OT: What to expect from a high school baseball showcase?

Submitted by Wendyk5 on May 5th, 2017 at 5:56 PM

My son is a junior, and a varsity pitcher. He was just invited to two college showcases over the summer outside Chicago. We have no experience with these. Anyone out there who either has a son who participated, or participated themselves: What can we expect? What questions should we ask? What will he be asked to do? My husband will probably go with him. 


Thanks, appreciate your help. 



May 5th, 2017 at 6:05 PM ^

Depends on the team he goes with. Usually your asked to run throw hit etc, then play a few games like here on the west coast. Bring your sons info and print a few extras. Name position teams and coaches played for where he goes to school, and his grades or transcripts. Lots of money at the lower level D1, D2 and D3 to give out.


May 5th, 2017 at 6:10 PM ^

Some are money grabs. You don't have to say, but how much? Ask if there are or will there be scouts there. Is this an actual showcase event or a tryout for a showcase team or tournament? Any exposure is good, as long as it's not just a bunch of drills with a big cost. Pitch velocity, home to 1st, bat exit speed, 60 yd dash, and measurements. Good luck.


May 5th, 2017 at 6:48 PM ^

One is ScholarCase and the other is Chicagoland Classic. His head coach nominated him for the Chicagoland Classic. The ScholarCase showcase is for academic high achievers (he just meets the criteria). His coach called him in today and told him about these. He doesn't know if he wants to play in college, but I think he's worried his skillset won't translate. His velocity won't wow anyone (he throws in the low 80's), so if they're only going to clock him, that will be a problem. But if they're looking for a guy who actually knows how to pitch, whose ball gets a ton of movement, who throws strikes, who knows how to set up a batter and how to make adjustments in game, and who can handle adversity,  he's their guy. (That's my sell). My understanding is there will be college scouts at both showcases. 


May 5th, 2017 at 7:08 PM ^

for a junior. I don't know if he is a lefty and how big/tall he is, but there a lot of opportunities in baseball to get money for school, especially if he has good grades. If he is going thru his HS coach, it's probably legit. They will clock him for his fastball, curve, and possible changeup to get speed differences. He may run, but probably not. They may offer a video of the testing. Good luck.


May 5th, 2017 at 7:29 PM ^

Thanks. If he were to find a good fit, great. If not, I've been encouraging him to look at colleges with competitive club baseball. He can still play but without the heavy practice and workout schedule of playing on an official college team. 


May 5th, 2017 at 9:12 PM ^

I would say its worth it. My son is a sophomore pitcher and was invited to one as a freshman. He is still too young for direct contact but had a chance to go through the process, had college instruction, and probably more importantly was told about recruitment.
We both walked away with a positive experience, we both learned a lot about scholarships, the importance of academics regardless of the size of the school, how that plays into financial leverage, etc...WE were happy he attended, it was a very positive experience and gave him perspective. Keep in mind I competed at Michigan and still learned a lot...for what thats worth. He has since been invited to other showcases, plus, a few camps via the only contact coaches are allowed...from what I was told privately.
Do your homework ask YOUR hig school coach...you know that old adage about opinions and assholes? apply it to the many posts here, my own included for what thats worth


May 5th, 2017 at 8:06 PM ^

BS. Granted it's in Michigan, but I've talked to scouts, who cover the country, and in average each state might have 15 - 20 players throwing in the 90's. If you add control, and I mean throwing strikes, it goes down. I'm talking HS kids who still haven't grown into their bodies. This year in Michigan we have 5 - 7, depending on the day. 4 are seniors and 1 of those will be going to UM next fall. It's just not that common.

Eat Your Wheatlies

May 5th, 2017 at 8:50 PM ^

90 mph is far different from low 80's. 90 mph will get you a D-I offer 9/10 times. You have to put it all in perspective. D-I colleges look for  a good frame and a kid that can consistently throw in the mid, to upper-80's with at least a feel for a secondary pitch. If a kid is 6'3" and throws 87 mph then he'll get looks. If he 5'11" and throws 84, not so much. 

It depends on what level you're talking about. D-II and D-III schools will certainly look more at game management and pitchability over velo. Big colleges use measurables because they trust that they can fix mechanics, but not frame. 

I coach in Ohio, and we had a kid get a D-I scholarship simply based on the aforementioned measurables and a travel ball appearance. They never once came to watch him throw a high school game, even though our school is less than 10 miles from their campus.


May 5th, 2017 at 9:17 PM ^

speed as the answer is 100% bullshit...my son plays for a pretty prestegious program, most of their pitchers go on to play college, five in the last couple of years...few I have seen throw in the 90s..maybe two of them in the last ten years. My son pitches varsity and I'd bet hes barely in the 80s....keep clucking.


