Baseball Prospects and the Recruiting Process


Defining college baseball prospects?

Baseball prospects are players who are eligible for baseball scholarships and to play on college teams.

Most prospects want to be among the baseball recruits. Those are the players who baseball recruiters are looking for and who are most likely to end up on college baseball rosters. You must have enough promise and skills to be considered for membership in that group.

How do you become one of the sought-after baseball prospects and recruits who eventually become baseball commits? Of course, improving your baseball skills to the point where coaches in charge of college baseball recruiting at their schools see you as a likely positive influence on their teams. However, you should also consider other aspects of what you would bring to the table. These include things like your academic abilities and how you handle yourself in stressful situations, both on and off the field. It is critical to consider the entire package.

It is also critical to begin focusing on the college baseball recruiting process during your freshman year of high school. If that time has already passed, you will be behind your competitors, but make sure to get right into it so that you can make the most of the time that you have left in high school. Be proactive throughout this period, while keeping in mind that coaches must follow a set of recruiting-related rules, which may prohibit them from contacting you at certain times; however, you are free to contact them at any time. 

Baseball Prospects, Baseball Recruits, and Baseball Commits 

Understanding the differences between baseball prospects, baseball recruits, and baseball commits is one of the simplest but most important things you can do. As previously stated, being considered one of the nation's top baseball prospects is a low bar to clear. However, getting to the point where you can be considered a baseball recruit is significant. This means that one or more baseball recruiters have expressed an interest in having you join their teams. 

The final step in this process is to join the select group of baseball commits. These are the players who have not only been recruited by one or more schools, but who have also been offered and accepted a position. This can be done silently, in the sense that it has not been revealed via social media or in any other public manner, through a verbal agreement, which is non-binding but oftentimes necessary due to baseball recruiting rules, or through a legally binding contract through the offer of a baseball scholarship and the signing of a National Letter of Intent.

College Baseball Prospects: NCAA, NAIA, and Junior College

To be one of the baseball prospects who ends up playing college ball, you must impress the coaches at the various levels of the college game enough for them to include you on their lists of baseball recruits and baseball commits. Although there will always be exceptions to these guidelines, take them seriously because exceptions are called that for a reason; they are exceptions to the norm.

Unsurprisingly, the expectations for D1 baseball prospects are the highest, as these are the schools competing for a spot in the College World Series in Omaha, Neb. These are the teams from which the majority of college basketball players are drafted into the pros. For example, most D1 baseball prospects who play middle infield will be 5'8"-6'2" and 165-190 pounds, run a 60-yard dash in 6.5-6.8 seconds, throw the ball across the diamond at around 90 mph, and have an on-base percentage of.500+ and a slugging percentage of.600+. 

To compare, D2 baseball prospects at those positions typically run the 60-yard dash in 6.9 seconds or less, throw the ball across the infield at 80-85 mph, and have on-base and slugging percentages of.550+ and.450+, respectively.

In comparison to D2 baseball prospects, D3 baseball prospects are typically a little shorter and lighter, run the 60-yard dash in 7.0 seconds or less, throw the ball to first at a speed of about 78 mph, and have respective on-base and slugging percentages of.400+ and.500+.

College Baseball Camps, Baseball Showcases, and Baseball Combines

Participating in top baseball prospect camps, baseball showcases, and baseball combines is one of the best things that baseball prospects can do. 

Baseball camps can be held by colleges across the country as well as by other organizations, including MLB teams. The primary advantages for baseball prospects are the ability to improve their skills and, in some cases, increase their visibility among coaching staffs that they want to impress. Ones held by universities that baseball prospects are considering are especially valuable because they allow them to experience the campus firsthand.

Baseball showcases are held for baseball prospects to demonstrate their abilities to coaches. These are typically organized by third-party groups and can provide excellent opportunities for baseball prospects to promote themselves. 

A baseball combine is sometimes held in conjunction with a showcase, but it can also be held as a separate event. At combines, verified numbers such as pitching velocity and 60-yard dash time are recorded and shared.

Recruiting Rankings

It's always useful to know where you stand in relation to other college baseball prospects, baseball recruits, and baseball commits.

First, look at where the teams you're interested in rank in terms of incoming baseball commits. Perfect Game provides some of the most respected team rankings, and they also break it down among universities competing for D3 baseball prospects, as well as squads at every other level of college ball. Another useful resource is Baseball America's Top 100. 

Consider who the top 100 college baseball prospects are, and who you are competing against for these spots on college rosters. ESPN college baseball rankings and lists compiled by US Elite Baseball, D1Baseball.com, and 247 Recruiting are useful resources to consult.

It is also useful to consider who the top MLB draft prospects are, as many of those players are deciding whether to attend college or enter the professional ranks immediately after high school. Baseball America's Top 100 is a useful tool for this. It should be noted that many of these players eventually realize that the best option was to attend college first and then become one of the college baseball draft prospects as a result of all the advantages that a college experience provides.

Top College Baseball Teams

All of the best college baseball prospects should also stay up to date on NCAA baseball rankings, who the country's best teams are, and how their seasons are progressing so that they can speak intelligently about those topics when speaking with coaches at those schools. Those who do are baseball prospects who stand out. 

Examining the national top 25 is one of the simplest things that top college baseball prospects can do. Baseball America and USA Today are two of the most reputable publications that publish top-25 polls on a regular basis.

If you're one of the top college baseball prospects looking to attend a D1 school, check out the most recent RPI Ratings, which rank each of those 300 teams based on their win-loss records and strength of schedules. Several organizations also compile NCAA baseball rankings for D2 and D3 teams. 

Consider where the teams rank in their conferences' standings, which are ultimately the most important thing because the conference tournament determines who earns that league's automatic berth into the NCAA tournament and is the only thing that guarantees a spot at that event. 

When time allows, watch games at schools you're interested in. Some of the top teams have their games broadcast on television, while a large number of schools of all sizes provide online streams of their home games, many of which can be viewed for free by baseball prospects and others.

How to Get Recruited

The transition from baseball prospect to baseball recruit is significant, but there are several things you can do to help you earn spots on lists of the best college baseball prospects and make that transition. The first thing to consider is that progressing in the sport of baseball entails many steps along the way, each of which is significant in its own right and essential to the overall picture.

One of the most important factors to consider is the demand for college baseball scholarships, as D1 schools are only allowed to award 11.7 per team, whereas D2 schools can provide up to nine per squad. Unfortunately, these figures result in baseball teams receiving a much lower percentage of their rosters receiving athletic scholarships when compared to sports such as football and basketball. 

Also, begin as soon as possible in high school and be proactive. Doing both of these things not only helps you find the best fit for yourself, but it also allows you to show the coaching staffs who are considering you that you are a go-getter. Sending a recruiting video is one of many things you can do while interacting with coaches.

As you progress through this process, begin compiling a list of about 10-15 target schools, ones that appear to fit well in several aspects, as well as 5-10 reach schools. These may be a stretch for you in one or more ways, but they are also viewed as "dream schools" and 5-10 safety schools in case several factors result in the other ones being considered falling through. Also, by the time you make your decision, a safety school may have

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