Making it to college baseball requires a lot of work, determination and drive. With thousands of high school baseball players for college coaches to recruit from, a player needs to stay on top of his game and start the process early. The maximum number of baseball players on a Division I roster is 35. However, not every program carries a full roster. Most programs bring in a recruiting class each year of 8-12 players from the high school level or junior college level. The tough aspect of baseball recruiting is valuing a player’s intangibles. This is also the part of a player’s game that can separate him from other players and ultimately earn him a spot on a college roster.

Scholarship money available for baseball is limited. Each division has a certain amount of scholarships available and that does not mean that they are fully funded. Most institutions combine athletic aid, academic aid, financial aid, etc to give each player a “package”. Full athletic scholarships are very rare.

Breakdown

  D1 D2 D3 NJCAA NAIA
Programs 346 307 439 511 212
Scholarships 11.7 9.0 0 24 12

This timeline is affected by the player’s skill level changing. The sooner a player is considered a recruitable athlete by a school, the process speeds up.

 

Freshman Year

  • College coaches may know who a player is because they have seen him play or have been told about him from a coach or other source. Coaches do make notes on players and will begin to follow their progression.
  • A player will have to be well above average to get serious looks this early.
  • Only a verbal commitment could be made.

Normal:

Get your feet wet in high school baseball. Make sure you are working on your game and strength. Having a plan for summer and fall baseball.


Sophomore Year

  • Big D1 schools are starting to pay close attention now. Many of them are at least 1 full year ahead on their respective recruiting classes.
  • A player will have to be well above average to get serious looks but will be followed more closely if the coach sees potential in them.
  • Only a verbal commitment could be made.

Normal:

You are better than last year but still need to improve. Strength is very important at this point. You should consider having a video made and begin to email your targeted list of schools. Choosing camps and showcases where the D1 schools will be is best at this point because they are the most active with sophomores.

If you are not ready to make a skills video (many are not) then do not panic. Work on your skill set and wait until the summer or fall junior year.

Meet with high school guidance counsellor to make sure you are on the right academic track.


Junior Year

  • This is when the process starts to heat up. Coaches may email beginning September 1 of the junior year. You should be emailing coaches your video and keeping them updated on your progress. Start NCAA Eligibility Center process.
  • Coaches send out lots of camp invites to get players on their campus and to have their whole staff evaluate the player. The top prospects may make a verbal commitment from summer before junior year and into the fall.
  • Towards the end of the junior spring season and early summer is the most common time that D1 schools make the most offers to players. D2/D3/NJCAA/NAIA schools will also begin going after their top players. They will continue to make offers through the fall up to the NLI early signing period. The bigger the school, the earlier they tend to have all their players. For example: after the NLI early signing date, a D1 school may have no spots left or just 1 to 2 available. A D2 school may have 3-6 spots available (some are full, most have spots). D3 schools are really ramping up their recruiting efforts now because they know who is still available on the market.

Normal:

Most players are in the thick of it from junior summer to beginning of senior spring baseball. Make a new video if needed and keep contacting coaches regularly. A coach’s needs can change quickly.


Senior Year

  • If D1 is in your future, you will normally know it by half way your senior year. All other schools will continue to recruit and get players going into the spring season and sometimes into the summer after senior year. The key is understanding that the process never stops until you go to college. Players get drafted, hurt, decide to leave school, become academically ineligible, etc which opens up unexpected spots on rosters across the country.
  • If you commit after the NLI early signing period in November, you will officially sign in the late signing period in April.
  • Send in final transcript to NCAA Eligibility Center so you are eligible to play in college in the fall.

Normal:

Make a verbal commitment between June-October, sign in November or commit after November and sign in April. Anything that happens after April is late in the process but that does not matter. If you want to play college baseball, you have to keep your options open and continue the process all the way to the end.

How to Make a Baseball Skills Video

Keep in mind that coaches get hundreds of videos each month to watch. Therefore, keep it short and about your skills. Many players make the mistake of showing too much game footage and not enough of their skill set. Game footage is fine to add, typically at the end, but be sure to edit out the wasted time between the action. Any video over 5 minutes is too long. Your video does not have to be a big production with background music and flashy bells and whistles. Keep it simple.

Key points

  1. Show yourself doing multiple skills and not doing the same skill over and over again. Showing multiple angles always helps in evaluating. Using slow motion can enhance your video also.
  2. Put your strengths first. You want to catch the coaches eye quickly.
  3. Add subtext if possible so coaches can put a name with the player while watching. It is a chance to show valuable info such as running times, academics, or references.
  4. Do not add music to the video. Sometimes it is good to mute the whole thing depending on who is talking, if it is windy outside, or other reasons.
  5. Post your video to a video sharing platform and upload it to Inside Recruit.


