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  • 12U Travel Ball--where are they now?

    After reading several of the threads on travel ball vs little league, I went back and reread this article from 2006.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/04/sp...pagewanted=all

    I remember reading it then, and saying to myself that it's (1) ridiculous how serious these kids are at a young age, and (2) none of these kids are going to make it.

    As an update, the four youth players featured in the article were: Jarrod Petree, Zac Ryan, Bryce Harper and Jesse Winker.

    Jarrod Petree:
    http://www.perfectgame.org/Players/P...aspx?ID=210881

    Zac Ryan:
    http://www.perfectgame.org/Players/P...aspx?ID=277088
    http://www.prepbaseballreport.com/ne...son-3024195876

    Bryce Harper: We know.

    Jesse Winker:
    http://www.perfectgame.org/Players/P...aspx?ID=183114
    http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/spo...million-bonus/


    In 2006, my gut instinct was that each of the kids would likely burn out and this was just crazy (I remember sharing the article with people and shaking my head). While I still think it's crazy (can't ride a bike?? can't jump on a trampoline?? what happened to being a kid? Plus some of the parent antics makes me ill, and has to have some long term effects on the kid that will show up somewhere), on the other hand, perhaps there's something to playing a bunch of games at a high level, practicing hard and being focused while you're young. Obviously, I know there are a LOT of exceptions (and I know everyone can point to the town "stud" and show how he crashed and burned), but to go 4-4 in a random article from 6 years ago (as far as all 4 playing either pro or D1 college baseball...with 2 of them already millionaires) is pretty hard to totally discount.
    Last edited by mcloven; 07-17-2012, 06:57 AM.

  • #2
    So what's Brad Nichols (the coach's boy in the article) doing these days?

    Ben Nichols, started the Express four years ago, primarily so that his son, Brad, an exceptional second baseman who was then 8, could have some exceptional teammates.

    Comment


    • #3
      Looks like he's playing baseball at Newberry College: http://www.perfectgame.org/Players/P...aspx?ID=276880

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by mcloven View Post
        After reading several of the threads on travel ball vs little league, I went back and reread this article from 2006.
        http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/04/sp...pagewanted=all

        I remember reading it then, and saying to myself that it's (1) ridiculous how serious these kids are at a young age, and (2) none of these kids are going to make it.

        As an update, the four youth players featured in the article were: Jarrod Petree, Zac Ryan, Bryce Harper and Jesse Winker.

        Jarrod Petree:
        http://www.perfectgame.org/Players/P...aspx?ID=210881

        Zac Ryan:
        http://www.perfectgame.org/Players/P...aspx?ID=277088
        http://www.prepbaseballreport.com/ne...son-3024195876

        Bryce Harper: We know.

        Jesse Winker:
        http://www.perfectgame.org/Players/P...aspx?ID=183114
        http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/spo...million-bonus/


        In 2006, my gut instinct was that each of the kids would likely burn out and this was just crazy (I remember sharing the article with people and shaking my head). While I still think it's crazy (can't ride a bike?? can't jump on a trampoline?? what happened to being a kid? Plus some of the parent antics makes me ill, and has to have some long term effects on the kid that will show up somewhere), on the other hand, perhaps there's something to playing a bunch of games at a high level, practicing hard and being focused while you're young. Obviously, I know there are a LOT of exceptions (and I know everyone can point to the town "stud" and show how he crashed and burned), but to go 4-4 in a random article from 6 years ago (as far as all 4 playing either pro or D1 college baseball...with 2 of them already millionaires) is pretty hard to totally discount.
        I think a STRONG case could be made to not go excessive with youth sports, particularly 12U ... and I would consider the LLWS and LL post-season in that as well.

        We're entering Sectionals for the 9/10 LL AS team, and we're likely going to end up driving more hours in LLAS than we did for TB. I'm not complaining. We're playing good ball and we endured all year of LL to finally get some really good LL games. The games at this point are as good, if not better, than many of the TB games we played. The BIG difference is in LL AS teams are constructed to "hit runners in" rather than just "get on 1B any way possible and run around the bases".

