Tuesday, April 27, 2010
The Pitch To Go To College
The past week or so, we have had a pitching theme of sorts...Well, I'd like to pitch an idea...The idea for high school players to opt for college instead of the pro's.
Now there are exceptions. Bryce Harper is making a mockery of JC ball as a 17 year old. He already has 21 Home Runs 3/4 of the way through the season. He is the LeBron James of baseball. If he goes to a 4 year college, he'll hurt somebody with those metal bats.
The rest of the mortal baseball playing public is better off physically and mentally maturing in college, whether it be a 4 year (preferable) or a JC. The end result will be much more beneficial. Here are my list of benefits...
Smarter and Closer to a Degree
That's the number one reason to go to college. The chances of having a lengthy career in the pro ranks are slim. Some do well, but a majority do not. If a player goes to a 4 year college, he is not eligible for the draft until after his junior year or until he is 21...whatever comes first. Three years of college is significant. If that players fails to make it and decides to call it quits, he has the satisfaction of knowing he only has one more year to get his degree and is closer to another career to have some success in.
One prominent scout told me that after high school, many kids are thrown into the adult world and have a tough time adjusting to a meaningful and productive schedule. Imagine being 18, just out of mom and dads home and thrust onto a team full of legal age adults that have no daytime responsibilities and whose free time consists of...well...enjoying the night life.
Yes, it happens in college too. However, student athletes have that 6:30am wake-up call for strength and conditioning...Why do you think coaches schedule at this time? Players then, have school after that, followed by a 4 hour practice and study hall til 9:00. Their schedule is chock full of responsibilities morning, noon and night. Three years of that ingrained into your routine, will result in an incredible work ethic and mature outlook for the game of baseball.
When it becomes mandatory to be at the athletes work-out facility, the result is a more finely tuned and better prepared athlete. I look at some of these college baseball players and they look so much more in shape than many professional players...especially when compared to Prince Fielder, Pablo Sandoval, Bengie Molina and the like. You would never see a collegiate athlete with a build like that...the trainers and coaches wouldn't allow it. That daily routine becomes second nature to these players. When they get shipped of to their summer collegiate leagues in the Cape, Northwoods or Alaska, the first thing they do is seek out the local gym.
More Reps at the Plate
The 56 game regular season schedule is just one part of the equation as a collegiate player. Summer collegiate leagues have anywhere from 45-72 games. The Northwoods has expanded this year and has 72 regular season games to play. Add the play-offs and players in that league could play more than 80 games. Combined with the college season, that's more reps and more games than the players would normally get on a pro team. And, if they were good enough to get drafted out of high school, chances are that they will play in college. There are no such guarantees for a high school kid going pro.
Year Round Mandatory Conditioning
In addition to all we said above, college baseball is a year round activity. Starting in the fall, the NCAA allows 45 days of official, coach led practices. The other days, players have "captain led practices" and can be seen at the cages everyday. The strength and conditioning is ramped up and a bit more intense during the fall practice season as well. In the minor league off-season, there are very little managed days of practices, conditioning programs or instruction...there is the Arizona, Mexican, Carribean or Venezuelan league, but that has to be negotiated with each player.
Scouts like College Players For All of The Above Reasons
Wouldn't you?...Unless of course, you are the next Bryce Harper.