Showcases and Tournaments

Top Baseball Showcases and Tournaments For College Recruiting

Perfect Game Schedule – Click here

Having been to a large number of summer/fall showcases and tournaments, I can tell you the wasted feeling of having your son play in front of nobody.  We’ve been to tournaments where you feel there isn’t a scout within a hundred miles.  Now partly that’s on the showcase organization.  They have the opportunity to pick the tournaments well in advance and they know which ones are going to attract the most colleges.

But you want to be able to walk around and simply bump into a half-dozen college coaches on your way to the restroom!  Call it the “restroom test” or whatever you want to call it.  It’s a feeling that there are a ton of scouts watching and thank goodness my son has the opportunity to play in front of these guys, whatever the result.

So without further delay, here are my top five tournaments for college recruiting followed by my top five showcases for college recruiting.  Note, these were selected with college recruiting as the top priority versus pro-scouts, and without any hard college attendance numbers (I’m always skeptical of these numbers anyway).  It’s the “restroom test” based on our actual experiences from what we’ve seen with our own two eyes or heard from other reliable parents.

Top 5 Tournaments For College Recruiting

  1. PerfectGame – 16U WWBA National Championship (Cartersville, GA – early July)
  2. PerfectGame – 16U BCS National Championship (Ft. Myers, FL – mid July)
  3. ProspectWire – 16U Music City Classic (Nashville, TN – late July)
  4. USA Baseball – 17U National Team Championships (Goodyear, AZ – mid June)
  5. PerfectGame – WWBA Underclass World Championship (Ft. Myers, FL – Oct)

Honorable Mention:  ProspectWire – World Series (Pt. St. Lucie – late July), Prospect Select – Black Bear Classic (Greenville, SC – late June), Prospect Select – Boston Open (Boston – mid July)

Note:  The PerfectGame WWBA World Championship held in October in Jupiter, Florida, is a phenomenal tournament, but from what I saw, it was mainly for pro scouts.  Many of the players were already committed to colleges years prior.

Top 5 Showcases for College Recruiting

  1. PerfectGame – Junior National Showcase (Ft. Myers, FL – early June)
  2. PerfectGame – Fall Top Prospect National Showcase (Cartersville, GA – late Oct)
  3. PerfectGame – National Academic Showcase (Cartersville, GA – mid July)
  4. ProspectSelect – Black Bear Select (Clemson Univ, SC – late June)
  5. ProspectSelect – TOPPS Palm Beach (Palm Beach, FL – early June)

Honorable Mention:  Many large showcase travel team organizations have their own showcases in November or early January.   These showcases can attract large numbers of college coaches.  I’ve been at one where there were close to 80 colleges.  These are fantastic showcases to attend in lieu or in addition to the above.

Note: The PerfectGame National Showcase is “the” primetime national showcase.  However, mostly all the players who attend have already committed to college and this is mainly a pro-scout showcase.

Behind the Curtain

But the caveat is that your showcase travel team better play at the right venues when they get to the heavily attended tournaments.  What do I mean by that?  Well, these tournaments are huge.  200+ teams in just one age group.  Yes, that’s right.  Some have over 300 teams.  Imagine what the scheduling is like.  A nightmare.  They take every minor league complex and high school field within a 50-mile radius.

Thankfully there’s usually a hub centered around a minor league complex with eight+ fields or if you’re PerfectGame, you build a state-of-the-art complex in north Atlanta with a dozen+ fields.  The scouts, as you might imagine for efficiency reasons, congregate around these “hubs”.  It’s easier for them to see more players rather than driving 30-minutes away to some remote high school where they might just see one, maybe two, players.  Sure, the scouts will go to the remote high school but if you’re constantly playing at these remote high school fields, then your coaches better be texting or hitting the phones non-stop to get the colleges to show up.  It’s tough.  Yes, your son can send emails or texts to coaches with his tournament schedule if he knows they’re at the tournament.  But normally that’s hit or miss.

If your son plays for a larger showcase travel organization who brings 5+ teams in the same age group, then the likelihood of the best “prime” team getting to play at more “hubs” is greater than the organization who brings just two teams.  Just saying.  I have no hard evidence that this indeed happens regularly, but I’ve seen the scheduling and that’s just how it feels.

Also, with regards to showcases, be very cautious.  Some are very expensive and at the end of the day, they won’t give your son the exposure.  Some require tryouts and further progression in order to get to their national showcase.  You can spin your wheels going from tryout to tryout with little to no exposure and then be left out of their “All-American” game or national showcase in the end. Read more


Travel Baseball: The Ultimate Guide for Parents and Players

For many families, the transition from Little League to travel baseball comes with stress, anxiety and questions about what to look for in a team and what to expect from the experience — not to mention the question of whether making the switch from a more laid-back rec ball program to a more competitive (and expensive) travel club is the right decision in the first place.