        I also recall the 30 for 30 documentary on the '82 Washington team that beat Taiwan. Their coaches quit their jobs. They practiced 3 hours every day, something like 6 hours on Saturday and they pitched the crap out of their 12 yo beast Corey Webster. After this, other "all star" teams followed their lead and have been documented as practicing year round (Toms River, NJ) and so on. The story of Webster is incredibly sad as the following year, the adults/parents heckled him like crazy about his weight (flat out mean to the kid) and beating him could make your season (and oh did the teams gloat when they did). That's what I don't romanticize LL ... this is the LL I grew up in ... the one where only the winners got trophies and it was a big deal. We didn't all hold hands, sway, and hum together.

        Webster had the quote of the day "Turns out I was just really good at age 12, and not so good at 18."

        The #1 rule of youth sports is "He who hits puberty first .... wins." That has to be the #1 reason why superstud at 12 isn't always superstud at 18.

        It's not totally about TB or LL, I'm sure we could look at the best players in the LLWS and find quite a few that are not good at college level and/or did not make the pros.

        I have no idea if the best gymasts at 8 continue to be the best gymnasts at 13, or whether the most talented violinists at 6 are the most talented at 12 ... but my guess is that the gap narrows each year, because the dominant kid at an early age is likely the one with size and/or has been training far more than everyone else (either due to interest or dad interest).
        Last edited by CircleChange11; 07-17-2012, 08:53 AM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by CircleChange11 View Post
          I think a STRONG case could be made to not go excessive with youth sports, particularly 12U ... and I would consider the LLWS and LL post-season in that as well.

          We're entering Sectionals for the 9/10 LL AS team, and we're likely going to end up driving more hours in LLAS than we did for TB. I'm not complaining. We're playing good ball and we endured all year of LL to finally get some really good LL games. The games at this point are as good, if not better, than many of the TB games we played. The BIG difference is in LL AS teams are constructed to "hit runners in" rather than just "get on 1B any way possible and run around the bases".

          I also recall the 30 for 30 documentary on the '82 Washington team that beat Taiwan. Their coaches quit their jobs. They practiced 3 hours every day, something like 6 hours on Saturday and they pitched the crap out of their 12 yo beast Corey Webster. After this, other "all star" teams followed their lead and have been documented as practicing year round (Toms River, NJ) and so on. The story of Webster is incredibly sad as the following year, the adults/parents heckled him like crazy about his weight (flat out mean to the kid) and beating him could make your season (and oh did the teams gloat when they did). That's what I don't romanticize LL ... this is the LL I grew up in ... the one where only the winners got trophies and it was a big deal. We didn't all hold hands, sway, and hum together.

          Webster had the quote of the day "Turns out I was just really good at age 12, and not so good at 18."

          The #1 rule of youth sports is "He who hits puberty first .... wins." That has to be the #1 reason why superstud at 12 isn't always superstud at 18.

          It's not totally about TB or LL, I'm sure we could look at the best players in the LLWS and find quite a few that are not good at college level and/or did not make the pros.

          I have no idea if the best gymasts at 8 continue to be the best gymnasts at 13, or whether the most talented violinists at 6 are the most talented at 12 ... but my guess is that the gap narrows each year, because the dominant kid at an early age is likely the one with size and/or has been training far more than everyone else (either due to interest or dad interest).
          That's actually rule #2 or 1a or something. Rule #1 is that he who is able to compete without hitting puberty first, then gets there big physiological changes second wins.
          There are two kinds of losers.....Those that don't do what they are told, and those that do only what they are told.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by shake-n-bake View Post
            That's actually rule #2 or 1a or something. Rule #1 is that he who is able to compete without hitting puberty first, then gets there big physiological changes second wins.
            I hope you aren't making that up. If that's true, my kid has won the lottery.

            Comment


            • #7
              I think at times we think the best kid in the league is a stud. When in reality he is just better than the other league kids. As the pool of kids gets larger, city, county, state, your stud LL'er may only be a well practiced decent athelete.

