The digital age has blessed recruits with the ability to find out almost everything about a program online, without spending a dime. Fifteen to twenty minutes of online digging will reveal a lot about a program. It can also help you fact check what coaches have already told you about their school during the recruiting process or a campus visit. Doing online research on a baseball program is free and is guaranteed to save you a lot of trouble down the road. Not sure what we mean by online research? Keep reading! Below, we detail how you can do an in-depth investigation of a program without ever leaving the computer and even provide you with this checklist to keep you organized.
Coaches are really good at telling you all the great things about their program. Any recruiter worth his salt will also be able to put a positive spin on a potential red flag or redirect a question that will cast his program in a negative light. It’s their job to convince you that their school is the place you need to be. That’s why it’s important to do your homework on a school. Investigate and fact check to make sure the things that you are being told match up with reality. For example, if coach says they have a lot of freshmen who play right away, you can easily look up the box scores on the school’s website, and you should.
When to Investigate?
The recruiting process for most college-bound players is nothing like it’s portrayed in ads and rumors. Unless you are a superstar player, you will spend most of high school working to develop the skills that college coaches covet and recruit. You will also likely have to actively recruit yourself, rather than have coaches flock to you with offers. The truth is, most recruits spend the vast majority of high school in the researching phase of recruitment. This means they should be spending time learning about college baseball, the recruiting process, developing a personal plan, and doing lots of research on programs that may be a fit. There is never a bad time for you to find out more about a potential school. We suggest doing online roster research when you are developing a list of potential schools, when you are contacted by a school you don’t know much about, and after you have spoken with a coach or visited a school. Online research can help you determine if a school fits your needs, and fact check what you’ve already been told about a program.
How to Investigate?
Jump online or use social media to thoroughly investigate each school of interest. You probably have your own questions and topics you want to look into, but this list is a great place to start. Qualify your results by comparing your findings to similar programs or schools in the same conference or division. You will be amazed what you can find out if you devote the time. Check out the ideas below to get started!
What to Investigate?
Roster: Look at the current and archived rosters, stats, and bios. Google players at your position. Get creative and see how much you can find out and what patterns you see. What do the backgrounds, abilities, size, etc. of their players tell you about how you might fit in? What are some of the standards you’ll have to meet? Here are more questions for your online research into schools:
- How many players do they have on their roster?
- Looking back through the archives, how many players are leaving the program each year?
- How many seniors have stayed from freshman year?
- How many have dropped off?
- How many players are red-shirting?
- How many players do they have at each position?
- Do they have a lot of upper-classmen returners at your position?
- Will they have a positional need for you in your recruiting class?
- Where are the players from?
- Do they have players from your area on their roster?
- Do they have a lot of players from one area or recruit all over?
- What physical size are the players at your position?
- What is the balance of right-handed hitters/pitchers versus left-handed hitters/pitchers?
- What do the player bios tell you about player interests and hobbies outside of baseball?
- What do the player bios tell you about their past baseball accomplishments? Do they match yours?
- Can you find evaluations of the players at your position from high school online? What about recruiting videos or measurables like 60 yard dash times or velocity?
- What else can you learn by looking at their roster?
Coaches: Explore coaching bios the same way you do for the players. Find their social media and Google their name to see what comes up in addition to what is on the school website.
- What is the head coach’s win-loss record and how long has he been there?
- How many players have they sent on to the next level?
- Which coach is responsible for your position group?
- Can you find any important information in their bio?
- Do the coaches have social media? What are they talking/posting about?
- Where have they coached before and what is their playing/coaching background?
- What personality traits can you pick up from the info available?
- Are there interviews or post-game speeches you can watch or listen to?
- Do they have social media? If so, what types of information and message are they sending?
- Do they give off any tells about what they look for in a player or recruit?
- Can you gain any information about their coaching or developmental philosophies?
- Do they host any camps?
- How is the strength of schedule?
- How far does the coach like to travel for games?
Incoming Recruiting Class: You can often find interesting information about incoming recruiting classes through other websites. This can give you insight into roster composition and number of players who will be on the team.
- How many commitments do they already have for future classes and what does this say about when they will be actively recruiting your recruiting class?
- What type of info can you find on the current commits (physical size, velocity of pitchers, 60 times, accolades, etc.)?
- Do you have similar physical characteristics and skill sets to their current commits in your class?
- Does the number of players they are bringing in match the number leaving?
Other areas to research…
- How do the facilities lend to your development?
- Are the baseball facilities on campus? If not, how far are they and how do you get there?
- Do they have facilities for poor weather/winter?
- What baseball resources will be available to help you get better?
- Does the program have any notable alumni?
- Are players moving on to other programs (for 2-year schools) or the next level (for 4-year schools)?
- Are alumni having success in their work lives?
- What types of professions do alums go into?
- Are there things to do on or near campus?
- Are there enough food options on campus?
- Where do players live? Dorms? Apartments? House? Off-Campus? On-Campus?
- What type of campus is it? City? Urban? Country?
- What is the weather like?
- Does the program have social media accounts? If so, do they post regularly?
- Is the website up-to-date?
- Are there long lapses in news stories or do they post throughout the year?
- Is there footage of practice/training/games on social media?
- Can you watch or listen to games online?
- Are stats up-to-date in season?
You’ll be amazed what you can find out and how helpful it can be to spend some time doing thorough online research. Remember, you will be spending more time with your coaches and teammates than anyone else for the next 2-4 years and you want to make sure you know what you are getting yourself into. While no decision is final, you will be thankful to find a fit your first time around. Leave no stone unturned and good luck!