What travel club would you recommend for a rising Freshman with college aspirations?

With tryout season upon us, we are trying to evaluate offers for my son.

He is very realistic...right now is he a very strong 2 way player but knows his future is as a LHP. He will likely stop growing at 6 ft-ish so he believes that will limit his future college prospects (he is 14, 5'10", 176lbs). Unless of course he ends up throwing 95+ and then the game changes. But lets assume that is not likely!

What we have discovered over the last 6 years in travel baseball is the teams are really all the same. Talent is diluted, still a lot of Dad coaches and everybody blows smoke in July and August (come to our team and we will give you the keys to the castle - blah, blah).

So...I'm asking you to play this game...if you could only pick 1 club in NEO that excels in getting kids recruited who would you pick? Ready, Set, Go.
 
Last edited:

Peak

Member
Don't everyone jump in at once! :LOL:

I'm interested in the topic as well, but from a SWO point of view. Unfortunately, I know nothing about NEO. Good luck to you and your son. I hope he finds the right fit for him and his aspirations.
 

Hitnrun

Member
I guess the question really is how realistic are you as his parent regarding his prospects. At 14 it's still a little early to judge where any kid will be in 3-4 years talent wise, especially pitchers. Questions to ask now are, what is his current fast ball speed, quality of secondary pitches, competition played against, to name a few. Has your son been to a showcase where they register & evaluate his skills, both as a pitcher & hitter? Seems all kids want to play D1, but few actually end up there. There are various levels of D1, mid majors to SEC level. Pitching velocity ultimately is what most D1 coaches are after in any pitcher. Imagine that means his mph would need to be at least upper 80's to mid 90's, depending on the D1 level. Otherwise, most D1 schools won't even look at a kid throwing less than that. There are many highly competitive D2 schools who develop quality drafted prospects also. So don't let your son become a victim of that D1 or bust syndrome. It's easy to promote or slam various organizations on this site. I have done my share, and there are also many related opinions. A simple search will give you a multitude of threads on the subject. Only real advise I can give you is once your son picks an organization with quality reputation and a proven track record of acting in their ball players best interests when the recruiting starts in earnest, is to stick with that organization.
 
Things to think about: 15u should be the time where one has no parent involvement at all. If Lefty has personal coaches then how good the team's technical development is may or may not be important. What tourneys the team plays in is also important. Finally, please consider playing time. No one should be a PO before 18U. With today's pitch count rules, often times PO's only participate once a week!!! One does not get better without playing. Once does not get recruited without playing. With that being said, in NEO, the Ohio Elite have a good rep and Release baseball seems to have its act together too.
 
Things to think about: 15u should be the time where one has no parent involvement at all. If Lefty has personal coaches then how good the team's technical development is may or may not be important. What tourneys the team plays in is also important. Finally, please consider playing time. No one should be a PO before 18U. With today's pitch count rules, often times PO's only participate once a week!!! One does not get better without playing. Once does not get recruited without playing. With that being said, in NEO, the Ohio Elite have a good rep and Release baseball seems to have its act together too.
Well said. Those were the exact two I was going to list. From all observations and conversations they both do things the right way, nurture talent and have the respect of college coaches.
 

BobcatQB

Member
And realize too that D1 is great but he will most likely get more $ and better opportunities at D2 or D3 levels...and there is nothing wrong with that! 11.7 scholarships don't go very far with a 40 man roster.
 

thePITman

Active member
Look into IVL in the Wadsworth area. John Ventura (known as one of the best pitching instructors anywhere) is the pitching guy there. Hitting and fielding fundamentals are taught by Joe Inglett (former Major Leaguer for Indians, Blue Jays, and Devil Rays). I believe the 15U coach may be Tom Kindall, a lefty who pitched at Akron and a couple years of Single A in the Reds organization.

If you want your son to receive great teaching/coaching and develop his game, IVL is a good place to consider. I feel like they are quickly on the rise and will soon be in the same tier as programs like Release Baseball and the like. They have their act together and do it the right way, with an emphasis on teaching the game and deveping their players. After all, that's the main reason for travel ball, right? Not just to play on a good team.

