College Baseball Recruiting Guidelines (2023)

College Baseball Recruiting Guidelines (1)

“Am I good enough to play college baseball?” “How good do you have to be?” These are two questions that student-athletes ask most. Less than two percent of high school players go on to play Division 1 college baseball, but there are more opportunities at the other division levels. Understanding what college baseball scouts are looking for in position players in terms of height, weight and skill can help student-athletes better focus their school search on programs that offer a level of competition that is the best match for them.

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How to use the guidelines

What do college coaches look for?

What age do scouts look at baseball players?

Pitchers

Catchers

First basemen

Third basemen

Middle infielders

Center fielder

Corner outfielder

How to use the baseball recruiting guidelines

College baseball scouts evaluate players by arm strength, fielding range, speed, and hitting for power and average. Recruiting guidelines offer a good benchmark for student-athletes to compare themselves with athletes competing at the college level. What are college baseball scouts generally looking for at each position? What skill sets should individual position players have? This section breaks down divisional recruiting guidelines to give recruits and their families a better understanding of what will be expected of them at each position. Keep in mind:

  • Recruiting guidelines are just that: guidelines. These are an indication of what coaches generally look for, but there will be exceptions. Coaches are looking for the best fits for their team.
  • Travel ball experience is a key source for coaches to find recruits, especially at the Division 1 level.
  • Getting evaluated by a trusted third-party or a current coach will provide an objective assessment of how a recruit measures up against scholarship-level athletes in relation to these guidelines.

What do college baseball coaches look for in recruits?

When watching prospects, college coaches are constantly trying to project how well they are going to do at the college level. The biggest hang up recruits or parents have is that while a recruit might be really good at the high school level, if they aren’t playing against college level competition, it isn’t much help to a coach. At the college level, the game is much, much faster. Recruits need to show the strength, speed and general athleticism to make the jump.

What will often separate recruits in the mind of coaches is how serious a prospect takes their sport. Coaches are watching, before the game, between game action and after the game to see how a prospect carries themselves. They are going to be following up with their coach(es) to see how seriously they take their training. All things being equal, a prospect who has the will to practice hard is going to be recruited over a one who has the ability but not the work ethic.

What age do scouts look at baseball players?

Coaches are going to begin looking at prospects as soon as they are physically developed enough to give a reliable estimation of how they will project as an 18- to 21-year-old player. What makes that difficult for many recruits is that some coaches are willing to project earlier than others and athletes develop on different timelines. Prospects looking to get recruited can’t control when they develop or what coaches think of them. Regardless of your age, prospects should focus on getting better and putting themselves in the right position against the best competition available.Find out more about AAU baseball teams and tournaments.

Division 1

  • Club experience: 3–4 years of high-level travel baseball
  • Awards and accolades: multiple-time All-Conference, All-Area, All-State honors
  • Seasons as varsity starter: 3–4

Division 2

  • Club experience: 2–3 years of high-level travel baseball
  • Awards and accolades: multiple time All-Conference, All-Area, potential All-State honors
  • Seasons as varsity starter: 2–3

Division 3 and NAIA

  • Club experience: 2–3 years playing travel baseball
  • Awards and accolades: multiple time All-Conference, All-Area honors
  • Seasons as varsity starter: 1–2

Junior College

  • Club experience: 2–3 years playing travel baseball
  • Awards and accolades: multiple time All-Conference, All-Area honors
  • Seasons as varsity starter: 1–2

What do college baseball scouts look for in a pitcher?

Division 1

  • Pitch velocity: 84 MPH consistently; up to 95+ MPH
  • Command of at least 3 pitches
  • ERA: below 2.00
  • At least 1 K per inning pitched
  • Walk less than 1 batter per 2 innings pitched

Division 2

  • Pitch velocity: 82 MPH – 90+ MPH
  • Control of one off-speed pitch and 1 additional pitch thrown to spots consistently
  • ERA: below 3.00
  • Around 1 K per 1 innings pitched
  • Walk around 1 batter per 2 innings pitcher

Division 3 and NAIA

  • Pitch velocity: 77 MPH – 82 MPH
  • Control of at least one off-speed pitch and developing another
  • Strike out to walk ratio of 1:1
  • ERA: 2.50–3.50

Junior College

  • Pitch velocity: 80 MPH consistently
  • 1 or less than 1 K per inning pitched
  • ERA: below 4.00

What is a good ERA in baseball?

An ERA between 2.00 and 4.00 is considered good for high school pitchers. Pitchers looking to play at the D1 level should aim to reach an ERA below 2.00.

What does a D1 baseball pitcher look like? Former D1 baseball player and NJCAA coach Nelson Gord breaks down what skills D1 college coaches look for in both right-handed and left-handed pitchers.



What do college baseball scouts look for in a catcher?

Division 1

  • Height: 6’1”
  • Weight: 185–200 lbs.
  • Coaches will take a closer look at catch and throw mechanics as well as the arm strength shown while throwing to 2nd and 3rd base
  • While defense comes first for a catcher, Division 1 coaches will also look for a player who demonstrates outstanding leadership skills and has the ability to work with the entire pitching staff
  • Division 1 catchers swing the bat well and usually can hit for power or average at a high level
  • OBP: .500
  • Slugging: .600 (minimum 2 at bats per game)
  • Pop Time: 1.95 and below consistently (verified by a neutral source)
  • ERA below 2.00

Division 2

  • Height: 6’0”
  • Weight: 180 lbs.
  • OBP: .450
  • Slugging: .550 (minimum 2 at bats per game)
  • Pop Time: 2.0 and below consistently (verified by a neutral source)

Division 3 and NAIA

  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 180 lbs.
  • OBP: .400
  • Slugging: .500
  • Pop time: 2.0 – 2.1

Junior college

  • Height: 5’10”
  • Weight: 170 lbs.
  • OBP: .350
  • Slugging: .450
  • Pop Time: 2.1 or below

What is the best way for high school catchers to market themselves to D1 college coaches? Check out the video below for tips from former D1 baseball player and NJCAA coach Nelson Gord.