              I am still convinced that 95% of professional athletes have been the best athletes since there youth. The 12yr old that makes it to the bigs doesn't only need to be the best kid in your league he needs to be a top kid in your city, county, or state!

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by real green View Post
                I am still convinced that 95% of professional athletes have been the best athletes since there youth. The 12yr old that makes it to the bigs doesn't only need to be the best kid in your league he needs to be a top kid in your city, county, or state!
                I don't think this works for pitchers. Many get to low 80s. But, the top pitchers just keep getting faster as they reach 15-18. I don't know if there is a way to predict who these kids will be.
                efastball.com - hitting and pitching fact checker

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by real green View Post
                  I think at times we think the best kid in the league is a stud. When in reality he is just better than the other league kids. As the pool of kids gets larger, city, county, state, your stud LL'er may only be a well practiced decent athelete.

                  I am still convinced that 95% of professional athletes have been the best athletes since there youth. The 12yr old that makes it to the bigs doesn't only need to be the best kid in your league he needs to be a top kid in your city, county, or state!
                  I agree with that. there are certainly early peakers who burn out but most of those LL studs just dominated mediocre competition. I would asume that most MLB players were studs and many of them were early blooming huge kids (see harper).

                  there is the occasional late grower who makes it but most really huge guys have been big by age 14.
                  I now have my own non commercial blog about training for batspeed and power using my training experience in baseball and track and field.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by real green View Post
                    I think at times we think the best kid in the league is a stud. When in reality he is just better than the other league kids. As the pool of kids gets larger, city, county, state, your stud LL'er may only be a well practiced decent athelete.

                    I am still convinced that 95% of professional athletes have been the best athletes since there youth. The 12yr old that makes it to the bigs doesn't only need to be the best kid in your league he needs to be a top kid in your city, county, or state!
                    I'm talking about the BEAST at the LLWS and USSSA nationals ... so we are talking about the best kid on the best team in the nation (or the best kids on the best teams, etc). If I'm not mistaken Lloyd McLendon hit 4 HRs in one LLWS game way back when.

                    Many times, the player that makes it to MLB is not only the best baseball player his HS has ever seen ... but the best athlete. Period (The guy that lettered in 3 sports for all 4 years, or at least 3 years).

                    That's what I tell my son when says that "So-n-So sucks" and he's referring to So-n-So that is a MLB starting player. That guy is likely the best athlete (not just baseball player) in his region while he was in prep sports.

                    I was fortunate to witness this kid when I played against Cliff Floyd in Legion, Juan Acevedo in JuCo, and a McD's AA basketball in my high school. They, literally, don't belong on the field with the rest of us. Men amongst boys.

                    Now, what we're interested in is whether they were THAT dominant in youth sports, and if not, when did they really become the monster that they were as near-pros?

                    I'd be interesting in how many pro baseball players "played up". In other words, when they were 10, were they playing with the 11 and 12yo ... or did they stay with their age group?

                    The late bloomer would need to be really damn good to get attention. Many of the "early growers" have their names in the mouths of college/pro scouts for quite a few years before they are even draft eligible.

                    I will say this, there's a reason why scouts like to "meet dad".

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Sometimes the future MLBers are stars at young ages, other times not. I know one of the guys who coached Milton Bradley in little league up to about 14 and the coach said he was really nothing special at that age. He had good speed and a good arm, but he really didn't stand out until later in high school. The coach said there was nothing that indicated to him that Bradley would become a future all-star in baseball.
                      The outcome of our children is infinitely more important than the outcome of any game they will ever play

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        So Much for Trends

                        I was fortunate enough to play with several future MLB Players on my Central FL High School Team. One did not become dominant until the middle of his high school years (pitcher)...the other was a dominant athlete through both middle and high school (pitcher)...and the HOF Candidate was the best athlete in our district; even as a freshman (OF). So much for trends...

                        We all played legion ball in the summer; but the TB/Select programs were really in the beginning stages.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          apx 16,000,000 males between the ages 18-24

                          Lets estimate that 1000 players age between 18-24 play in at least one MLB game per season.

