High school baseball players go through a long season. Practice starts in the spring, games span spring and summer, and for serious athletes who want to stay competitive, winter workouts are required. Somewhere in there, you also have to think about NCAA baseball recruiting rules. You need to be on top of the college recruiting process starting in your freshman year of high school. It takes time to find the best fit both academically and athletically.
To get you started, here are some of the basics of the baseball recruiting process.
When touring Division I and II colleges, your visits are either "official" or "unofficial." You are only allowed five official visits, which can only occur after the first day of your senior year. For an official visit, the institution pays some or all of your travel expenses. If a coach offers you an official visit, it's a good sign that you're high on their recruiting list. For unofficial visits, you foot the bill. They are unlimited and can occur at any time.
Division III and NAIA coaches can contact recruits at any time. Division I and II coaches must wait until a recruit's junior year to make contact. Detailed recruiting calendars are on the NCAA's website.
Athletes may reach out to coaches at any time. Before your junior year, coaches will only be able to write back and thank you for your interest. But if you're interested in a school, reach out anyway. It demonstrates your seriousness and it may put you on the coach's radar.
For freshmen entering college in 2016, 2.0 is the minimum GPA to be eligible to play. But don't just shoot for the minimum. Requirements change in relation to test scores. An 820 SAT score requires a 2.5 GPA to play in D-I games and a 2.0 to practice and receive aid. Division II operates on a similar scale. Since Division III schools do not offer athletic scholarships, they may have their own (often higher) criteria for prospective student-athletes.
Put simply, it's always better to have a higher GPA and test scores. Meeting the minimum requirements should not be your goal. Exceeding them makes the recruiting process easier.