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July 19, 2019

Top Baseball Showcases

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Showcases are essential for college baseball and the recruiting process. The ability to gather objective data on oneself and send it out allows for schools to compare athletes side-by-side. Gathering data enables the recruit to see how they compare to other athletes. Minnesota Head Coach, John Anderson, discussed the significance of attending camps and showcases in a previous LRT Sports Huddle article. One of the key takeaways from Coach Anderson’s interview is that baseball talent will get noticed. Trusting in his wisdom is smart; yet, taking action into one’s own hands via showcases can be a great way to add to the likelihood of getting noticed by a coach. 

Below are the top three showcase platforms that baseball players have at their disposal. Each has its own unique offering, while still providing the fundamental essentials of a showcase. Coach Anderson echoed the need to cater to your wants and desires to the right situation, “the recruit should identify some of the aspects that they are looking for in a college experience before starting to sign up for travel teams, showcases, and camps.”

1 – Prep Baseball Report (PBR)

Prep Baseball Report’s hyper-local focus is what separates themselves from other recruiting platforms. They hold open showcases across the country and provide an in-depth review for each recruit that goes through their showcase. A player will get an online profile, which includes objective data, video, and an in-depth scouting report. Continually, PBR compiles rankings on a state-by-state basis for the top athletes that go through their showcases, enabling colleges to narrow down their focus when finding recruits. Plenty of colleges use this platform as a recruiting tool, as more than 900 schools subscribe to their website. This large number is indicative of the range of athletes that use PBR – DI to DIII talent alike. Perspective, college athletes, also use this platform for the relatively low-cost for a showcase, as it costs $199 for a position player or pitcher only, and costs $299 for a two-way player. Below is a comprehensive list for what a PBR showcase will look: 

•    Check-in for position players occurs in the morning, around 8:30 a.m.

o    Pitchers check in around noon

•    Infielders, outfielders, catchers

o    Stretch

o    Run 60 yard dash – laser time

o    Offensive evaluation

  •    Mechanical evaluation 
  •    Exit velocity (from a tee)
  •    Live batting practice done via a provided coach throwing

o    Defensive assessment

  •    Arm strength (velocity)
  •    Defensive mobility
  •    Positional projectability

•    Pitchers and Catchers

o    Stretching

o    Bullpen Sessions

  •    Mechanical evaluation
  •    15 pitch session (wind-up and stretch)
  •    Charting velocity and pitch action
  •    Catcher’s assessments during the bullpen

•    Receiving, stance, blocking

As you will find out, each of the three showcase platforms will have a comprehensive offering to the average athlete as well as a branch for the elite athlete. In the case of PBR, they offer an elite showcase called Super 60. This showcase is invite only and provides a tremendous opportunity for the top high school athletes in the nation. Typically, 120 professional scouts from all levels will attend, along with 3-5 scouts from most Major League teams. Since 2003, more than 280 players that have participated in this showcase have been selected in the MLB draft, including 17 first-round picks. The showcase is held in early February at a 125,000 square-foot open turf facility in McCook, IL. The structure of the elite showcase is similar to the general PBR showcase.

2 – Perfect Game (PG)

Perhaps the most recognizable name in the realm of baseball recruiting is Perfect Game. Perfect Game’s track record speaks for itself as one of the best showcase platforms for high school baseball players. Since their first event in 1999, Perfect Game has been host to 1311 MLB Players, including players like Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, and Clayton Kershaw. Due to the significant talent, thousands of colleges and MLB organizations use PG’s website as a scouting tool. Continually, these organizations use this platform because talent vetting has occurred ahead of time, as Perfect Game is an invite-only platform, making the job of a scout and coach easier. The layout of the showcase is similar to PBR, as seen below. The significant difference is the full-length Game that is played by the prospects. Perhaps the necessity for a competitive game is further indicative of the need for an invite-only platform. This Game allows for athletes to see first-hand how they stack up against other recruits. In this sense, both athletes and coaches leave the showcase, knowing how they compare to other players. 

•    60-yard dash

•    Infield, outfield, and catcher throws to measure arm velocities

•    Measure six crucial quantitative measure of the swing, along with a batting practice session

•    Prospects get divided into teams, and a full-length game is played (typically 10-innings) to provide added exposure to colleges and scouts

To receive an invite from Perfect Game, showcase tournaments via travel baseball is a great way to get noticed. Continually, performing well at the high school level can get you noticed. If neither has proved dividend, Perfect Game does provide a unique showcase for the general athlete called PG Series Challenge. This is not a strict showcase, rather, a one-day athletic test designed to measure, record, and track a player’s most important attributes through a completely objective form of testing. Although many showcase platforms use objective data as the cornerstone of their evaluation, they do still provide subjective conclusions, i.e., scouting report. The PG Series Challenge is entirely objective, as evidenced by the complete absence of fielding. Below is the structure for the testing:

•    $199

•    30-yard dash

•    5-10-5 pro agility

•    Witty reaction test

•    Left-hand grip strength 

•    Right-hand grip strength

•    Broad jump

•    Throwing velocity

•    Exit velocity

•    Witty laser system

o    Four corner complex reaction drill

o    Side to side whole-body reaction

•    Opto-Jump

o    PG 3 jump test for power

o    PG single leg jumps for power

o    PG visual reaction

o    PG fast feet test for speed

3 – Baseball Factory

This platform is as much of a showcase as it is a tryout for many national Baseball Factory teams. When a player attends a Baseball Factory showcase, they will get data on themselves as well as a potential opportunity to get chosen to play in large national tournaments. In this sense, the Baseball Factory platform encourages younger athletes to attend their events, typically beginning in the 6th grade. Although this particular platform gathers similar data as PBR and the Perfect Game, they have a slightly different big-picture agenda, as evidenced by the three packages offered. These packages are geared towards a recruiting journey compared to a strict one-day event, which is the differentiating feature for Baseball Factory. 

•    Bronze ($129 for one position and hitting or $199 for two positions)

o    Skill Evaluation (11 tests)

o    College recruiting seminar

o    Scouts attend (varies based on location) 

o    Player profile page

•    Silver ($399 for one position and hitting, $499 for two positions)

o    Bronze Package

o    Skill Evaluation (20 tests)

o    Premium player profile

o    Professionally edited video

•    Gold ($699 for two positions and hitting)

o    Silver Package

o    Personal “college recruiting match” program

o    The secrets of college recruiting book

o    Game footage uploads to the player profile

o    Discount on future bronze and silver events

Baseball Factory is the host to one of the most recognizable recruiting events in the nation, the Under Armour All-American Game. This event strictly invites only, as evidenced by 365 of the 399 draft eligible players from the UA Game have been selected in the MLB Draft, including 108 first round picks. This Game is nationally televised on the MLB Network and takes place in late July at Wrigley Field. Scouts will be in attendance.