                          1000/16000000=.000063 or .0063%

                          .0063% X (Y) = 1

                          1/.0063% = 15,873

                          1 out of 15,873 = males aged between 18-24 play in the MLB

                          About 50% of youth play sports

                          .5 x 15,873 = 7936

                          Take the top 10% of youth athletes.

                          .10 x 7936 = 793

                          So if you combined the top 800 athletes in your area, the top prospect will be the best of 790 of the top athletes.

                          or

                          The best of 7900 average athletes in the area.

                          So basically combine every LL in your area to compose 7900 kids. If your kid is the best amoungst those kids he has a legit shot.

                          Combine every TB aaa/major team to combine 790 players and if your kid is at the top he has a legit shot.

                          My kid for instance, seems to fall in the top 10-15% so he has some growing to become legit. Out of the 70ish 10's in our league he is around 4-5 pick. Out of the Top 100 in our AREA he is picked around 15. He doesn't hurt a 10aaa/major team but doesn't stand out at that level. He would be over matched against the top 11's. Hangs well with 11 aa's.

                          The number 1 and 2 10's could hang out with the competitive 11majors. I have never seen a 10 that would even be close to top 12's. Way to much change in that time period.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by real green View Post
                            apx 16,000,000 males between the ages 18-24

                            Lets estimate that 1000 players age between 18-24 play in at least one MLB game per season.

                            1000/16000000=.000063 or .0063%

                            .0063% X (Y) = 1

                            1/.0063% = 15,873

                            1 out of 15,873 = males aged between 18-24 play in the MLB

                            About 50% of youth play sports

                            .5 x 15,873 = 7936

                            Take the top 10% of youth athletes.

                            .10 x 7936 = 793

                            So if you combined the top 800 athletes in your area, the top prospect will be the best of 790 of the top athletes.

                            or

                            The best of 7900 average athletes in the area.

                            So basically combine every LL in your area to compose 7900 kids. If your kid is the best amoungst those kids he has a legit shot.

                            Combine every TB aaa/major team to combine 790 players and if your kid is at the top he has a legit shot.

                            My kid for instance, seems to fall in the top 10-15% so he has some growing to become legit. Out of the 70ish 10's in our league he is around 4-5 pick. Out of the Top 100 in our AREA he is picked around 15. He doesn't hurt a 10aaa/major team but doesn't stand out at that level. He would be over matched against the top 11's. Hangs well with 11 aa's.

                            The number 1 and 2 10's could hang out with the competitive 11majors. I have never seen a 10 that would even be close to top 12's. Way to much change in that time period.
                            This got me thinking....

                            I coached 40 seasons X 15 players = 600 kids.
                            If they play on average 2 years/seasons for me that's 300 kids.
                            If we played 8 teams per season X 15 players = 120 more players per season X 40 seasons = 4,800 players (Maybe I saw half for two years/season) so that's = 2,400 different players.
                            Probably watched/scouted/ attended games for another 100 plus teams X 15 players = 1,500 players

                            So maybe safe to say I've seen more than 4,000 different youth (and HS and Legion) players.....

                            Maybe 100 made it to college (I've had approx. 18)
                            A number played professionally (Minors, indy, etc.)
                            Only one made it to the majors.
                            "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


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by real green View Post
                              apx 16,000,000 males between the ages 18-24
                              Lets estimate that 1000 players age between 18-24 play in at least one MLB game per season.
                              1000/16000000=.000063 or .0063%
                              .0063% X (Y) = 1
                              1/.0063% = 15,873
                              1 out of 15,873 = males aged between 18-24 play in the MLB
                              About 50% of youth play sports
                              .5 x 15,873 = 7936....................
                              We went through this a few years back and when we did the research I believe we found there to be approximately 600,000 HS basbeball players...

                              Doing a sanity check we have approximately 200 HS teams in CT (including private HS's) X 40 players (adjusting for JV teams, etc) = 8,000 HS players in CT
                              3.5 M people in CT = 1 player in 430 people X 300M = 130,000 players... I would think other states have many more players per capita than we do.. so the number seems to make sense...
                              "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

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