A friend of mine's son just tried out there the other night. When they were in there, there were dozens of high school kids hitting and throwing. Many (if not most) of them were All-Ohio players from places like Canton Central Catholic, Medina Highland, Jackson, Strongsville, and Wadsworth.

Link for tryout registration: https://www.ivlbaseball.com/2020-ivl-baseball-tryout-registration-form/
 
Last edited:

Barrell roll

New member
I would definitely look for quality instruction during winter months. And as far as teams go. Just look at the schedules. They are all the same. Schedule is the only thing that matters. Keep in mind D1 aspirations are great, but only 20% of D1 baseball rosters started at D1. Couple reasons for this. 1. D1 players are absolute studs. 2. Not a lot of money to go around, no reason to go in debt to play baseball. Go to JUCO, D3, NAIA...and when you're ready they will come get you.
 

thePITman

Active member
Keep in mind D1 aspirations are great, but only 20% of D1 baseball rosters started at D1. Couple reasons for this. 1. D1 players are absolute studs. 2. Not a lot of money to go around, no reason to go in debt to play baseball. Go to JUCO, D3, NAIA...and when you're ready they will come get you.
I was thinking the same thing. Instead of having "D1 aspirations" (which are great), think more in terms of "college aspirations." If your son loves baseball and wants to play in college, that should be his goal - to play baseball in college. If he puts in the necessary work, finds the program that fits him the best, markets himself as much as needed, and is good enough, the right (appropriate) colleges will find him.
 
Tryout for Midland organization. If you make the team, they do a nice job of getting their players in front of college coaches. Your son would need to live with a host family. The team fees are minimal and include pretty much everything except food on the road. They treat their players like gold, not because they want your $, but because they want to help you.
 

Peak

Member
Tryout for Midland organization. If you make the team, they do a nice job of getting their players in front of college coaches. Your son would need to live with a host family. The team fees are minimal and include pretty much everything except food on the road. They treat their players like gold, not because they want your $, but because they want to help you.
Are you talking about Midland in SWO? Your description is based on the older kids, nit an incoming freshman. The younger ages are becoming more diluted as Midland as an organization is acquiring many if the smaller travel teams in SWOL. All of these teams will feed into the main Midland team when they are older, but all still need to tryout. The organization is losing some of its free and mystique at the younger ages (15 and under) as every other team is Midland now. That's how they are paying for the primary Midland team that everyone knows and talks about anymore. That's one I would stay away from IMO.
 
Are you talking about Midland in SWO? Your description is based on the older kids, nit an incoming freshman. The younger ages are becoming more diluted as Midland as an organization is acquiring many if the smaller travel teams in SWOL. All of these teams will feed into the main Midland team when they are older, but all still need to tryout. The organization is losing some of its free and mystique at the younger ages (15 and under) as every other team is Midland now. That's how they are paying for the primary Midland team that everyone knows and talks about anymore. That's one I would stay away from IMO.
Did you have a high school aged kid play for Midland? I’m guessing no. The info I provided is based on personal experience. What personal experience do you have with said organization?
 

Peak

Member
Did you have a high school aged kid play for Midland? I’m guessing no. The info I provided is based on personal experience. What personal experience do you have with said organization?
I have cousins who played for them from 10u through HS. As well as a few friends/ex-teammates who were there in HS, as well as a nephew currently in the program. I have met plenty of their coaches at different age levels. I also know of how Griffey, while playing for Midland, was brought up to play 18u when the coach wanted to hide him to keep him at 16u. So pretty solid knowledge. But no reason to be snarky. I must have hit a nerve. I also know more than I should about their current financial issues. But please, go on about how I don't currently have a HS kid there.:rolleyes:
 
I have cousins who played for them from 10u through HS. As well as a few friends/ex-teammates who were there in HS, as well as a nephew currently in the program. I have met plenty of their coaches at different age levels. I also know of how Griffey, while playing for Midland, was brought up to play 18u when the coach wanted to hide him to keep him at 16u. So pretty solid knowledge. But no reason to be snarky. I must have hit a nerve. I also know more than I should about their current financial issues. But please, go on about how I don't currently have a HS kid there.:rolleyes:
Jeez, that must’ve been miserable playing for a team that you recommend staying away from, from ages 10u through high school😂 Why did those parents do that to their kids?🤷‍♀️ I feel sorry for all your friends, family and ex-teammates that had to endure it. As far as hitting a nerve, whatever. I truly care about baseball and would hate to see someone make decisions based on misinformation. No one (In Ohio) does a better job preparing guys to play college ball. Can a guy be successful without playing for Midland, of course! However, our experience with Midland, without a doubt contributed to my son’s success. Therefore, I recommend them.
 

