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Sparks Journey from Little League to College

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  • Sparks,

    I would watch to make sure the coach doesn't use your grandson to catch and pitch in the same game.

    Maybe even talk to the coach if your grandson believes it wouldn't put him on a blacklist.

    Comment


    • If he's throwing in the mid 80's there's a place for him in college baseball. He's definitely D2 or D3 material. If he can consistently hit 85, has good control and command and has a quality second pitch he can pitch at a mid major D1.

      I am absolutely not a fan of pitchers catching. He should never swap positions on the same day. If he catches first his legs won't be 100% which could affect mechanics and therefore his arm. If he pitches first he shouldn't be making hard throws from the catching position after cooling down from pitching. Be very careful. I've heard some Texas high school baseball coaches have a football mentality approach to coaching baseball if they coach both sports.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by tg643 View Post
        If he can consistently hit 85, has good control and command and has a quality second pitch he can pitch at a mid major D1.
        I know a guy that fits this profile, and he didn't get a sniff from a D1 last year. And his curveball looks like it's from a cartoon.
        efastball.com - hitting and pitching fact checker

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        • Song, did the kid do anything to get "on the radar"? how about his grades/GPA? Granted size matters. Just curious.

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          • Originally posted by songtitle View Post
            I know a guy that fits this profile, and he didn't get a sniff from a D1 last year. And his curveball looks like it's from a cartoon.
            I got the information from a Phillies scout at a mid major game a few years ago. He said there are plenty of pitchers at mid majors who consistently hit 85 with good command. Command is the key. At 85 a mid major pitcher better be hitting spots.

            I did a lot of investigating regarding pitching in college. There was a point in time where I wasn't sure if hitting or pitching was the better choice for my son. For those of you with young kids my son hit .340 and made all conference (his glove at short had some influence) soph year at a large high school. I wasn't convinced he had the swing or bat speed for any level of D1 ball. He was cruising at 84 on the mound as a closer.

            It was after a winter of having his swing reconstructed by a pro scout, working with a pitching coach and speed coach that changed everything. He hit .524 junior year, ran a 6.7 sixty (now best time 6.55) and threw 87 off the mound.

            He was 5'11", 160 soph year. Senior year he was 6'1", 170. Soph year of college he's 6'2", 190 and still growing. Last time we had his knee and shoulder checked the doctor said the growth plates haven't closed.
            Last edited by tg643; 02-03-2013, 11:16 AM.

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            • Originally posted by songtitle View Post
              I know a guy that fits this profile, and he didn't get a sniff from a D1 last year. And his curveball looks like it's from a cartoon.
              That's been my experience as well. We had an all-city left hander who hit 88 on the gun and he had to go the JC route, namely because his parents didn't have the resources to market themselves as TG correctly advocates. I agree with TG that if you get enough exposure with showcases that eventually someone will offer you a partial scholarship or preferred walk on position if you're at 85 with good control, but it isn't easy. There are a lot of guys throwing 85, so it's hard to separate yourself from the pack. Hit 90 on the other hand, and you can have a prison record and someone will give you a chance.
              The outcome of our children is infinitely more important than the outcome of any game they will ever play

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              • Originally posted by JJA View Post
                That's been my experience as well. We had an all-city left hander who hit 88 on the gun and he had to go the JC route, namely because his parents didn't have the resources to market themselves as TG correctly advocates. I agree with TG that if you get enough exposure with showcases that eventually someone will offer you a partial scholarship or preferred walk on position if you're at 85 with good control, but it isn't easy. There are a lot of guys throwing 85, so it's hard to separate yourself from the pack. Hit 90 on the other hand, and you can have a prison record and someone will give you a chance.
                Yep, especially where they play is geographically.

                Not trying to start a "better baseball in "X" part of the country" thing.....simply a matter of population density of the various areas and a numbers crunching thing.
                In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

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                • Originally posted by JJA View Post
                  That's been my experience as well. We had an all-city left hander who hit 88 on the gun and he had to go the JC route, namely because his parents didn't have the resources to market themselves as TG correctly advocates. I agree with TG that if you get enough exposure with showcases that eventually someone will offer you a partial scholarship or preferred walk on position if you're at 85 with good control, but it isn't easy. There are a lot of guys throwing 85, so it's hard to separate yourself from the pack. Hit 90 on the other hand, and you can have a prison record and someone will give you a chance.
                  Re: Exposure

                  A kid consistently to hitting 85 with command who goes to a major showcase and gets D1 prospects out will be pursued by mid majors. Most of what my son faced at showcases was 87-92. It's noticeable when a kid is throwing slower. It's also very noticeable when he's frustrating the hell out of major conference prospects.

                  My son's team would bring a few extra pitchers to East Cobb to prevent overuse. One year they brought an 82 mph lefty with one of the nastiest curves you've ever seen. The kid went three up, three down twice. The guys who whiffed fishing walked back the dugout talking to themselves. He got an Ivy offer. His primary exposure was through Head First and Select Fest. But his East Cobb success was a closer.

                  Comment


                  • Sparks a ton of this will fall on you. One thing we've experienced in Fla. is that the state is saturated with talent. So a college coach calls, pumps you up a little, gets you to apply find out how much academic aid you get, and then start from there. Nothing wrong with that, I'd do the same if I were them. You will have to market. I created a youtube page with some swings, some home runs, some doubles, singles, and some slo-mo swings. Recently posted up a few defensive clips. Then we started to target some schools he'd be interested in sending emails, etc.

