Prospect Camps: Are They Worth The Money?

When high school players are in the middle of the recruiting process, they can struggle to prioritize showcases, prospect camps, and tournaments. The window of recruiting for high school players is short and they have to learn quickly learn which events will give them the most opportunities to accomplish their goal of playing college baseball.

So are prospect camps worth it? A prospect camp can lead to an opportunity to play college baseball and even lead to a scholarship. On the other hand, a prospect camp can lead to nothing with both monetary and opportunity costs.

In this article, we’ll discuss all the factors that should go into choosing prospect camps to attend. If players are attending their first prospect camp, we wrote an article covering what to expect at a prospect camp and how to prepare, check it out!

Do Players Even Get Recruited From Prospect Camps?

Players can absolutely kick off the recurring process with a school by attending their prospect camp. College coaches take pride in running their prospect camps and use them as recruiting tools. A common scenario for a lot of players is a college coach will notice them somewhere like a showcase or recruiting video and invite the player to their prospect camp. This serves multiple purposes. It allows the coaches to get another look at a specific player in a controlled setting. It also allows them to pitch their program to that player by showing them the facilities and introducing the coaching staff. Now, this usually isn’t done 1 on 1, but rather with all of the other camp participants. This leads to another important discussion point of having realistic expectations

Players should have an idea of what types of schools their abilities align with when they are going through the recruiting process. They might not know if they are a DI or DII player but chances are they have an idea if they are a top-tier DI player versus a DIII/JUCO type player. We realize there are many caveats to this, and high school players can make huge strides in a short amount of time, but we are generalizing. As a starting point, players can simply take a look around them. Are they the best shortstop in the state? Do they throw 95 mph? If not, most likely spending their time attending the prospect camps of the top college baseball school in the country is not going to be worth their time or money. The goal at a prospect camp is to stand out, and the harsh reality is if the skills aren’t there, it’s going to be very hard to receive any attention from certain schools.

We recommend players develop an idea of where their talent levels align and focus most of their attention on those schools, but also mix in a few from other levels. For example, let’s say a high school player wants to play at as big of a school as possible and their talent level is on par with DII college baseball. They could attend mostly prospect camps of DII schools they are interested in while also targeting a few smaller DI schools. Baseball probably has the closest gap in talent across the different divisions in college compared to other sports. While we don’t think players should put themselves in a box, it is important they have realistic goals and expectations so they can find a college program that is a good fit.

Monetary Costs of Prospect Camps

Most college prospect camps cost anywhere from $60 – $250. While this of course is worth it if a prospect camp was to lead to a scholarship, it is unfortunately not the case for most players. It is also worth considering other costs associated with attending a camp. Travel and lodging costs can often be a factor unless a school is in close proximity. As you can see, prospect camps can quickly add up if a player is attending multiple camps in a short amount of time.

Opportunity Costs of Prospect Camps

In a related article, we wrote about the difference between showcases and prospect camps. In short, showcases are events with dozens and sometimes hundreds of college coaches and scouts in attendance. College prospect camps are typically events hosted by a school in which they are the only evaluators at the camp. So if a player is early in the recruiting process or just wants to be seen by as many colleges as possible, a prospect camp may not be the best bang for their buck.

Fall is a popular time for college prospect camps and usually takes place on a weekend. If a player is on a fall scout team, this may mean not traveling to that weekend’s tournament. Since fall scouts teams are geared toward college exposure, there is a good chance a player would have more eyes on them at a high-quality tournament than a prospect camp.

Time Commitment of Prospects Camps

We provided a full example literary in a recent article, that shows the format and duration of most camps and showcases. As seen there, these can take a full day and some even span multiple days. Factoring in travel time, players and parents must be ready to commit the full day to a prospect camp. We’d recommend clearing the schedule completely because leaving a camp early for another commitment can leave a bad impression. Prospect camps can be stressful for players, and watching the clock certainly won’t help.

An Inside Look Into The School

A prospect camp is a great opportunity for players to do an informal campus tour of a school they are interested in. Before or after the camp, players can look around the school, and get a feel for if it’s a place they would want to go. Prospect camps also provide players with an inside look into the school’s baseball program. Meeting the coaches and seeing the facilities can help a player decide if they could see themselves fitting into the program.

How to Make the Most out of a Prospect Camp

One easy thing players can do to set themselves apart is introduce themselves to the coaches before the camp. A short email is usually the most appropriate form of communication as we discussed in our article about the do’s and don’ts of contacting college coaches. Through a simple introduction, the coaches will be familiar with the player’s name when they come up during the camp. This familiarity could lead to some extra attention or a second look, which can make a huge difference in a large camp. Remember, the goal of a prospect camp is to stand out compared to hundreds of other players, so anything to gain a positive advantage is certainly worth a shot.