“There are three types of baseball players: Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen and those who wonder what happens.” –Tommy Lasorda
COVID-19 AFFECT MY FUTURE IN BASEBALL?
BY: FLORIDA PROSPECT BASEBALL…… 5/4/2020
It goes without saying that COVID-19 has affected a lot of our lives in a lot of different ways. But instead of getting philosophical, we want to answer a lot of questions that parents and players have in regards to how this will affect College and Professional Baseball at levels that matter to the amateur player.
First off, this will have a TREMENDOUS impact on 2020 and 2021 high school graduating classes, more so the 2021 class than any other in terms of college recruiting. Yes, 2022-2024s will also be affected, but college coaches and professional organizations will have a lot more time to plan for these groups so things will ‘normalize’ over time.
The information in this rundown and the answers to these questions is being typed by Ben Bizier, the head baseball coach at Florida SouthWestern State in Fort Myers, Florida. But the content as a whole is provided by coaches and scouts from all levels of amateur and professional baseball.
To understand it all is to understand that there is going to be a problem in college baseball for the next 4 years. The problem is: There are now two freshman classes. And the 2020 HS class will have more college players than previous classes due to the shortening of the MLB draft. The caliber of players not signing pro and now going to college will also greatly affect the 2020 group as a whole.
Let’s say the MLB draft is only 5 rounds as projected. On a regular year, MLB teams sign an average of 23 out of 40 draft picks. This means that about 690 amateur players go pro every year. So now if that number is reduced by 150 to 540 (5 rounds x 30 teams=150 pros), that is 540 high caliber players entering into or coming back to college baseball. Not ALL will be HS seniors, of course, some will be junior college players or four-year college juniors and seniors, but this figure also doesn’t include the non-pro seniors who will return for another year of college baseball. That will affect A LOT of 2020 HS grads that would have possibly played a little (or a lot) who will now potentially redshirt because of a lack of available playing time.
HERE ARE THE QUESTIONS WE HAVE BEEN ASKED THE MOST BY PLAYERS, PARENTS, COACHES, & EACH OTHER!
My son is a 2020 HS senior who is already committed and signed to play at a school, how will this affect him?
It depends on a lot of factors 1) are they a scholarship or a walk-on player? 2) are they going to a four-year school or a two-year school? 3) are they attending a school that typically has a lot of drafted players? 4) how many seniors or sophomores are returning? If you’re going to a school as a walk-on, no matter where life got a little tougher because Fall and Spring rosters are going to be increased across the board at every level, so there is now more competition with every club. If your school typically has a lot of players drafted, it just got extremely tough because now juniors and seniors are now more likely to come back AND HS kids who normally would sign professionally are now coming to school! If you are going to a 4 year with a lot of returning seniors, they are not returning to sit the bench! Same with two-year sophomores, ask your coaches these questions and ask them specifically about your position.
I am a 2020 HS senior and I do not have a school yet, what should I be doing to find a place to play?
Well, the first thing you should know is that there is a holding pattern right now because everyone wants to see how NCAA, NJCAA, and NAIA are going to ultimately determine how big the rosters will be and how they are going to treat transfers as well as where is the funding going to come from. So a result of this stall and the ‘economic’ stall so to speak means that it will be hard to get in front of coaches and have them see you for the type of player that you can potentially be for them. The best bet going forward is going to be 1) showcases that have a lot of schools and allow for prostyle workouts AND games 2) targeted college/university camps that allow for games and direct interaction with the entire coaching staff of that college/university 3) getting in contact with coaches, like actual contact, not just sending emails. In this regard, you will need references to do most of your leg work, and here is why: Our email boxes and voicemail boxes are overloaded! We take referrals much more seriously than we do an email with a video because our trusted referrals know what has worked with us in the past and what typically fits with our systems or at our level. 4) do not be overbearing. Ultimately, you will still need to show you can play at some point, and hopefully that ‘some point’ is this Summer. 5) keep yourself ‘ready’
I do not graduate until 2021, how much will this affect me and what should I do to get my name out there?
This affects you more than you know, committed, or uncommitted. The whole class in front of you just got reset, so your job just got harder because that money you thought you were getting, might not get anymore because there is freshman and sophomores and juniors now in the system for another year! So everyone’s scholarship budget is off, and it will affect you for certain. If you are without a school, basically here is what you’re facing: there are two groups in front of you in the same class, so the kids ‘one year older than you’ just doubled, and at least half of that group will probably have some significant form of college playing experience by the time you graduate. That may not affect a small majority of you who are top tier high school players, like as in the best 5%, but the rest of you are up against it because college coaches are going to be EXTREMELY picky now with 2021s. The main reasons for this are 1) we have to re-do our budget, not just for one year but for multiple years 2) we have two classes that are considered freshmen, so now this class could ultimately define the success of our program for up to four years. We have to make sure we give this class a good chance to help us achieve. 3) we will want to recruit late as opposed to early with 2021s because this class will serve in the intermediate to fill holes as opposed to develop
What happens if no one gets back on the field this Summer? What if I don’t have a school and the only thing I can do to remain active is to email and call coaches?
This obviously wouldn’t be ideal, but it is a possibility. If this becomes the case, your best bet is to have as many references as possible to reach out to as many coaches as possible. Be persistent.