Thoughts on Showcases

Peak

Member
I've heard from both sides, that "these are useful and my son should attend", as well as "these things are just out to make a buck and not worth it."

I'm interested in hearing a few takes from others involved. With social media, online access to schools/coaches/scouts has never been easier. It would take a 10 sec clip of a pitcher with a radar gun in the background and a 100 character or less blurb for a platform like Flatground to retweet for free throughout the Twitterverse.

How are scouting services like NCSA going to do things differently to help my son? I've talked to them and they won't say much until I set up an "orientation" with my wife and son to discuss his college baseball goals.

We're starting to receive emails for different showcases through PBR and USSSA affiliates. My son is 14 and wants to play in college, but he's not even in HS yet. My gut is telling me it's too early, and these same opportunities will be around for him as a freshman. Does he really need to be marked/ranked in 8th grade, knowing he hasn't hit puberty yet and his body/strength/etc is going to change over the next couple of years? What good would a showcase be now if all they can say is that he is "undersized for his age"? We already know this, and his doctor has already told us don't be surprised if he suddenly sprouts up when he's 16-17. If he's anything like his uncles, he won't hit his stride until he's a Junior/Senior anyways.

Would love to hear some stories from those who have been through it already. We're just getting started, so any advice, thoughts, anecdotes would be greatly appreciated.
 

GoBlue333

New member
At this age the best thing he can do is to train to include strength training, and a good summer team. NCSA is ok we used it for one of my sons but I would not do it again. You can do everything they promise by yourself. When he was recruited (MIF) we sent a 1 minute video made up of fielding and hitting to schools of interest and that is how he was seen. As he gets older go to camps of schools he is interested in, maybe go to a cheaper showcase that is close to home so he can get the feel for how they are ran. This is just our experience, each persons is different. A really good site that helped us a ton is www.hsbaseballweb.com. This has help for every level D1 to D3. Good luck.
 
My personal opinion, they aren't a bad thing. However, I personally would contact individual schools and try to attend their camps. Get more one on one time with coaches, they tell you where you need to improve on and you get to see how they operate things.
 
As far as showcases, I would try to figure out what the players numbers are, 60, exit velo, etc. If they aren't competitive why go to a show case? NCSA is purely a money grab, they don't do anything a player or parents can't do. Email coaches, go to camps, and create relationships.
 

Hitnrun

Member
From my experience, at some point having your son attend a showcase becomes a necessary evil. You always have the same type of participants. The kid whose father enters him in every showcase/camp available, yet sees no dramatic improvement in his skill set or numbers. The drill kid, who has become efficient at excelling at all the various drills, ie outfield velocity, infield velocity, exit bat speed off a tee, 60 yard dash, pitching velocity. First timers, who might enter one or two showcases to get a feel for the experience & hope for a higher ranking. Ranking these kids can become very subjective, but I believe it seems more important to the kids/parents than many college recruiters. My son at 12-16 just wasn't a very good showcase kid. His numbers were ok, but not good enough to get invited to the bigger events. His game exploded during his high school years as the body & mind matured. Our philosophy was never to be concerned about being the top 10, 12, 13, etc age kid, but to continue to grow and improve thru high school and put your best foot forward to recruiters at the right time, while playing summer ball with a quality travel organization. Couldn't tell you how many 10-16 year old superstars we have seen reach their peak early, and are never heard from again. College baseball is a full time job, with academic skills more important to finding that right fit than baseball skills often times. Sure, we ended up with offers from various schools who attended these showcases, but the one school my son really wanted to attend actually watched him play actual games, over an entire summer. The coach's philosophy was seeing a recruit in the heat of pressure tournament games trumps any showcase ranking. His choice to attend this school has been a homerun both academically and thru baseball. Even many kids once they achieve their dream of playing college baseball, end up quitting for a variety of reasons also. There are no guarantees. In conclusion, best advise would be for you to have your son keep working with qualified coaches/teams, attend a showcase or two to get a feel for the process, but don't expect that showcase experience to magically vault your son into some great college baseball program. Nothing is a substitute for hard work, good grades, and staying goal focused. Good luck
 
Not a bad idea to have a player attend a showcase in 8th or 9th grade to establish a baseline. A couple years later, you will have documented numbers to show improvement. Seems like the summer PBR prospect games have a decent amount of college coach representation. They usually take place in June and there is usually a Southern, Central, and Northern Ohio Prospect Game event.

Beware of D1 programs that email you about their camps. If they are the only school at the camp and are charging $200+, they are interested in your cash, not your player. They will use lines like "We are highly interested in you" etc. If they were really interested, they would contact you and not be pushing a camp.

Once they are playing 16U ball, scouts will start showing up at tourneys. Even more so at 17U games. Make sure your coach has a roster to hand out to scouts with player/contact info, any measurables, grades, ACT/SAT scores etc.

If there is a specific school your kid is interested in, emailing the recruiting coordinator with a schedule can help.

