball. The first is determining if this is a realistic goal. Roughly 10% of high school baseball players go on to play in college. Players need to be honest with themselves and determine if they think they fall into this category. If the costs of attending a showcase is not a concern, this is a great way for players to get a gauge of how their talent levels compare to players with the same goals. All the participants at a showcase are there because they want to play in college, and this can be an easy way for players to better understand their abilities. For players that have the desire to play in college but aren’t quite there talent-wise yet, we’d recommend spending their time and money on good training over showcases. It will be way more valuable to put in the extra work to eventually be able to impress at a showcase than to attend and have a mediocre performance.
The second phase is when a player is a college-caliber player, but doesn’t quite know what type of school may be interested (e.g. Division 1, Division 2, JUCO, etc.). Showcases usually have schools from multiple divisions in attendance, so the interest received from schools after a showcase can be a good indication of where a player should start to narrow their focus. Showcases allow players to cast a wide net, which is usually a good idea unless a player has a specific school or two in mind that they are set on. In that case, we’d recommend looking into that school’s prospect camp, which we covered in depth in our recent article about what to expect at a prospect camp.
Are Showcases Necessary to be Recruited?
Showcases are certainly not the only way for a high school player to be recruited by a college baseball program. There are high school and summer travel ball teams, prospect videos, word of mouth, and so on. However, showcases are a common starting point for many players and coaches. Coaches like showcases because it allows them to evaluate a lot of players in a short amount of time while in a controlled setting. From there it is common for coaches to make note of players they are interested in and consider watching them play in a game, whether that’s for their high school team, summer ball team, or fall ball team.
An Alternative to Showcases
With the high costs of showcases, it may not be feasible for some players to attend them, especially since nothing is guaranteed. A cost-effective alternative, and something we recommend all players do, is to make a prospect video of themselves. A prospect video is a short 1-3 min video that displays the skills of a player in a similar fashion to a showcase. Typical showcases events are the 60-yard dash, fielding groundballs or flyballs, and hitting. Splicing together a few clips of a 60-yard dash, 5-10 fielding reps, and 5-10 swings is a perfect tool players can use to reach out to college coaches.
We recommend players identify their schools of interest and reach out to their coaches through email. Sharing their prospect video and an upcoming schedule is a great way for players to introduce themselves and also provides a quick and easy way for coaches to evaluate them.
Making the Most of a Showcase
For players attending a showcase, preparation is key in order to get the most out it. Most showcases release a committed colleges list, which means these schools are guaranteed to have a representative in attendance. Reaching out to their schools ahead of time can put a player’s name on their radar, and is a good way to begin to separate themselves in a positive way.
It is also a good idea to be as prepared as possible when it comes to logistics and equipment. Be sure to read all of the provided information with details on the location, parking, start time, etc. Remember that showcases are all about standing out and making a good impression… and showing up late is certainly not the first impression a player wants to make. Also, since showcases sometimes take place in different facilities, being prepared with the right footwear and apparel is also important.
Overall, we believe players should use showcases as a tool to help in recruiting but be sure to keep the focus on on-field performance. While it’s easy to get caught up in showcase numbers like 60-yard dashes and exit velocity, these are just used as a starting point by college coaches. The next step is those coaches will want to make a player’s ability translates to the game, with is ultimately what really matters.