                    In your case that is important, but really at the end of the day, his velocity will sell him. I went over and watched Ohio State play Army two years ago when the teams were all down in fla, and OSU had their scouting reports on the dugout (this was an open park, like a travel ball park with only chain link dugouts). Army, a D1 had one kid who could hit 90. I walked around, most of the schools were what I'd call mid-major in the sport of baseball (OSU is not mid-major but the big10 is arguably in baseball if that makes sense). I only saw a couple of kids breaking off 90. This is purely anecdotal. Each team likely has guys hitting 90 and I was just looking at a moment in time, but the point is there could be space available if he can cruise at 85. If he touches 85 on his best pitch but cruises 81-82, he can still play, just ramp down the expectations about what level. 85 might be too hard to go D1 it might not, it really depends who. Here in Fla. a JUCO coach said the basic stock RHP that goes to the JUCO camp (besides stars) is cruising at 82-84 and there are TONS of them. At that point he's got to look at off-speed, location etc, I mean how do you differentiate?

                    So to me if you are getting consistent readings at the speeds listed with many types of guns, he can pitch in college, it's just a matter of where.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by tg643 View Post
                      A kid consistently to hitting 85 with command who goes to a major showcase and gets D1 prospects out will be pursued by mid majors.
                      We could be having some miscommunication on this thread based on max speed vs cruising speed. College coaches are concerned with max speeds only.
                      Last edited by songtitle; 02-03-2013, 05:16 PM.
                      efastball.com - hitting and pitching fact checker

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                      • Originally posted by songtitle View Post
                        We could be having some miscommunication on this thread based on max speed vs cruising speed. College coaches are concerned with max speeds only.
                        I know what colleges coaches and pro scouts look for. But I asked the Phillies scout specifically how many mid major D1 pitchers are throwing consistently only in the mid 80's. He told me there are plenty with good command and a quality second pitch consistently at 85 with their fastball.
                        Last edited by tg643; 02-03-2013, 09:46 PM.

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                        • Season is about to begin....

                          My boy was told today he will be the opening day starting pitcher.

                          It's exciting and a little sad I guess.... now that he's a Jr. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I can honestly say nothing has brought me more joy than sharing this game of baseball with him.

                          They had a team banquet with a guest speaker the other night. The coach introduced each player and when my boy came up he said he would be the #1 pitcher on our team and starting catcher. He even said my boy has the ability to play after HS if he keeps his grades up.

                          College is such a big dream.. wow......I do fear his size will be a factor though. At 5' 10" 170lbs his college options may be limited...... but who knows.....it's ok to dream.

                          I'll be sure and update the thread as the season goes along.

                          Sparks

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Sparksdale View Post
                            It's exciting and a little sad I guess.... now that he's a Jr. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I can honestly say nothing has brought me more joy than sharing this game of baseball with him.
                            Sparks, its been great for us that you've shared this with us over the years.
                            "He who dares to teach, must never cease to learn."
                            - John Cotton Dana (1856–1929) - Offered to many by L. Olson - Iowa (Teacher)
                            Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting.

                            Comment


                            • Sparks,

                              Congrats on the notoriety you son is receiving for his HS baseball career, it a proud and rewarding for both player and parent.....but as a coach and parent, it always bothers me when I read something like this....
                              Originally posted by Sparksdale View Post
                              .....he said he would be the #1 pitcher on our team and starting catcher.
                              I don't want to rain on your parade, or sound like that "black cloud", but I saw this first hand with a jr. at our HS years ago, who already had a scholarship to a Big West Conference D1 school, who also was the "#1 pitcher on our team and starting catcher", who never finished that jr. season, had surgery on his arm, and was never the same after that.

                              He did go on to play for that D1, even pitched in relief in the CWS at Rosenblatt, but was plagued with arm problems all four years. Was drafted in the 34th round, but only pitched two innings of Rookie ball, and then according to an article, "He gave up two runs in two innings in those games. However, at that time, he decided he was done. Arm problems haunted him, and he requested his release."

                              Seemed like such a shame, when there were other kids who were able to step in and catch when he was out for the season....why didn't they just start them there, and possibly have saved a kid's arm for the long haul?

                              Again, not to be the black cloud, or to sound like I'm trying to pooh-pooh your son's excellent accomplishments, those are still outstanding, but I feel it a bit of an obligation to say something, when I read something like that, and have witnessed an almost identical, unfortunate situation.


                              Best wishes of an excellent and healthy season for your son,
                              mud -
                              In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

                              Comment


                              • 1) Congratulations to your son for his development over the years.
                                2) Pitching and catching would scare me to death. Is the coach also a football coach?
                                3) if a kid is good enough size doesn't matter.
                                4) There are more college baseball opportunities than the major conference games you see on tv. The Idea is to find a quality education and baseball experience regardless of the level.
                                5) if money and grades have been an issue check out JuCo programs for the first two years.
                                6) Do not wait for him to be discovered by colleges. Be proactive.
                                7) Has he taken the SATs? If not, it's time to get in the first try before summer ball.

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