What Percentage of Baseball Players Get Scholarships?

Forget the odds.  They will only serve to distract and provide little hope to your son.  Your son will not make it into college baseball if he focuses on these odds.  There’s nothing good about the odds.  I’ve met dozens upon dozens of Parents who bought into the odds and simply accepted the fact that their son was not going to play college baseball and especially not D1 college baseball.

There are people out there that are even trying to convince you that since your son is probably not going D1 so that they can help in your recruiting search for D2/D3/NAIA/JUCO.  Yes, there’s an industry within an industry that preys on the odds while hoping that parents buy into them.

I’ve talked with parents who have flat-out said that their 12U kid isn’t going to play college baseball.  I’m a big believer that you shouldn’t speak things that will limit your children.  If you speak it, then you believe it.  And if you believe it, so will your children.  How on earth do they know at 12U that their kid isn’t going to play college baseball?  Well, because they heard about the odds and automatically assumed their son was going to be on the wrong side of those odds.  That’s taking a “realist” approach way too far.

Please don’t buy into the odds.  Instead, the better question to ask is, “Why not him?”  After all, there’s a percentage of high school players who actually get recruited to play D1 baseball…why can’t he be one of them?  If not D1, then maybe the other divisions.  But don’t count him out.  Yes, know the odds.  But don’t count him out.  Support him as best you can.  The odds only apply if you allow them to apply.  Your focus needs to be on finding ways that can help him become the best player he can be.  Find players that have already made it to college and work backward to learn what they did to get there.  Click here to learn more about finding blueprints to help get your player on track to where he wants to go.

Odds of Playing College Baseball

According to scholarshipstats.com, in 2017 the % of US High School Baseball Players competing at NCAA D1 schools is 2.1%.  How did they arrive at that number?  Well, their research shows there were a total 10,353 D1 baseball players in 2017.  In addition, the number of US High School Baseball Players in 2016-2017 was 491,790.   Divide 10,353 by 491,790 and you get 2.1%.

I would offer a slightly different calculation.  There are 297 D1 baseball programs.  They likely average 10 new recruits each season.  If we assume 8 of these recruits are incoming freshmen, then that will leave 2,376 total open spots for incoming freshmen at D1 baseball programs.

Looking at the total number of High School baseball players, I then need to estimate how many are graduating seniors.  If I just take 25% of 491,790, I get 122,947 as my approximate number of graduating seniors.  Divide 2,376 by 122,947 and you get 1.9%.

But there are 1,373 additional college baseball programs between D2, D3, NAIA, and JUCO.  If they also have 8 open slots each for incoming freshmen, then that’s 10,984 more open slots.  Add that to 2,376 and you get 13,360 total open slots for incoming freshmen.  With 122,947 graduating HS seniors, the odds now increase to 11%.

So, according to scholarshipstats.com, the odds are 9 to 1 for a high school player to continue playing baseball in college.  47 to 1 for him to continue playing baseball for a D1 program.

What Percentage Are On Scholarship?

Looking at D1 programs, you need to understand that they are capped at 11.7 full-ride scholarships per program.  Click here to read a post about baseball scholarships to give you a primer.  Although the team can roster 35 players, only 27 are allowed to be on scholarship.  Each of the 27 must receive at least a 25% scholarship.  So, in D1, there are 297 programs that have 27 players receiving at least a 25% scholarship.  That’s 8,019 players out of 10,353, or 77%.  But a 25% scholarship isn’t much.

Switching to D2 programs, they are capped at 9 full-ride scholarships per program.  But they can split the 9 scholarships however they like among 27 players.  There is no 25% minimum requirement.

D3 programs have no athletic scholarships available.  They can offer leadership grants and needs-based financial aid.

NAIA programs actually have the ability to offer 12 full-ride scholarships provided that the school actually funds all 12 scholarships.  Some schools may fund less than 12.  These may be split among the eligible players in any way the coaches determine.  The roster limit for postseason play is 25 players so I would imagine that these players would take the lions-share if not all the 12 scholarships provided.

NJCAA (JUCO) programs can offer 24 full-ride scholarships but that doesn’t mean that a school offers all 24 scholarships.  Schools can budget up to 24 scholarships.  Some can budget for no scholarships.  These schools provide a one or two-year experience for the player and serve as a source for transfer players into many D1 and D2 programs after their one or two years are finished.

How To Increase The Odds Of Receiving a Baseball Scholarship?

There are many things he can do along the way that can increase his chances.  But the single biggest factor, in my opinion, is his ability to play on a “Prime” showcase travel team for a large organization (i.e. fields more than two teams in each age division).  Looking at the “pull-through” rates for “Prime” teams from the four largest Florida showcase organizations, we saw that 61% of the 16U players had already verbally committed to play baseball in college.   Most of those were D1.

So we just went from a 2% chance of playing D1 baseball to a 61% chance.  Click here to read my post about the importance of “pull-through” rates.  But not everyone can make the “Prime” team of a large showcase organization, much less play in the starting lineup.  The real goal needs to be developing your player to have the skills needed to make these teams and crack into the starting lineup.  That’s why his 13U and 14U seasons are the most critical part of his development.  What he does during these two seasons will need to prepare him so that he has the absolute best chance of making a 15U “Prime” showcase travel baseball team.  That will set the stage.  Why not him?

Author: Baseball Pops

No doubt it was a dream come true for my oldest son when he received his first D1 Baseball scholarship offer. But it also reminded me of the incredible journey up to that point where we had no instruction manual, DIY book, or expert to lean on for guidance. This blog is written from a parent's perspective for the benefit of parents. If it can help just one parent see things clearer so they can make more meaningful decisions in helping their player achieve their baseball dreams, then this blog will have accomplished its mission in my eyes.

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