NCAA Baseball

College vs. Pro

by Jeff Spelman
Director, Team One Showcases
For many “blue chip” high school baseball players the most difficult decision to make is not which college to attend

Thousands of high school senior baseball players will be looking forward with great anticipation and hope to the Major League Amateur Free Agent Draft, held each June. Four or five seniors will become instant millionaires. Perhaps a hundred or so others will be very happy with the draft. All others will likely be disappointed because they were chosen late or not selected at all.

Major League teams can make as many selections as they want. In 1995,   several teams bowed out after the 45th round while others went beyond   80 rounds. But the later a player is drafted, the less likely he is   to sign. Of the 1,666 players drafted in 1995, approximately 780   were high school players. Of the number drafted, usually 225 to 250   high school players sign contracts.

WHAT'S BEST FOR YOUR SON? Be realistic and look at the numbers. Pro   teams thrive on players that think they will overcome the long odds   against becoming a major league player. Actually only 5 to 6 percent   of drafted players ever play a day in the major leagues And about 40   percent of  the first round draft picks never make it either.

If your son chooses a pro career, he is a least significantly delaying   if not giving up a college education. Questions to consider;  What's   a  degree worth, and how far will he be behind his peers if he enters the   work force four years after they do?

If a high school player signs a bonus of $100,000 (roughly third round   money), how long will  it last? Uncle Sam claims 31%, for taxes,   leaving your son with $69,000. He may use $10,000 for a down payment   on a car. That leaves $59,000. His minor league salary will be about   $850 per month - during the six month season only. So if he wants to   live on $20,000 a year, he'll have to use his bonus money. At that   rate, he'll use it up in four or five years. By then, he'll be out   of baseball, still be making $15,000 a year in the minors, or   possibly be in  the Major Leagues.

On the other hand, major league teams do offer players entry into   professional baseball at a younger age, which can translate into   earlier higher earnings and additional benefits. And although many   college coaches disagree, Major League Baseball says the best   instructors in the world are available to your son.

WHEN DEALING WITH SCOUTS, always be honest and consistent. But   remember, you do not have to give them direct answers to all of   their questions. For example, scouts commonly ask if your son   wants to sign out of  high school and how much money it would   take to sign him. Don't give a range or a figure. Many parents   simply respond, "My son would definitely be interested in signing,   if it's the right offer."

Teams not only draft for talent but also for signability. If you   do not want your son to sign a pro contract, out of high school   and you let the pro scouts know that, then be prepared for the   fact that he probably won't be drafted at all. Players who have   signed scholarships with to top academic universities often go   undrafted or get chosen later than expected because teams are   worried about their signability.

If your son may be a high draft pick, you'll notice large numbers   of scouts at his games late in the high school season, and a   major league team's top scouts - regional supervisors, cross   checkers, and even scouting directors - will attend.

AS A PARENT OF A POTENTIAL draft pick, try to keep your son from   being distracted by all the hype. The only way he can enhance   his draft status is by performing well on the field -- and   distractions can hurt his performance.

Prepare your son emotionally for what might happen in the draft.   It's nice to dream, but you and your son need to be realistic.

Always consider not taking a team's first offer. Many players   earn more by holding out a week than they would have earned in   a whole season had they taken the first offer.  However, this   strategy may have diminishing returns if the hold out lasts too   long.

Deciding between college and an immediate pro career can be a   difficult decision. There's no magic formula. Look at all of   your son's options, which may include a couple of years of   college first, then discuss them with him.

And enjoy the attention your son receives. It’s a “once in a lifetime” experience. So be sure you are prepared.

Reprinted from the
Baseball Parent Magazine


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