What is Travel Baseball?  First, it’s important to understand what a travel baseball team is and how travel baseball is organized. There are tens of thousands of travel baseball teams around the country, and their popularity has exploded over the past two decades. As recently as the 1990s, travel baseball was a niche experience limited mostly to elite players in baseball-rich areas like Texas and California. Today, participation is seen by many as a near necessity for talented players to develop their skills and hone their game against the best competition they can find.

Whereas Little League is the dominant organization when it comes to recreational youth baseball, there are multiple organizations throughout the country that host hundreds of travel tournaments each year. Some of the biggest and most popular are USSSA (United States Speciality Sports Association), AAU (Amateur Athletic Union), Triple Crown Sports, and Perfect Game. Travel baseball teams often participate in tournaments organized by more than one of those organizations.

A team can be started by anyone. Many are formed by parents, but many others are formed by high school and former college coaches. Depending on their organizational goals, some programs have just one team that participates in one age bracket (such as 10 and under), while some are run like businesses and have teams that compete in every age group.

Here are eight things to think about when evaluating teams. These factors will make a big difference when it comes to your overall experience, so take the time to think about them, and don’t be afraid to ask questions of parents and coaches.

  1. Coaching: A coaching staff can make or break a team. How coaches manage players, keep the game fun, instill the fundamentals, and focus on development — not only as athletes, but as young men and women — is extremely important.  Some travel baseball teams have parents or grandparents serving as the head coach. While that can be fine, it’s important to make sure those coaches don’t make keeping their own child on the field a priority. Before committing to a team, spend some time researching it by watching a practice and talking to current and/or former players and parents.
  2. Cost: For many parents, this is the most terrifying aspect of travel baseball.  Just how much of a toll is this going to take on your bank account? The specific answer varies, but the typical range of cost for participating in travel baseball is between $500 and $2,500 per year. There are a number of specific factors that go into how much it costs to be on a team: * Where you live. * Whether you have to buy your own equipment. * Whether you have to rent facilities. * Whether or not coaches are paid. * How competitive the team is.
  3. Location: As stated earlier, location is a key factor in deciding which travel team to play for. If you’re fortunate enough to live in California, Florida or Texas, you’re going to have a lot of opportunities to play with and against high-level competition right in your backyard. But outside of those states, it’s a little bit tougher, and you have to decide how committed you are to playing at the highest possible level. So you’ll be faced with the following choice: play on a lower level team that’s closer to home, or drive a hundred miles or more for twice-weekly practices? It may sound crazy, but many families do just that. Why would they commit so much time and money to their son or daughter’s athletic pursuits? It comes down to goals. Better teams often provide better coaching and more opportunities for exposure to college and professional scouts.
  4. Mission: What’s the team’s mission? Is the focus on fun, player development, college exposure, or a mix of all there? Teams can have many different goals and missions, and there’s no right or wrong approach.  However, it is possible that a team’s mission does not align with your values and goals, and you need to think about this before committing, as a compatibility mismatch can lead to coach-parent and coach-player tension.
  5. Organization: Consider the reputation of the organization you’re evaluating. When you join a team, you and your son or daughter will essentially be endorsing everything the program stands for. If they’re known for dirty play or being disrespectful to the game, you’ll be associated with that. And believe it or not, the baseball world is a small and surprisingly tight-knit community. College coaches tend to know which programs produce bad apples — and they avoid them. In fact, many college coaches will completely write off an entire organization that has a reputation for not playing the game the right way or for having disrespectful players.
  6. Playing Time: There’s an important balance between getting enough playing time and being challenged. Before committing, ask the coaching staff what kind of playing time your child can expect — including at what position. If there are two returning shortstops, he or she most likely won’t be playing there and might have to learn another position. That’s not a bad thing: college coaches want players that are versatile, and many players change positions as they get older and their bodies develop.
  7. Skill Level: Be realistic about your child’s skill level, and pay attention to the level of competition around him or her at tryouts (i.e., the skill levels of the other players). If your kid has the fight and desire to compete for a spot (like they’ll have to do if they make it to college ball), then putting them on a team where they’ll be challenged is the best option. But if he or she is there to have fun and make friends, with no burning desire to be constantly improving, then choosing a travel team that’s more low-key will be the better call.
  8. What You’re Giving Up: Travel baseball tournaments are on weekends, and players often have to sacrifice certain things that are part of a normal childhood. Is your son or daughter willing to miss out on things like birthdays, sleepovers and school dances, because most of their time is spent doing homework, traveling to and from games and practices, practicing on their own (possibly including private lessons), and spending nearly every summer weekend at the ballpark?

