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How to Get Recruited for College Baseball

IMG right handed pitcher

The college baseball recruiting process is just that: a process. There are no shortcuts. But the more knowledge student-athletes have about each step in the journey, the better they will be able to navigate its twists and turns and appreciate just how competitive it is to get recruited for college baseball. After all, more than 500,000 student-athletes play high school baseball, and less than two percent will go on to play college baseball at the Division 1 level.

Baseball scholarships are not as plentiful as they are in other sports. At the Division 1 level, there are only up to 11.7 scholarships for each school; at the Division 2 level, there is a maximum scholarships limit of only nine. But for those who have the grades, the athletic talent, the passion for the sport and a strong work ethic can get recruited for baseball. 

This step-by-step baseball recruiting guide highlights the benchmarks and milestones student-athletes need to reach throughout the recruiting process. Yes, it may be frustrating at times; things may not go according to plan. But NCSA’s information and insider tips will motivate student-athletes to be proactive in the process and take charge of their recruiting journey.

College baseball recruiting tips

Before going into detail on how to get recruited for baseball, here are some general college baseball recruiting tips that will help keep the process moving forward:

College baseball recruiting timeline

Freshman year

Tips to remember:

Sophomore year

Junior year

Tips to remember:

Senior year

Tips to remember:

When does recruiting start for baseball?

According to the 2018 NCSA coach’s survey, the majority of college programs begin to recruit athletes in sophomore and junior year. Division 1 is the only division that will actively recruit during the freshman year. Read about the NCAA’s Division 1 rule changes that impact early recruiting

How do baseball coaches recruit?

Our survey finds that coaches use various sources to find recruits. Division 1, Division 2 and junior college coaches primarily look to travel team relationships, while a majority of NAIA coaches mostly use baseball camps as a source for recruits. Division 1, Division 2, Division 3 and junior college coaches are most likely to actively evaluate athletes they’ve identified as potential recruits at showcase camps and travel tournaments. NAIA coaches are more likely to evaluate recruits during personal workouts with the student-athlete. Checkout the list of NCSA AAU baseball partners. What division level is right for me?

One of the most important initial steps athletes will take in the recruiting journey is a self-evaluation of their expectations and talent. The recruit’s family and current coach will be instrumental at this stage, as they can help the athlete better understand the best division levels to target. This step of the process is critical, as it will influence the schools the family researches. Here are key questions recruits need to ask themselves:

Research schools and create your target list

Researching schools is a critical first step in the recruiting process. As student-athletes compile their target list, here’s an easy way to organize schools:

As recruits progress through the process, this list will be an evolving recruitment tool. A school considered a favorite may be revealed to be not the best fit. A so-called “Cinderella school” may emerge as a strong candidate. Continue to update the list as the recruitment process unfolds.

Create an attention-getting skills video

“Attention-getting” does not mean special effects, flashy editing or dramatic music (this should be avoided). We are talking about a video that will get the athlete on a coach’s radar and on their list of recruits they want to pursue.

The skills video is an essential tool by which recruits introduce themselves to coaches, and in many cases, it’s the main way that coaches will evaluate a recruit’s athletic talent. Here’s some general skills video advice:

Read more about creating an impactful skills video.

Reach out to the schools on your target list

Visit our College Recruiting Guide for more information about how to contact college coaches.

Attend travel tournaments, college camps and showcases to get exposure to college coaches

These events are important to college coaches in identifying talent, especially at the Division 1 level. More than 90 percent of coaches at these elite programs cite travel team relationships as their primary source for their recruits, according to NCSA’s research. More than half of NAIA, Division 3 and junior college coaches we surveyed indicated that they find recruits at camps and tournament showcases.

Manage the baseball recruiting process

What does it mean to manage the baseball recruiting process? It means being proactive and remaining diligent in moving the process forward. Recruits should answer any communications from a coach in a timely manner. Until an offer is received, recruits need to take all the appropriate steps to make sure they remain on a coach’s radar. Below is a helpful timeline to help recruits ensure that they are where they should be in the baseball recruiting process.

Keep all social media platforms professional

It is easy for some student-athletes to take social media for granted and not give a thought to what they post. But scholarship offers have been revoked for social media offenses, such as inappropriate photos, offensive language and questionable re-tweets or shared posts. In extreme cases, so have offers to attend a college or university. Recruits shouldn’t let a tweet undo all the hard work they’ve done. Athletes must always keep in mind that coaches are checking Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts to gauge whether a recruit will be a good representative for their team and the school.

Read more about managing the recruiting process.

Understanding scholarship offers and how to negotiate

Full-ride baseball scholarships are rare. Because baseball is an equivalency sport, coaches will divide their limited scholarships (for example, 11.7 at the Division 1 level) across their rosters. Families looking to ease the financial burden of college will want to pursue academic scholarships that will put the student in a position to attend a college and try out for the team as an unrecruited walk-on (in this scenario, it is crucial the student-athlete confirms with the coach prior to enrollment that they will be allowed to try out for the team).

How can families negotiate for a better scholarship offer? The best bargaining tool an athlete has is offers from other schools. No coach wants to lose out on a recruit for whom there is strong interest. Visit our College Recruiting Guide to learn negotiating strategies.

College baseball National Signing Day—sign with your top school

All that is left is for the recruit to formalize their agreement to attend their chosen school. Many athletes do this by signing the National Letter of Intent (NLI), a legally binding document that commits the athlete to attending a college or university for one academic year and the school to provide agreed-upon financial aid for that year. Not all schools use the NLI, so the recruit should check if there’s a document for them to sign.

Congratulations on completing the recruiting journey. Athletes have earned the right to celebrate this important milestone in their life. The hard work the recruit’s family has put in to get to this moment will serve them well as they move forward.