Also, research your prospective schools. Many smaller schools use the athletic programs as a way to increase enrollment. If you see a team that has 40+ on the roster, then you need to do a bit of research. This is especially true with some D2/D3 schools.

Hope this helps.
 

thavoice

Well-known member
Not a bad idea to have a player attend a showcase in 8th or 9th grade to establish a baseline. A couple years later, you will have documented numbers to show improvement. Seems like the summer PBR prospect games have a decent amount of college coach representation. They usually take place in June and there is usually a Southern, Central, and Northern Ohio Prospect Game event.

Beware of D1 programs that email you about their camps. If they are the only school at the camp and are charging $200+, they are interested in your cash, not your player. They will use lines like "We are highly interested in you" etc. If they were really interested, they would contact you and not be pushing a camp.

Once they are playing 16U ball, scouts will start showing up at tourneys. Even more so at 17U games. Make sure your coach has a roster to hand out to scouts with player/contact info, any measurables, grades, ACT/SAT scores etc.

If there is a specific school your kid is interested in, emailing the recruiting coordinator with a schedule can help.

Also, research your prospective schools. Many smaller schools use the athletic programs as a way to increase enrollment. If you see a team that has 40+ on the roster, then you need to do a bit of research. This is especially true with some D2/D3 schools.

Hope this helps.
Bingo. Had a buddy who was coaching at that level and some of the kids he was bringing into the program I could not believe as they were very avg, even below, HS players and that was pretty much the reason!

It is great if the HS coach has good connections and rapport with scouts because they give solid assessments. Some coaches at the HS age group have very little respect because they pump up every kid they have and scouts do not trust them. Our ole HS coach if he gave a stamp of approval then the scout would contact you no questions asked. As summer coaches, we had a couple of scouts who called us each summer asking if we had or knew of any locals worth coming out to see. By only passing along legit prospects it carried weight. I have been out of the coaching game for a decade now but as of a couple of years ago one would still ask if I passed along any names I came across and asked if I had seen a few.


IF you have the money to burn then go ahead and do your homework and get the best bang for your buck, and then in a few years hit it up again. I wouldnt skip from one to another hoping like I have heard some kids do.
 

BASESWIMPARENT

Active member
13 or 14 is a little early for a showcase but if you do it for a baseline, it is not bad. PBR does a good job of putting the guys through some drills and running times. I would practice those things before going in order to put your best foot forward. By far, the most important thing for a 13,14 and 15 year ball player is to get on a team where he will play a lot. If this means playing on a team that does not travel a lot or even is a silver team in SWOL, so what. Playing and developing is the most important thing. Especially for pitching. Getting sucked up on an "elite team" and not playing is a wasted summer. 16u is the time to find a team that plays in real, scouted show case tourneys. Finding a team that plays at Lake Point or just catching on with a team for that week (like POing for them) is fine. Too many tourneys at 16u claim to be scouted up here. I personally have never seen anything like Lake Point in terms of real scouts watching all the games everywhere. 17u is like 16u but again you must find a team where you are going to play. Development is the key for kids playing ball because it more fun when you play the game well. Stay away from being a PO unless that is all your son does is pitch. It is a hard situation to deal with when a kid wants to play. I have yet to find a team below 18u that does any development for it's POs. There must be some out there, I have not experienced yet. I will say this: Pitching has a lot of opportunities at the next level. So learning how to pitch and staying with it can have some long term benefits.
 

thavoice

Well-known member
Getting sucked up on an "elite team" and not playing is a wasted summer.
This is what I am worried about this summer. The boy's team basically got replaced 100% after last season by an existing team in a real d*ck move by a local organization. The team had been together for 2 years. Coach was asked what 4-5 players he 'had' to have back. Week later coach informed he was no longer coaching the team, and that the full team was being replaced by an existing team but would have tryouts for the 2 open spots and they invited the 4 players the coach recommended. (of which the boy was one of them). Because of this he decided to look elsewhere and caught on with another team that has been very established (and looks to have 4-5 adults running it which usually means a lot of dads = guaranteed PT) so I am a bit worried about the legit chances of PT where he needs to be.

I did like the fall workouts as they did more instruction than the previous team ever did and overall it is a much better organization from what I see, but as he was looking for teams late summer I told him the first priority should be playing time in the positions he seeks.

We shall see...
 
If you have something to "showcase", then show it off.
If not use that extra cash for a gym membership or a new sock net in the backyard.
Your money will be better spent.
PBR usually runs a "free" showcase for canned goods around the holidays. If you want your profile on the site I believe you then have to pay the fee.
Not a bad way to get your feet wet in the showcase world.

I have been to the PBR underclassman games. If your son has been asked to play in that then I would by all means go.
The amount of college coaches there is as close as you can get to the PG facilities, NCAA D1 to D3 juco coaches all in one place.
The best part is there is usually only one game going at a time so everyone sees everyone.
 
