Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Giving It The Old College Try
The draft is over and it is clear that the trend is moving towards drafting more college players than ever before. Unless the players were phenomenal and freakishly gifted like Beckam and Hosmer, MLB made a statement to go with the older, more mature player.
To us, it makes a lot of sense. From a maturity standpoint alone, it is practical to draft a player that is physically, mentally and developmentally mature. College is still getting 18-21 year old players just like the minor league clubs that take on high schoolers, but there is a huge difference in the way they are developed and mentored.
18-21 year old young men all are exposed to some sort of social vice in his journey to manhood. In college, that exposure is under a more controlled environment and a much smaller universe. Student athletes have to answer to coaches, strength and conditioning trainers, professors, counselors and their schools strict policy of mandatory study halls and time spent with tutors. Yes, they are exposed to wild college parties and keggers every once in a while, but they also have to get up and go to school early the next day in order to be done with their daily school labs and lectures before practices start in the early afternoon. It's a planned, disciplined routine that will pay dividends later on in their lives.
High school kids don't always have the luxury of a meticulously planned schedules...or the advantage of built in mentors and trainers pushing them on a daily basis. They just have baseball and their mentors are the young men a few years their senior who were mentored by ex-players a few years their senior. It's a tougher life for a lot of high school kids that just can't adjust to the social vices, because they don't have the controlled environment surrounding them and keeping them as busy. Attrition with this age group is high and is partially why baseball has an astounding 50 rounds. That said, there are still plenty of high school aged kids that have had huge success...Derek Jeter and Ken Griffey Jr. comes to mind...of course, they were first rounders and they are treated a bit differently than the guy that goes in the 19th round.
Risk assessment is a new buzz word in the bigs and many GM's are looking towards maturity to fill roster spots and lessen the attrition rates that many of their minor league clubs have. So, if many of you are on the fence about whether or not you should pick college or the pros, ask yourself which program will make you a better, stronger, smarter and more well rounded athlete in three years. Our bet is that your college will be more beneficial to your future in baseball and we suggest that you all also give it the good ol' college try.