Watch sample video
Groundballs
2 straight at you, 2 to the left, 2 to the right, 2 double plays, 2 turns, slow roller.
Hitting
6-10 swings from the side, 6-10 swings from behind the plate, game at-bats.
Game Footage
game at-bats, plays in the field
Watch sample video
Groundballs
2 straight at you and come up throwing, 1 to your glove side to get around
Fly balls
2 straight at you and throwing to base, 1 to your left, 1 to your right, 1 over your head
Hitting
6-10 swings from the side, 6-10 swings from behind the plate, game at-bats.
Game Footage
game at-bats, plays in the field
Watch sample video
Receiving
6-8 pitches ( 2 middle, 1 in, 1 out, 1 up, 1 down)
Blocking
6-8 pitches ( two middle, 2 left, 2 right, 2 block and recover)
Throws to 2B
4 throws ( 2 views from side, 1 view behind plate, 1 view from CF)
Hitting
6-10 swings from the side, 6-10 swings from behind the plate, game at-bats.
Game Footage
game at-bats, plays in the field
Watch sample video
Bullpen
8 pitches: (2 of each) – 4 seamer, 2 seamer, change-up, breaking ball
View from behind catcher, behind pitcher, and 4 pitches from side view
Total pitches: 20
Game Footage
Show game at-bats

Contact Inside Recruit via e-mail or phone at (919) 964-1020 for professional video editing. Having our team verify your video will give it more credibility amongst coaches viewing it.

How soon should I start the recruiting process?

For most student-athletes in begins during their sophomore year of high school.  Many of the upper level D1 programs have long list of sophomores and even freshman.  Therefore, getting out there early and beginning to communicate with these coaches is important.  Many times a player lays the ground work with a coach before they see them play or make an offer.  Ideal time to start: sophomore year.  It is not too late though even if you are a senior and decide you need help and want to continue playing into college.

If I perform well, will I get recruited? 

This all depends on whether a college coach sees you or not.  There are many athletes across the country in small towns that go un-recruited because of a lack of exposure.  Statistics are good but alone they do not determine whether you will get recruited or not.  Inside Recruit works with you to set up a plan on how to get the exposure to your target list of schools.  Knowing when and which camps to attend is crucial to having a "right time performance" and spending your money wisely. 

Do I need a skills video?

Yes. All players need a skills video to use as their “business card” when marketing themselves to colleges. Coaches do not have the time or recruiting budget to go and see every prospect. They like to get a look at the player first before committing the time to go and see him.

Can I make my own skills video?

Yes. See “How to Make a Baseball Skills Video” for step by step instructions. Having someone who throws good batting practice and can hit good groundballs helps a lot. Editing the video proves to be the harder part. Picking the right swings, pitches, grounders and angles along with editing out the wasted time is very important to holding a coach’s attention.

Do I have to play showcase/club baseball in the summer and fall?

No, but it is advised. College coaches do the bulk of their recruiting in the summer and fall. Having a recruiting plan to get exposure to them at that time, whether through games or camps, is essential.

Should I attend showcases and camps during the year?

Yes. Choose your events wisely based off of your target list of schools. Do your homework on each event and be prepared to perform at your best. First impressions are super important.

Is it too late to start as a senior?

No. Every day that goes by the opportunities become less. Some schools recruit hard earlier and some wait longer before getting commitments. November is the earlier signing date for the National Letter of Intent and April is the late signing date. There are more options than you realize once you get started.

Most schools are too expensive for me to attend. What should I do?

Never cross a school off your list or do not respond to them because you see a high tuition fee. There are several steps you have to do before getting to the actual cost. Find out your Estimated Family Contribution (EFC), send in your Free Application for Federal Student Aid and ask the coach about scholarship money that might be available to you before crossing them off your list.

What is a verbal commitment? 

This is simply a verbal agreement between the student-athlete and the school.  This is not a binding agreement.  The student-athlete or the school may change their position.  Nothing is signed until your senior year when the National Letter of Intent (NLI) takes place.  Once you sign the NLI it becomes a binding agreement with the institution for one academic year.

How much will my high school coach help me get recruited? 

Many high school coaches will do extra work to help their players move on to the collegiate level.  Some coaches will even do a lot but some none at all.  Keep in mind that it is not your high school coach's job to get you recruited or spend extra time working off the field for you.  Your relationship with your coach is very important in this process.  A college coach will almost always call a coach of yours to do a background check.  If your high school coach is involved and helping you, consider that a huge bonus and be sure to work closely with them.  If your high school coach is not involved, set up a meeting with them to discuss your drive and determination to play college athletics and ask for any help or advice they can give.  They may be more responsive than you think and begin to do more on your behalf.