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The Aggresive Landscape of College Recruitment in Youth Baseball

This email is in large part about the attachments to this email. Please take the time to open them, as they’re a big part of the subject matter…

I was living in Juneau after my first year of professional baseball. I had a lot of spare time so I decided to help out the local high school team. Matt Greely was a player on that high school team. I hate to show my age but fast forward to today, Matt is the associate head coach of Coppin State University, which is a NCAA Division One baseball program in Baltimore, Maryland… He is also the pitching coach for the Mat-Su Miners Baseball Club, a summer collegiate team, in Palmer Alaska. We were catching up over dinner this summer and I was telling him about the travel event that I had scheduled for our 12U group, and how excited I was about the event. He jokingly said, “let me know if you have any standout class of 2023 players so I can put them on my radar for recruiting…” I wrote it off, but he quickly stopped me. “This isn’t a joke,”he established. “Recruiting is getting to the point where colleges are looking at middle school players.” 

Our class of 2019 travel team will be heading down to Phoenix for Perfect Game Nationals September 8-11. This group has decided to go to an earlier tournament September 2nd through the September 4th, through an organization called Prospectwire.com. We have not attended events through this organization in the past… Earlier this week I was going through the registration process for this tournament venue. It was very interesting as they had a newsfeed, that resembled Facebook, that showed what the players that attend their events are accomplishing. On the first page of the news thread I noticed several 2019 players that had committed to big colleges, which I thought to be a great speaking point for our players, in showing them that this is what players are accomplishing around the country in hopes that landing an offer would feel a bit more attainable. When I clicked on the second page I was shocked to see the posts that I had circled in green on the attachments. This offered me one of those rare moments in life where the bubble of your current perception of things is popped and you have to form a new perception of things… 

Committed: Class of 2021
The thought of a college committing themselves to a kid who hasn’t even stepped foot on the high school campus is an entirely different landscape than that that I grew up with, but this folks is our current reality…. For these opportunities to go to Alaskan kids we need to establish teams of top Alaskan players that compete at the national events in the middle school age groups, to help support having polished high school teams at each graduating class. High school age travel teams are a great vehicle for getting Alaskan kids exposure. These high school aged teams need to have an increasing resemblance to the actions of a college level programs to gain interest towards the players in the group, to ultimately facilitate the goals that you all have so clearly communicated to me… What can be learned from these early commitments is that there are young ball players out there that are showcasing some very high level skills, and are being offered opportunities by meeting the expectations of college coaches at an early age. With that established, it is in the best interest of any aspiring young player to educated themselves on what those expectations look like athletically as well as academically. 

Through Gamers I hope to support your player in reaching their goals. I hope this information on the landscape of youth baseball has been informative, and will help in you making the right decisions in creating the best experiences for your player. 

-Jamar Hill