I get this question a lot. Everybody hears stories about the kid who just verbally committed but hasn’t even played one inning of HS baseball yet. Then you hear about another commitment. This time it’s a sophomore. Then another freshman. Pretty soon you start to think that your player is getting passed up. Well, not so fast. It’s helpful to understand the facts. Take a look at this chart. As of last night, here are the number of verbal commitments in the various graduating classes.
Grad Year HS Grade # Committed
2018 Senior 3,643
2019 Junior 1,142
2020 Sophomore 346
2021 Freshman 89
2022 8th Grade 3
Source: Perfect Game (self-reported)
As a barometer, the self-reported data from the 2017 class shows that 4,993 players were committed to play college. These numbers do not distinguish between D1, D2, D3, NAIA, JUCO.
A couple observations. 89 high school players have already received an offer and have verbally committed to play college baseball prior to playing an official inning of high school baseball. Three middle school players have already received an offer and have verbally committed prior to even setting foot on a high school campus. These are the facts. But in the big picture, it’s a very low number of commits and a very rare occurrence.
These guys are incredibly gifted. Many have one or two tools that could compete with a D1 player if they had to step onto campus the next coming year. Taking a look at some of these player profiles on Perfect Game, there’s one that runs a 6.45 60-yard dash. Speed. More than a handful are already pitching above 90 mph. Arm strength. Several are already mashing bombs…with a wood bat and exit velo’s exceeding 90 mph. Power.
But if they can do that as freshmen in HS, I have news for you…most of these guys aren’t going to college. Their destiny is the MLB draft. Affectionately, I call this group of guys the, “freak-show.” They’re just blessed beyond measure. Any they will commit early to all the top conference D1 programs.
What’s more eye-opening is that 1,581 players have committed with only two HS seasons under their belt. Once the “freak show”group has committed, then this next group of talented players will carry the bulk of the D1 commits before their HS junior season even begins. Think about a junior in HS right now. In just ten short months, his early signing period begins and he can sign a National Letter of Intent. If he hasn’t committed by now, he only has his junior HS season, one last summer showcase/tournament run (17u), and a couple fall tournaments to get it done for D1.
My point is that D1 colleges are scouting and offering 15u and 16u players. Freshman and sophomores. The 17u junior who also starts to significantly breakout over his peers will certainly get his shot to help finalize the D1 recruiting class for his age-group. By the time your senior HS season rolls around, mostly all the D1 and D2 commits have already signed National Letters of Intent (November of your senior year is early signing period). This pretty much renders your senior HS season as moot from a D1 or D2 recruiting perspective.
The moral of the story: Start early. Make the most of your player’s 13u and 14u development to help him prepare as best as possible for his 15u season.