Peak

Member
Jeez, that must’ve been miserable playing for a team that you recommend staying away from, from ages 10u through high school😂 Why did those parents do that to their kids?🤷‍♀️ I feel sorry for all your friends, family and ex-teammates that had to endure it. As far as hitting a nerve, whatever. I truly care about baseball and would hate to see someone make decisions based on misinformation. No one (In Ohio) does a better job preparing guys to play college ball. Can a guy be successful without playing for Midland, of course! However, our experience with Midland, without a doubt contributed to my son’s success. Therefore, I recommend them.
:LOL: Nice....The experience back in the day was good. I'm talking more current experiences. But YMMV than mine, which is no big deal. Midland does do a good job of training kids and getting them up to playing at a certain level. All I'm saying is that at the lower than HS levels, it's getting diluted with teams that aren't getting the same as the older HS kids. Midland is absorbing a lot of lower based teams to help finance the HS kids who get to "play for free". Those are still a select few. If you make it to that spot, good for you. You'll get the best they have to offer. I feel bad for the younger kids who aren't going to get that opportunity because their coaches are buying into the name and not the program. That is my grief with the program. Midland isn't what it used to be. Yes the "A" team at the 16-18u level is good - also stacked with players from multiple states. Good on your son if he's in that top team and I bet he's getting a great experience. But I want to make sure that we're all talking on both sides of the coin. Go in with the right expectations. That is one organization I'd rather keep my son away from at this point. Since Papa Joe passed, it's changed and I only see it going down hill. JMHO.
 
Jeez, that must’ve been miserable playing for a team that you recommend staying away from, from ages 10u through high school😂 Why did those parents do that to their kids?🤷‍♀️ I feel sorry for all your friends, family and ex-teammates that had to endure it. As far as hitting a nerve, whatever. I truly care about baseball and would hate to see someone make decisions based on misinformation. No one (In Ohio) does a better job preparing guys to play college ball. Can a guy be successful without playing for Midland, of course! However, our experience with Midland, without a doubt contributed to my son’s success. Therefore, I recommend them.
No one in Ohio LMAO. Keep drinking the cool aid lady.
 
I have cousins who played for them from 10u through HS. As well as a few friends/ex-teammates who were there in HS, as well as a nephew currently in the program. I have met plenty of their coaches at different age levels. I also know of how Griffey, while playing for Midland, was brought up to play 18u when the coach wanted to hide him to keep him at 16u. So pretty solid knowledge. But no reason to be snarky. I must have hit a nerve. I also know more than I should about their current financial issues. But please, go on about how I don't currently have a HS kid there.:rolleyes:
Financially, Midland is a wreck. There was an article in the Enquirer last year that talked about. They have tried to sell the brand, burned thorugh 600K in a little over 2 years. They are not sponsored anymore.
 

Peak

Member
Financially, Midland is a wreck. There was an article in the Enquirer last year that talked about. They have tried to sell the brand, burned thorugh 600K in a little over 2 years. They are not sponsored anymore.
From what I heard, it's only getting worse too. None of the alums have come back, or stepped up, to help keep the finances rolling and the lights on. This is the cause of the influx of all the younger teams now holding the "Midland" brand. I don't see how they continue to manage it moving forward. I don't believe watering down the brand is going to prove fruitful in the long run.
 

dsabatucci

New member
With tryout season upon us, Coaches from other clubs are coming out of the woodwork with offers for my son.

My son is very realistic...right now is he a very strong 2 way player but knows his future is as a LHP. He will likely stop growing at 6 ft-ish so he believes that will limit his future college prospects (he is 14, 5'10", 176lbs). Unless of course he ends up throwing 95+ and then the game changes. But lets assume that is not likely!