For some, their love of the game is so great that giving up these things is a no-brainer. For others, they may regret missing out on these social activities. And that’s perfectly fine! Just be honest with each other and talk about the true costs of travel baseball — because it’s not just the sticker price.

Travel Baseball Pros and Cons

There are positives and negatives when it comes to travel baseball. Here are a few of each.

Pros:
Better competition: Players are more serious about the game and more driven to improve. This higher level of competition will help push your son or daughter to improve their own skills.
Better coaching: Travel baseball coaches tend to be better qualified, more knowledgeable, and better-connected. At the highest levels of travel ball, teams often employ former professional coaches.
More exposure: Aside from high school baseball, travel ball is the primary means of exposure to college coaches and pro scouts. Plus, travel teams often attend showcase tournaments and camps.
More games played: Travel teams play significantly more games per year than rec ball teams.
Facilitates travel: Sometimes seen as an ancillary benefit, the travel itself can be a valuable and eye-opening experience for players. Many kids don’t have an opportunity to travel out of their own area or state, and travel baseball can provide that.
Encourages character development: Because travel teams are more serious, there’s a greater emphasis put on things like being on time, demonstrating maximum effort, and having a good attitude.

Cons
Cost: Travel baseball is expensive — sometimes absurdly so. Families often spend around $2,500 per year, but the costs can be even higher.
Time commitment: Even a moderately competitive travel team can consume an entire summer’s worth of weekends.
Ultra-competitive: On most travel teams, there’s a balance between player development and winning. What you won’t often find is an “everybody plays” approach. For the most part, the best players will play the most, which makes for a highly-competitive environment.
Tougher workouts: This can be a pro or a con, depending on the player’s perspective and goals. Tougher workouts can lead to better outcomes, but they can also be mentally and physically taxing if the player isn’t fully invested.
Lack of diversity: Because travel baseball is expensive, it has often been criticized for a lack of socioeconomic and racial diversity.

Remember, this is your child’s choice to. Help them see the pros and cons of each option. And although we stated it earlier, we cannot stress this enough: you cannot dictate your son or daughter’s commitment to the game of baseball. It’s up to them. So, support them in whatever capacity they want to participate. If you do, they’ll never regret or forget the amazing experiences, friends, and lessons learned playing this great game. Read more

Tippy Martinez, retired MLB pitcher showed up after the Championship game for a “photo op”.  He was a major weapon in the 1983 Baltimore Orioles World Series Championship over the Phillies. Read more
Notice the diversity of kids.  This was another banner year because Emmanuel who batted in the 4-hole struggled all season.  However, he came alive when it counted.  He hit 2 bombs completely out of the ballpark (over 300 feet as an 11  year old).  They are still the longest balls ever hit on Memorial Field.

Travel TRYOUTS

The Panthers are looking for rising stars to join our 14U travel baseball team this coming season. Players must NOT turn 15 before May 1, 2021.

Saturday, September 5, 2020
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM 
Fullerton Park
4400 Fullerton Avenue, 21236

Those interested in a private/Covid-safe tryout need to register online and send an email to humanvacuum5@gmail.com.

About Our Program: 
FUNDAMENTALS! As Head Coach, I could not say enough about the mistakes many, many young players, parents and coaches make when it comes to teaching kids the basic ingredients of baseball.  “Repetition is the MOTHER of SKILL”.  Cal Ripken says, “Practice does not make perfect.  Rather Perfect Practice does”.

It doesn’t matter if you are 8 years old or 18 years old, the key ingredient is: Development, Playing Time and being around a Competitive Environment.  My Top 3 Goals at every practice and every game is to have FUN, do your BEST and always behave in a way that exemplifies good SPORTSMANSHIP.

Coach Brooks played little league travel baseball since he could walk and won the 18U Maryland State Championship, was a former high school athlete with over 8 varsity letters and even played competitive baseball on some semi-pro teams.  He has been coaching for over 10 years and has experience coaching on several high schools in the Baltimore area.

Scott Massengill, Assistant Coach also has enormous sports background and great attitude about the game.  He has coached for over 5 years and loves seeing players develop!

Program Features:
We will compete in the M.A.B.A. as well as Regional Tournaments in the Fall, Spring and Summer.  Approximate cost will be $500 per player (subject to change depending on sponsorships and fundraising).  We have a variety of training opportunities offered throughout the off season and in season such as position specific development clinics, indoor facilities @ Extra Innings and NCAA college player instruction.

Visit us on our TEAM HOMEPAGE

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