May 6th, 2017 at 8:39 AM ^

He's 6'1" and lanky/skinny right now. 158 pounds soaking wet. My husband is 6'2", 195 naturally, no lifting of any kind, and they have similar bodies, so he definitely will fill out. He has a command of three pitches, four when everything's clicking: fast, slider, curve and splitter. From what his coaches, and other teams' coaches and parents who have seen him pitch, tell us, he's rare in that he has a mature-beyond-his years ability to set up batters and work the plate. He loves to paint the corners. Plus, the kid throws strikes. He's only walked 4 or 5 in 25+ innings. Of course, I'm biased because I'm his mom. 

Eat Your Wheatlies

May 5th, 2017 at 6:31 PM ^

If he's pitching then he'll likely just be asked to throw a bullpen, and maybe get measured and run. They want to see how hard he can throw, and if he has multiple pitches. Honestly, kids can get recognized because of them, but others can just be used to hand money over.

It's hard to judge based on what you've shared, but hopefully your son has fun and catches someone's attention. Prep Baseball Report is big in the area, and we have several kids go to their showings just to get numbers on record so college coaches can see them. It's worked for a few.

I hope he has a good experience!

Sione For Prez

May 5th, 2017 at 8:47 PM ^

I would suggest doing your research about each of the showcases. Any person with a field can put one on but the ultimate goal is exposure for the athlete. See if you can find an attendance list for previous years or online testimonies before shelling out hundreds of dollars for a showcase and travel etc.
position players will probably take some swings, do some defensive drills for their position of choice and run. Pitchers will typically throw a bullpen session and run.


May 5th, 2017 at 8:59 PM ^

throwing low 80s consistently, that's pretty good.  If you pair that with a breaking ball and/or changeup, you will get people out.  

A lot of showcases can be pretty slow.   A lot of standing around, waiting for other guys to go until it is your turn.  But they can be good places to get exposure.  

I might recommend looking at D3 schools.  I played D3 here in Illinois at a great school, excellent facilities, and got pretty good financial aid for my grades.  We played good competition, and even went to the D3 World Series my sophomore year.  It is not quite the commitment you would need at the D1 level, but still good baseball.  

Steve in PA

May 6th, 2017 at 10:15 AM ^

Wendy I've enjoyed watching your questions about baseball over the years.  My son is a few years older and chose not to pursue college sports.  I shake my head at his decision but it was his to make.

Enjoy these last few seasons because you will miss it a lot when it's gone.  I have realized how much baseball (and football/basketball) was part of our family from 1st grade until graduation.  


May 6th, 2017 at 10:33 AM ^

I remember having discussions with you about this. My kid's not 100% sure he wants to play in college but I think it's more apprehension about the process and wanting to be sure he can compete at that level. He tends to underrate himself, so going to a showcase will, I think, help him see where he stands among his peers. I only want him to play in college if he can go to a school he'd be happy going to even if he wasn't playing. One of his teammates, a senior, is going to some very small community college in Missouri to play and hopefully transfer to a D1 program at some point. He has zero interest in doing that. A D3 school is fine with him and where he'd likely end up. 

Steve in PA

May 6th, 2017 at 3:24 PM ^

His summer basketball coach was very open with my son and said, "If they aren't paying for your education don't play sports.  The time demands and effort required just aren't worth it."

Coach's son had a 50% track scholarship to a D1 school in New England.  He also wanted to pursue engineering.  His track coaches assured him that the travel and demands of track wouldn't interfere at all with his plan to pursue a rigorous education.  He quickly found out that was not the case and after 2 years decided he was done playing catchup.

Unfortunately the family wasn't in a position where he could continue at that school and he was forced to leave school as well.  He eventually finished at another school but not until after taking some time off to work and save $$.

Out of all the kids my son ever played any sport with only two are still playing in college.  That's an exceptionally small number but something I tell my elementary basketball parents that think their little one will surely be playing in college.  There's a lot of people out there selling the dream and getting wealthy in the process.

OTOH, he has many friends who are playing club sports in college and love it.


PS.  Are there any minor league baseball teams that run open tryouts?  The local one a few times a year allows athletes to come in an throw/hit/run.  It's a wakeup for a lot of kids that aren't even allowed to hit if their 60 time isn't below a certain number.  I cannot remember how they work pitchers as that didn't apply to my son but I believe they had to hit a minimum number on the radar to proceed to the next round.