What we have discovered over the last 6 years in travel baseball is the teams are really all the same. Talent is diluted, still a lot of Dad coaches and everybody blows smoke in July and August (come to our team and we will give you the keys to the castle - blah, blah).

So...I'm asking you to play this game...if you could only pick 1 club in NEO that excels in getting kids recruited who would you pick? Ready, Set, Go.
With tryout season upon us, Coaches from other clubs are coming out of the woodwork with offers for my son.

My son is very realistic...right now is he a very strong 2 way player but knows his future is as a LHP. He will likely stop growing at 6 ft-ish so he believes that will limit his future college prospects (he is 14, 5'10", 176lbs). Unless of course he ends up throwing 95+ and then the game changes. But lets assume that is not likely!

What we have discovered over the last 6 years in travel baseball is the teams are really all the same. Talent is diluted, still a lot of Dad coaches and everybody blows smoke in July and August (come to our team and we will give you the keys to the castle - blah, blah).

So...I'm asking you to play this game...if you could only pick 1 club in NEO that excels in getting kids recruited who would you pick? Ready, Set, Go.
We run the Akron A's baseball program and Play Ball Sports Academy in NEO. I can tell you that it's not so much about the team he plays on as it is about his off season training coach/mentor. This is where he will learn the game from someone who has a vested interest in developing his areas of need over a period of time. There are lots of great coaches in the area but we have one of the best in Coach Jimmy Summers. We do have a process for getting players in front of the colleges that they are most likely to be recruited to. We also have a range of coaches who have been drafted and played professionally so we can guide our players through the process whether he plays for one of our teams or trains with us in the off season through standard lessons or our college prep training program. Please feel free to reach out to me at (330) 714-0252 to discuss. Dante Sabatucci
 

BlueDevil Backer

Active member
Interesting question.........

Let me start by stating no travel program gets a player recruited, its the player, his skills, and his projectability that gets a player recruited. The travel program and their connections, what tournaments they play in get the players in the right places to be seen.

With that being said, you need to first understand your son's baseball goals and what you as a parent would like to see for him. If your son wants to go out of state for school and play baseball then you need to connect with a team that travels out of town more frequently to play in high profile tournaments to get him that exposure to be seen by out of state schools. If, he wants to stay local, then opting for a travel program that tends to stay more local for their tournament more often will suffice.

You as a parent can help your kid been seen as well. Get him in front of colleges he would like to attend by attending their showcase camps. This gets him in front of the staff directly and often college coaches are exploring those fronts for recruits. PBR and Perfect game give you resources to get your kid on the radar as well and a validation service for statistics by attending one of their showcase events.

So while travel programs assist in the process and like to think they are the sole purpose of a player being recruited, it is a number of avenues that offer this exposure for players.

I would really suggest that you look at a program like others have stated in here that have a strong offseason program for development, have a tournament schedule that aligns with your son's baseball goals, do the extra things like hold their own showcases with college coaches in attendance that provide that extra exposure.

There are programs out their that offer a variety of this (i.e. Brownlee Lookouts, Lake Erie Warhawks, Bo Jackson Baseball, Ohio Elite, Release Baseball, TOPS Baseball, Ohio Longhorns, Diamond Boys, etc.)

You need to do your research and find the best fit for you son, his skill level, and his baseball goals. IMO there is no right or wrong answer here because it is really a case by case basis based on the player himself.
 
From what I heard, it's only getting worse too. None of the alums have come back, or stepped up, to help keep the finances rolling and the lights on. This is the cause of the influx of all the younger teams now holding the "Midland" brand. I don't see how they continue to manage it moving forward. I don't believe watering down the brand is going to prove fruitful in the long run.
I have always wondered about that. You go to their facility and they claim a lot of MLB talent. If they have made such an impression on these guys, one would think that tens of thousands of dollars worth of donations would be cut every year. Apparently that is not the case
 

cabezadecaballo

Well-known member
From what I heard, it's only getting worse too. None of the alums have come back, or stepped up, to help keep the finances rolling and the lights on. This is the cause of the influx of all the younger teams now holding the "Midland" brand. I don't see how they continue to manage it moving forward. I don't believe watering down the brand is going to prove fruitful in the long run.
Is JD Heilman still there, or has he moved on ?
 

cabezadecaballo

Well-known member
Interesting question.........

