The Baseball Factory has been churning out college and professional prospects since 1994. After offering high school players an unbiased, realistic evaluation of their ability as assessed by professional scouts, the Factory helps each athlete develop his skills and provides exposure to college coaches and scouts.
Director of Scouting Andy Ferguson supervises all scouts and the evaluation process. He provides information that can help you become the best recruit possible. Learn how to bridge the gap between you and college baseball coaches.
Ferguson says that good academic standing should be a high school baseball player’s primary focus. Maximizing your GPA and preparing for the SAT or ACT are key. “Since college baseball is a non-revenue sport, scholarship dollars are limited,” Ferguson says. “However, a college coach can use a player’s academic success as leverage to qualify him for an academic scholarship—another way to get him on the team.”
Unlike football, baseball coaches do not recruit for every position each year. “A school might not recruit a shortstop every year,” Ferguson says. “Consequently, you want to look for schools that need a player for your position.”
Players are evaluated on five tools—ability to run, throw, field, hit and hit for power; however, the value of each tool depends on your position. Good hitters and generally good athletes (often revealed in a player’s ability to run) are highly recruited. “Many coaches recruit hitters regardless of position,” Ferguson says.
The position you play determines which tools a coach or scout uses to evaluate you. Ferguson breaks positions into two categories: premium and corner. Premium positions include catcher, shortstop and centerfielder. Corner positions include first and third base, and left and right field. He says, “Players need to realize that coaches often recruit offensive ability at the corner positions and defensive and athletic ability at the premium positions.”
Pitchers are always needed, so they are recruited every year. Ferguson says, “Coaches first look at a pitcher’s arm strength, which is indicated by fastball velocity, then at his secondary pitches and how well he can use them.” According to Ferguson, a pitcher should have at least one quality secondary pitch. Having three great pitches you can use in game situations is even more impressive.
“The most basic step you can take to get noticed is emailing college coaches to let them know you are interested in their programs. Their natural response will be to learn more about you,” Ferguson says. “Coaches will send you a questionnaire, get your references and find out where they might be able to see you play.”
The lack of revenue in baseball limits the amount college coaches can spend on recruiting trips. So, if they can’t come to you, go to them. Attend an event or enroll in a program that professionally records your participation in a designed baseball workout. The Baseball Factory loads your video and pertinent information on a personal website through which you can communicate with coaches.
Ferguson warns high school players against limiting college choices to large, D-I schools. He says, “A lot of young guys zero in on Division I teams, because that is who they see on television. There are not many D-I spots for players though. Divisions II and III, NAIA and junior colleges have a lot of good baseball. Sometimes these schools are better choices.”
Consider colleges as more than a place to play baseball. “If you were to have baseball taken away from you, where would you want to be?” Ferguson asks. “Evaluate schools with the idea that you are going to be a student-athlete. Find a course of study that is of interest to you so you can be happy there if baseball is no longer an option.”