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sig4969

Member
I would wait until your son has two or three colleges he would like to go to. Then go the showcase that college has or showcase the coaches would attend.
 

thePITman

Well-known member
I would agree with a lot of what others have said.

One of our freshmen (2023) plays for an established summer travel organization. A few weeks ago they had their Scout Day with PBR. He now has a free PBR account with his baseline stats posted on PBR's website. Being a freshman, like others have said, I don't think it's imperative that he go to the showcases just yet. Just the fact that his name is out there with his professionally-measured metrics on a public profile is a good start. If anything, it's for his own personal goal-setting.

Now he needs to work with his coaches, make sure he keeps developing, and get ready ready to have a great HS season! Having a great attitude, learning how to be a good teammate, and earning the respect of the upperclassmen as a freshman are invaluable skills, IMO. Have fun, and do your job to make your team and program better. If you have a successful freshman year (doesn't always mean varsity stud numbers), it'll be a great start and a good first impression.

Then when the summer travel season comes around, his confidence is higher. Continue working hard and having fun! I really believe that if kids are having fun, it translates into other areas of their game. I'd recommend he go to maybe 1 showcase in addition to his organization's Scout Day. Then in the years to come, as everyone else mentioned, the 16U/17U seasons is where he'll really make a name for himself to scouts. Depending on how his skills progress, adjust as necessary with additional showcases if things blow up bigger than expected.
 
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Hitnrun

Member
In most cases, unless the player is already established thru his high school and travel team organization, performance in high school isn't high on most college coaches/recruiters list of priorities. High school baseball is also played during the college baseball season, so that doesn't leave much of any free time for college coaches to get around to see most high school kids games. The real meat of college recruiting is done at the various summer tournaments, & higher profile showcases, especially during the final weekends. Playing in the right tournaments, with competitive teams who have the talent to reach that final weekend of play can be important. This scouting routine literally is a weekly process for recruiters, going from one tournament to the next. Also, it's important to be aware of what recruiting actually looks like. Form letters from coaches, etc regarding their various camps, etc doesn't mean they are recruiting your kid, even with that nicely monogram letterhead. D3 coaches recruit differently from D1/D2. They have zero baseball money, & often will recruit as many as 50-60 kids a season. There are no roster size limits in D3, but in reality don't get hooked if you see that many kids on their rosters. They can also simply remove any kid at any time from their roster, as there are no roster spot guarantees. Until a college coach/recruiter actually sends you some personalized type of personal correspondence offering you an on campus visit with the purpose of playing baseball, you probably haven't been recruited. It can be a daunting process, but when in doubt ask questions. This is where your son's travel organization reps should be of great help. If not, you are in the wrong travel organization.
 

Peak

Member
Thanks everyone. Good info/insight all around. This is his first year on a new travel/club team, after his old one was disbanded. The organization has a yearly showcase with PBR, which he was invited to - but I don't see him going to it just yet. He has another PBR tournament in June, so I'm sure he'll be in a better place (mentally/physically baseball-wise) by then.

We're just venturing into this with him, so it'll be a new experience. I'm trying to walk the line of being a supportive dad, but also be knowledgeable enough to call BS when I see it. His coaches haven't said much about their process in all of this, only that he has potential and they want to bring it out as a player/athlete. As a dad, I really want this to help him get into college. Baseball is what's keeping him going in school right now. He's an average student, but an above average athlete.
 

Hitnrun

Member
Instead of focusing on the above average athlete process, it would be wise now to work on your son's average student status. College is difficult enough academically, & when you combine the academic requirements with the baseball requirements, it just magnifies the degree of difficulty. Even in D1/D2 ball, there is limited baseball scholarship monies available, with the majority of that $ going to pitchers & upperclassmen starters who have earned their playing time. In contrast, high academic achievement in high school thru GPA & SAT scores can get much more academic scholarship monies awarded toward a reduced tuition. In D3 that's the only way of getting additional aid. Good grades combined with baseball ability will go a long way to getting your son into his school of choice, than baseball alone, unless he is one of the select few can't miss recruits.
 
If your son has something to show, as a 14 year old, then he should go, get his tool(s) verified by an independent source, and in the data base for college coaches to see. Once in database, he can email the school’s RC, and make reference to his tool(s). Someone from the coaching staff of said school may come to watch him play, if the program is interested.

1st step should be to get an idea of what his measurables are. Then make the decision as to whether you want those numbers published, or not.

If his tools are fringy or you have no way of measuring, you can opt to go to an inexpensive college prospect camp. At 14 years old, he will likely be one of the youngest there. As long as you don't pay a lot for the camp, it can be a very productive event. Ask questions before you pay. Make sure you will have access to his personal evaluation (after the event). The coaches can give you an idea of what needs to be improved, and possibly what college level your son should be targeting (14 is young to project because he will likely improve). He will also benefit from getting used to the format and being watched. Again, pick an INEXPENSIVE prospect camp. Hope this helps.
 
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