Let me start by stating no travel program gets a player recruited, its the player, his skills, and his projectability that gets a player recruited. The travel program and their connections, what tournaments they play in get the players in the right places to be seen.

With that being said, you need to first understand your son's baseball goals and what you as a parent would like to see for him. If your son wants to go out of state for school and play baseball then you need to connect with a team that travels out of town more frequently to play in high profile tournaments to get him that exposure to be seen by out of state schools. If, he wants to stay local, then opting for a travel program that tends to stay more local for their tournament more often will suffice.

You as a parent can help your kid been seen as well. Get him in front of colleges he would like to attend by attending their showcase camps. This gets him in front of the staff directly and often college coaches are exploring those fronts for recruits. PBR and Perfect game give you resources to get your kid on the radar as well and a validation service for statistics by attending one of their showcase events.

So while travel programs assist in the process and like to think they are the sole purpose of a player being recruited, it is a number of avenues that offer this exposure for players.

I would really suggest that you look at a program like others have stated in here that have a strong offseason program for development, have a tournament schedule that aligns with your son's baseball goals, do the extra things like hold their own showcases with college coaches in attendance that provide that extra exposure.

There are programs out their that offer a variety of this (i.e. Brownlee Lookouts, Lake Erie Warhawks, Bo Jackson Baseball, Ohio Elite, Release Baseball, TOPS Baseball, Ohio Longhorns, Diamond Boys, etc.)

You need to do your research and find the best fit for you son, his skill level, and his baseball goals. IMO there is no right or wrong answer here because it is really a case by case basis based on the player himself.
Well said. Excellent post.

The biggest thing I might add is that YOU MUST CONSIDER THE COACH OF THE TEAM YOUR SON WILL BE ON. I can't emphasize this enough.

I've shared a story before in which, at the same club, one 12u team had almost 30 practices mixed into a schedule that ended up at 60 games, and a 14u in the same club had one all season. That was a club that's had Tallmadge players over the years. If my info was correct, and I believe it, another club that has had many Tallmadge kids over the years advertised tryouts for a very successful coach's team that wasn't actually going to take on any new kids in the coming season. The coach named in the advertising wasn't even at the tryouts. The program head (shaved :unsure:) was straight up lying to suck in kids for other teams at that age group that were falling apart. (4 at 13u)

Some of these travel clubs won't leave a dime on the table, and they'll form as many teams at each age as they have potential pitching trying out for - they'll dig up a coach later. Cattle drive rotational station winter training at a pretty facility, and go play when the fields are ready - if the coach is done with his high school season.

Then the other thing I detest is the "Oh yeah, by the way...." added fund raisers. Tell me your fee and tell me about the fund-raisers up front. Don't drop the WHOLE truth on me AFTER THE TRYOUT SEASON IS OVER you sneaky POS. A lie of ommission is a lie just the same.


Oh yeah. And beware of the daddy-ball, especially if your kid is a two-way player and a good pitcher. Begging and promising during try-out season is easily pushed aside by serial liars. Some teams under daddy control will lie to you about sharing position time. I had a close friend tell me that he and his boy had been assured of an equitable balance of playing time in tryouts and the pre-season, but time and time again his son would be asked to pitch a complete game against the toughest team in pool play to get a little RA number for seeding. A power pitcher can't play SS or pitch again for a few days after throwing 105 pitches. Daddy's boy gets every semi- or quarter game against the weakest bracket team every time, and then goes to first base the next game if he gets a win. ;)
 
Last edited:

thavoice

Well-known member
I have always wondered about that. You go to their facility and they claim a lot of MLB talent. If they have made such an impression on these guys, one would think that tens of thousands of dollars worth of donations would be cut every year. Apparently that is not the case
If a kid plays for Midland for a few years does he have the same coach? Same teammates? I am asking because I don't know.
Maybe they don't see Midland as a main reason why they made it to where they are.

Programs like this want to take credit and in full belief that when kids are successful it is because of said program. Do they PRODUCE the great talent or does just top talent end up playing for them and don't see them as anything more than just a conduit of the success?
(You can substitute pretty much any travel organization who boast they produce a lot of big time DI and draftable talent)
 
.
Top