What do college baseball scouts look for in a first baseman?

Division 1

  • Height: 6’2’’–6’6’’
  • Weight: 190–240 lbs.
  • HR: 5­–10 as a junior and senior in high school
  • OBP: .500
  • Slugging: .750 (minimum 2 at bats per game)

Division 2

  • Height: At least 6’0”
  • Weight: At least 180 lbs.
  • Needs to demonstrate the ability or potential to hit for power
  • A solid 1B recruit in this tier should have a few HRs and a lot of RBIs as a junior and senior in high school

Division 3 and NAIA

  • Height: 6’0″
  • Weight: 180 lbs.
  • Power Numbers: 3+ HR, 25+ RBI

Junior College

  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 170 lbs.
  • Power Numbers: 2+ HR, 20+ RBI

What skills do D1 college coaches look for when recruiting first basemen? Nelson Gord, former D1 baseball athlete and NJCAA coach, shares how athletes can catch the attention of college coaches in the video below.


What do college baseball scouts look for in a third baseman?

Division 1

  • Height: 5’10’’–6’3’’
  • Weight: 180–220 lbs.
  • Infield velocity: 85 MPH – 95 MPH
  • HR: 5–10 as a junior and senior in high school
  • OBP: .500
  • Slugging: .750

Division 2

  • Height: 5’9″–6’3”
  • Weight: 170–220 lbs.
  • Infield Velocity: At least 80 MPH with the ability to improve through development
  • HR: At least 2 HR as a high school junior and senior
  • OBP/SLG: At least .400 in each category

Division 3 and NAIA

  • Height: 6’0”
  • Weight: 180 lbs.
  • Power Numbers: 2+ HR, 25+ RBI

Junior college

  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 170 lbs.
  • Power Numbers: 2+ HR, 20+ RBI

Aside from measurables, what else do D1 college coaches look for in a third base recruit? Check out the video below to hear third basemen recruiting advice from Nelson Gord, former D1 baseball athlete and NJCAA coach.


What do college baseball scouts look for in a middle infielder?

Division 1

  • Height: 5’8″–6’2″
  • Weight: 165–190 lbs.
  • 60-yard dash: 6.5–6.8. (verified by a third party)
  • Infield velocity: Division 1 middle infield recruits will throw the ball across the diamond anywhere between 85 MPH – 95 MPH
  • OBP: .500
  • Slugging: .600 (minimum 2 at bats per game)
  • The prototypical Division I middle infield recruit can hit for high average as well as steal a lot of bases and occasionally hit for power

Division 2

  • Height: 5’8”–6’2”
  • Weight: 165–190 lbs.
  • 60-yard dash: 6.9 or below
  • Infield Velocity: Low 80s and above MPH from SS
  • OBP: .550
  • Slugging: .450 (minimum 2 at bats per game)

Division 3 and NAIA

  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 170 lbs.
  • 60-yard dash: 7.0 or below
  • Infield velocity: 78+ MPH from SS
  • OBP: .400
  • Slugging: .500

Junior college

  • Height: 5’10”
  • Weight: 165 lbs.
  • 60-yard dash: 7.1 or below
  • Infield velocity: Upper 70s MPH from SS
  • OBP: .350
  • Slugging: .450

When it comes to midfielders, D1 college coaches tend to focus their recruiting efforts on shortstops, rather than athletes who strictly play second base. Check out the video below to hear tips on how to get recruited from D1 baseball athlete and NJCAA coach Nelson Gord.


What do college baseball scouts look for in a center fielder?

Division 1

  • Height: 5’9’’–6’2’’
  • Weight: 175–210 lbs.
  • Infield velocity: 87–95+ MPH from the outfield
  • 60-yard dash: below 6.7
  • Infield velocity: 87–95+ MPH from the outfield
  • OBP: .500
  • Slugging: .600 (minimum 2 at bats per game)

Division 2

  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 180 lbs.
  • 60-yard dash: below 6.9
  • OBP: .450
  • SLG: .500 (minimum 2 at bats per game)

Division 3 and NAIA

  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 180 lbs.
  • 60-yard dash: 6.9 or below
  • OF velocity: 80+ MPH
  • OBP: .400
  • Slugging: .500

Junior college

  • Height: 5’10”
  • Weight: 170 lbs.
  • 60-yard dash: 7.0 or below
  • OF velocity: 78+ MPH
  • OBP: .350
  • Slugging: .450

What do college baseball scouts look for in a corner outfielder?

Division 1

  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 180 lbs.
  • 60-yard dash: below 6.8
  • OF velocity: 87+ MPH (verified by a neutral source)
  • Slugging: at least 5 HRs as a high school junior and senior
  • .750 (minimum 2 at bats per game)
  • OBP: .500

Division 2

  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 180 lbs.
  • 60-yard dash: below 7.0
  • Velocity from the OF: low 80s at least, with the potential to improve
  • Slugging: Multiple HRs as a high school junior and senior

Division 3/NAIA

  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 180 lbs.
  • 60-yard dash: 6.9 or below
  • OF velocity: 80+ MPH
  • OB%: .400
  • Slugging: .650

Junior college

  • Height: 5’10”
  • Weight: 170 lbs.
  • 60-yard dash: 7.0 or below
  • OF velocity: 78+ MPH
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