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  Getting Noticed - 2  
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How Do I Get Noticed?
Part 2

by Bob Howdeshell
High School Baseball Web

Probably the question that I am most often asked

Typically the question comes to me from a player or a parent and it starts this way; "I play at a very small high school in rural no man's land" -- or "My son plays on a high school baseball team that is not very good, they have only won 5 games (total) the last 2 seasons."

The next sentence almost always is the following question; "How do I get my son noticed by professional scouts and college coaches?"

For the purpose of this article let's separate the professional from the college.

Professional Scouting
If a player is in a small rural town or he plays in a traditionally weak weak high school baseball program how does he get noticed by professional scouts?

Pro scouts have one job only ... to find and evaluate potentially draftable college and high school baseball talent. They do not coach a college team. This gives them more time to travel and see potential draft selections.

Pro scouts read local newspapers -- they pay attention to kids that are getting lots of publicity. Many times the notoriety is the result of a player being a big fish in a small pond, but occasionally he is a legitimate prospect. Players in small towns usually have an advantage over players in big cities with regards to newspaper coverage. Typically a small town paper will do a good job of covering prep sports. In the larger towns and cities a high school baseball player is lucky if his name gets listed in a brief box score of the "small print" area of the sports page.

Pro scouts talk to one another and to area college and high school coaches, good scouts develop a network of contacts and resources. They know where the potential professional players are. Of course there is the occasion where a player falls through the cracks, but with regards to the professional prospect it does not happen often.

It is important to understand that a high school player that is a true professional prospect clearly stands out from other "good" high school players. These players usually have no less than 2 of the 5 tools that professional teams desire. (run well, throw well, field their position well, hit and hit with power)

Once you see a true "big time" professional prospect (in high school) you understand the differences between them and an "good" player.

Getting Noticed by Professional Scouts
Here are several things that you can do:

  • Send letters and information to the professional teams. These are then in turn sent to the area scout that covers your location. Mailing addresses for each of the Major League teams can be found in the Addresses section of the High School Baseball Web.
  • Attend a pro try-out day, in your area. Watch the local sports pages for notices of date, time and location. If you live in a rural area you may need to travel to the closest "big city" for these try-outs.
  • Attend a Major League Scouting Bureau try-out. The MLSB sends reports to each of the MLB teams. The dates for the MLSB events are posted on the Major League Baseball internet website in late April or May of each year. Note: These are held in limited numbers and geography so it will probably be necessary to travel to these events.
  • Play on a quality, high level, competitive summer travel team. In all likelihood playing on the local Babe Ruth, Legion or Little League team will not gain you any exposure. Scouts attend the best tournaments and games that have the highest skill level players in attendance.
  • If invited to a quality showcase it is this writer's opinion that is very important to attend. Note: Best exposure opportunities are at those showcases that are regional or national in scope. Many times an area or local showcase will attract few, if any scouts.

College Recruiting
In many ways the steps and keys to getting noticed by college coaches are the same as getting noticed by professional scouts. With one very important difference!! Unless you are a "big time" prospect it is rare to see the upper level college coaches at a high school baseball game. The reason? The college season is being played at the same time as the high school season.

The largest portion of high school player evaluation, by college coaches, is done in the summer and to a lesser degree, in the fall. Local college coaches will get out to see area players (when possible) during the high school season.

My feelings have been that it is more important for a player to be on a highly competitive summer travel team than it is for him to be on a "powerhouse" high school team. I usually wonder why so many players transfer from one high school to another, just to play on a "better" team.

I have been told time and again (by college coaches) that the level of high school play is not as important as the level of summer team play, when evaluating high school players.

Getting Noticed By College Coaches
Here are several things that you can do:

  • Follow the Recruiting Timeline here on the High School Baseball Web Send introduction letters to college coaches -- See the " Players and Parents" section of our Recruiting Tips Section here on the High School Baseball Web
  • Send introduction letters to college coaches -- See the "Players and Parents" section of our Recruiting Tips section.
  • Attend college baseball coaches summer camps -- at least one each year starting in your freshman year. Make these colleges that you are interested in attending at first then narrow the choices down as you better evaluate your skill level and which classification of college programs best fit your abilities. (NCAA DI,II or III, NAIA or Junior College).
  • Attending Christmas holiday camps is a good idea as well. A word of caution here -- some college holiday camps are nothing more than revenue generating sources for the coaches. Ask lots of questions about a college Christmas camp before sending any money. Use the High School Baseball Web Message Boards to ask about specific camps.
  • Find, try-out for - whatever it takes to play on the best possible summer travel team that you can. (within reason of course). The best teams will travel to the better Memorial Day and Fourth of July tournaments, as well as annually taking part in a National Championship tournament.
  • Attend professional try-out days. Pro scouts talk to college coaches.
  • If your family can afford it work on your game by taking private hitting or pitching lessons with ex-college and/or professional players. Usually these guys have a network of contacts, that can be helpful.
  • If invited to a quality showcase it is this writer's opinion that is very important to attend. Note: Best exposure opportunities are at those showcases that are regional or national in scope. Many times an area or local showcase will attract few, if any college coaches.

    Events such as Perfect Game, Team One, Area Code, College Select and Midwest Prospects (to name a few) all have areas on their internet websites to nominate a player. Take advantage of this feature.

  • If you know an ex-college or professional player ask them for an honest evaluation of your skill level. IMPORTANT -- ask them to be honest, tell them it is okay to hurt your feelings. You want honest feedback. It is important to establish your skill/ability level, so that you do not spend time trying to get noticed by a top 40 DI program if your abilities are better suited to a quality junior college program.
  • It is important to play in front of college coaches. Few players are ever signed to a college scholarship without the coach first having seen that player in a game or private workout setting. (Note: Players can not work out in private for an NCAA DI program)
  • Follow the Recruiting Timeline here on the High School Baseball Web.

    I placed this note here again because the " Line" is tried and true and it works!

We get many questions asking the question; "Does anyone know of any showcases in a specific geographic area?"

Showcases and professional try-out days do not work that way. The best showcases are not traveling road shows, they have a few events at usually the same locations, each year. Players will need to travel to them if they want to gain the valuable exposure provided by these groups. This is especially true for players in rural areas.

Quite often I am told; "I live in "west nowhere" and pro scouts never come out here." Believe me when I say if there is a big time prospect anywhere in this country or Canada the scouts will come to see him. A couple of years ago one of the best pitching prospects in the country lived in a small town on the edge of the desert in California. The pro scouts came in caravans to watch him pitch.

One of our "websters" lives in a little town deep in west Tennessee, population of "next to nothing." His son was (is) a MLB catching prospect. The pro scouts came to see him play. As a result of this he was invited to the East Coast Professional Showcase and the college coaches were able to evaluate his talents. He was the first player in his tiny community to ever be selected in the Major League Baseball Free-Agent Player Draft. He is currently starting (as a freshman) at an NCAA DI program, that is an annual NCAA regional participant.

If you stay at home and hope for the pro scouts and college coaches to come and find you than you had better be at the skill and ability level to be a top 5 round draft selection. If you are a good high school player that has the potential to play in college than you need to exert some effort at getting your name and yourself in front of college coaches.

Also read the first installment of this article

Getting Noticed - Part #1

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