In the Recruiting Scene - Part I, an important question was asked.
Who decides who recruits me?
The simple answer. You and the college coach decide.
In this edition to the Recruiting Scene - Part II, I'll discuss the importance, relevance and the value of showcases, and what scouts are looking for.
The Recruiting Scene - Part II
How do I decide if I'm going to be recruited you may ask? The formula is simple and it isn't as complicated as you think. If you think the easy way out is go to as many showcases as you can, hire an advisor expecting him to do all your work and wait for the phone to ring after a workout, you are in for a rude awakening.
While all of those things have value, it is important to know how to use those resources.
Lets start with showcases.
THE SHOWCASE SCENE
Tools. There are five of them.
1 - Hitting
2 - Hitting for Power
3 - Defensive Ability
4 - Arm Strength
5 - Speed
6 - Some might add that your eyes are your 6th tool or that you switch hit
Think of a showcase like you think of a resume. A resume is a great introduction, but it isn't going to get you hired.
When college coaches go to showcases, they are observing tools. It is your first interview so be prepared. Don't go if your arm isn't in shape and you haven't hit or taken ground balls. Would you go to an interview unprepared? Of course not. You wouldn't get the job. Be ready to make a great first impression.
Do your tools project at a college level, pro level or 'no' level? Projectability and your 'baseball ceiling' is a big part of how coaches and scouts look at recruits. Here are some items coaches may look at:
Hitting: bat path, bat speed, lower half, head movement, balance, hand/eye coordination
Hitting for Power: bat speed, exit velocity, easy power or 'max effort' swing
Defense: first-step quickness, footwork, transfer, athleticism, body control, mechanics
Arm Strength: velocity / arm angle and circle. With catchers, scouts are looking more for a quick, short arm circle and a sub 2.0 pop. Outfielders might have a little leeway in having a 'longer' arm path. Middle infielders, especially shortstops, are going to have to be able to throw from several different release points - effectively. Pitchers are across the board!
Speed: sub 7.0 60 yard dashes are going to stand out. You may run a Home to 1st (4.1 RHH / 3.9 LHH). You may run a first to third but the 60 and H-1st are going to be your most typical running portions of a workout.
Notice that none of the above included GAME RESULTS. Your swing looks great, but how do you react to 90mph or a slider? Fielding looks phenomenal, but how do you look at shortstop with a runner on third in the 9th inning and the ball is hit to you? Pop time is 2.0 without a hitter in the box, but what is it when the game is on the line and you have to catch a down and away slider? You throw 91 from the outfield, but can you hit your cut-off man? Can you throw strikes?
You get the point.
Don't think showcases are the determining factor when it comes to recruiting. However, if you do some pre-work (call, email, text coaches and let them know that you are looking forward to seeing them at the upcoming showcase), showcase work (body language, firm handshakes and eye contact with the organizers, being polite) and some post-work (email, call and text letting coaches and the organizers know that you appreciated their work and that they took the time to come see them), your chances of being noticed, remembered and called again increase.
Here is some good criteria to think about when considering showcases.
WHO DOES THE WORK
Surround yourself with people who understand what you want and need from a college including academics and where you fit into the baseball mix whether it be at the DI, DII, DIII, NAIA, JUCO or even professional level.
Getting recruited should be treated as your JOB. It is your responsibility to get yourself recruited. It is up to you to contact coaches, fill out questionnaires and be proactive in the process. Don’t leave it up to your coach, parents or an advisor to do the work for you. Those people are valuable resources. They are people who want to help, but when you put your first ‘real life’ decision in someone else’s hands, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.
Showcases are an important piece of the recruiting process. Know what they are good for, how to use them, how to communicate with the coaches before and after, and realize that a showcase is like having a great resume.
It's a good start, but it doesn't get you the job.
Max Ploof at ScoutStop's Select 60 at CHS Field 2016