May 6th, 2017 at 3:38 PM ^

I love the club sports idea. Actually prefer this to getting a scholarship. I know my son, and he likes having time to himself to just hang out, and I have a feeling with a real college sport and all the studying and homework, there's no time for that. Plus, out of all the pitchers in his year, he was the only one coming into his first varsity year not talking about playing in college. The others made videos of themselves, posted stuff on their Twitter accounts, went to showcases last summer, started crazy lifting and taking supplements, etc....How many of those guys are even playing? None. Maybe an inning here or there. My son is the #1 starter, including senior pitchers. I think my son intentionally took the pressure off himself by not thinking about college. He just has fun and knows he's not performing for a scholarship. That's why I think club sports might be best. Have fun. It's baseball. 

Michigan Philosophy

May 6th, 2017 at 12:50 PM ^

I went to one of these and got a few lower level college offers. Your d3's like albion, kalamazoo college, etc. I chose to go the university route and party in Ann Arbor. I wasn't cut out for the college athlete life and I had no future prospects as a catcher under 5'10 with no real power. Slap hitter all day and not very fast.

These places just run you through al the testing and it sounds like your son coudl easily grow into a reasonably powerful thrower if he started a proper trainign regime. Few high schoolers are throwing 90. If you are throwing mid 80's with a frame you get developed then start throwing 90's. The better the grades the mor eopportunity he will find because there are less cholarships in baseball so if they can find a way to give him some academic aid to offset cost that helps.

He can play college baseball if he wants with what he is doing right now. It just depends on how bad he wants it. A buddy of mine played at Michigan tech as a 2yr starter for their team and he was a bench player in high school. At the lower levels d2/d3 etc so much of it is based on if you want to do it and commit to the grind. 


May 6th, 2017 at 1:20 PM ^

I played JUCO and went to a top-25 D-1 after.  I went to a number of these prior to college and as a JUCO rising sophmore.

Wolverinebutt gave you short and sweet of the process.

Having talked to numerous college/pro scouts at these there are no secrets.  For position players it starts/ends with speed test (60 yard dash) and pitchers is all about velocity (abbreviated bullpen). 

All position players will run a 60 yard dash.  If you can't break 7 seconds might as well pack it up and go home unless you are 6'5" and built like a tank.  Scouts have told me they only keep an eye on those under 7.   As a 15 year old, I personally witnessed a Phillies scout "sign" a 26 year old who ran like crap but hit 5 of 7 out with a wooden bat. 

Pitchers, scouts only care about velocity at these things.  They are looking for 92+ for rightys an probably mid-80s for leftys.  Colleges may look forgive a few MPHs but like the timed run if you don't break a threshold you have lost there attention.  I think you usually get about 10 pitches to show your stuff.

These showcases can drag on with other things (fielding and hitting), but unless you have impressed them with speed or velocity nobody is watching you.  The scouts are usually sitting in the dugout or benches and catching up with each other.  They see so many kids that they can just listen for the "pop" off a bat and know if a kid can hit.

If your son is a finesse pitcher then the local paper or online stats page will be his best friend.  The coaches at his school need to be sending the papers these things and providing the lip service to the writers to get them in the paper/on-line paper.  Then coach will need to call scouts/schools he knows to have them come out and watch him pitch. 

Maybe scouting has changed from the past but pro scouts only get big paydays when their scouted/drafted players make the majors (1st MLB contract).  So they are keenly aware of talent, but these guys also share with the local college coaches because they know that kids are late bloomers and those relationships matter as its a feedback loop (talent development).

Also, baseball teams typically have 25-30 guys.  Unlike football and basketball, baseball gets 11.7 scholarships.  If he goes to any team that has kids getting drafted those kids typically get the scholarships with other starters getting some percentage 25-50%.  Its rare that someone will get a full ride unless you turned down a football scholarship or you were a top-3 round draft pick.

If he's unsure of wanting to play after high school, I definetly would not spend any money if that is required.  All of the ones I went to growing up did not cost me a cent.  But travel ball was only starting to grow during my adolescent so that may have changed.

Good luck to him.



May 6th, 2017 at 1:34 PM ^

Thanks for the info. Questions for you: What if he's not looking for scholarship $$? We worked long and hard to set up a college account and don't want it to go to waste. Is that something he should ever bring up? Does it matter to scouts? 


May 6th, 2017 at 2:03 PM ^

I don't know if it matters.  I wouldn't bring it up unless they ask you specifically if financial assistance is needed.

Others will have better advice on transferance of 529 or other investment vehicles.  I would just let this process play out, if you have the money that is great.  If they offer a % that is all the better.