Angels Baseball


Be Prepared

"The future belongs to those who prepare for it."

There are just under 300 players in the Transfer portal for 2023-2024 academic year (for baseball) and we haven’t even started the season yet.  That number will easily grow to over 1,000 before the end of the summer.  The NCAA has made it easy for players to transfer as they took away the rule that requires them to sit one year after transferring schools, which has created chaos over the years.  A player is not required to state a reason for transferring.  They simply need to inform the NCAA.  

Selecting a College program is quite difficult and we will always have young men who enter a program only to find that it isn’t the program for them; and thus resulting in a desire to transfer.  But, it seems that the rate of transferring has increased over the past 5 years.  Yes, we can blame the NCAA for eliminating the ‘sit year’, but I believe that too many HS kids are rushing into their decision.  They see their friends, teammates, players they follow on social media all committing and they panic.  They believe that since everyone else is committing that they too must quickly find a suitor.  And rushing into a decision is a sure-fire way to making a mistake.  The pressure a HS kid feels to commit seems to be at an all-time high.

Removing the rush to commit and ignoring the commitments of others must be the first step in the recruiting process.  But, eliminating the peer pressure to commit is just the first step.  Then you need to take steps to ensure that you are making a well-informed decision.  Below are a few points that need to be factored into your decision-making process.  I am sure there are others, but this is a great starting list. of things that may not necessarily be top of mind when talking to a coach.

  1. Does the school have a need?  Research the roster.  If you’re a catcher and the school has a freshman catcher that is starting for them in the Spring, you may want to look elsewhere.  At a minimum, he will be the starter for the next 2 years.  
  2. Who takes care of the field?  Does the program have a grounds crew or do the players have to maintain the field?  If you have two schools that are interested in you, and all seems equal, you may find that one of the schools requires its’ players to maintain the field.  That is a lot of work in many cases and something that may rub you the wrong way.
  3. What time are team lifts?  One school has team lifts at 6:00am while the other has team lifts after practice.  Which would you prefer?  Do you struggle to do anything before 9:00am?  If so, you may find it hard to keep pace at a 6am lift.
  4. Does the Coach place players on Summer teams?  You’re going to have to find a place to play in the Summer.  Ask current players (or even the coach) if they are proactive in placing players in College Summer leagues.  Or, do coaches leave that to the players.  You want a coach that handles this for you.
  5.  Go watch a game (if possible).  Coaches cannot hide their true selves during a game.  During the recruiting process, you will get a salesman.  During a game, you will get the coach in their most authentic self.  Sit on the opposite side of their dugout so you can see them all game.  The coach may seem nice during the recruiting process, but you may see a completely different person during the game.
  6. Have the expectation that you’re not the only person from your position they are recruiting.  This is somewhat related to #1; but if you’re a shortstop, expect there to be a few other shortstops in your freshman class.  Many programs will bring in a few shortstops with the expectation that one will win the job, another may be moved to 2nd base, another to the outfield, and maybe one or two will just not cut it.  Remember, the coach needs to win.  They want to win.  Bringing in multiple players for the same position gives them a great chance that they will find one that can play the position.  Expect to compete for your spot.

Hopefully you are able to take a few new questions from this post.  Making a decision where to spend the next four years is a difficult one.  The more questions you ask, the better your chances of making the right decision.  The process of transferring is just as difficult, maybe even more so than your initial college selection.  So, do what you can to not have to go through that process.