What Colleges Look For

What Division I coaches look for (in general, there are exceptions). Keep in mind that this is based on…

  • Scholarship caliber players that could contribute immediately (D I teams add several walk-on players that may not meet this criteria).
  • An average D I program (national power houses from the PAC-10, SEC, or ACC, for example, will expect more…and so will most regional power houses).
  • At the bottom of this page is a general D II & small school (D III, NAIA, JUCO) comparison to D I for more context. Keep in mind that, especially with some of the newer Division I scholarship and roster limitations, many fully-funded small school programs do look for some of the same attributes that D I schools look for and are having more and more  success recruiting those types of players. Also, some D I caliber players end up going to junior colleges because of a poor academic track record.  Still, the majority of small school programs will not require you to be 6′o” or taller, throw 87 mph or run under 7 seconds in the 60 yard dash. There is always room in college baseball for quality baseball players who happen to lack “ideal” size, speed or  tools.

Right-Handed Pitchers:

  • 87 mph or better current velocity, and/or the body type and delivery/mechanics that indicate 87 or better velocity in the near future.
  • Most D I RHPs are in the 87-88 mph range, many get into the low 90s.
  • Generally 6’1″ or taller with a smooth balanced delivery, clean/fluid arm action that lacks strain & effort.
  • Project-able body type: Tall & lanky, with a chance to “fill-out” fairly quickly. The idea being a 6’3 170 HS senior with a good delivery throwing 87, will become a 6’3 190 college sophomore throwing 91.
  • Ability to throw an advanced breaking ball or at least show a “feel” for a potentially solid breaking ball.
  • Demonstrate “pitch-ability” (ability to mix pitches & locate).
  • Ability to compete (good poise, no fear, doesn’t back down, throws any pitch any count).
  • Smaller pitchers have to show they can get into the upper 80s and/or show an advanced breaking ball and “pitch-ability” (at least 3 D I caliber pitches, ability to mix pitches & locate)

D II RHP:

  • 84+ (preferably 85-87)

D III, NAIA, JUCO RHP:

  • low 80s

Left-Handed Pitchers:

  • 85 mph or better current velocity, and/or the body type and delivery/mechanics that indicate 85 or better velocity in the near future.
  • Most D I LHPs are in the 85-87 mph range, many get into the upper 80s.
  • Generally 5’11″ or taller with a smooth balanced delivery, clean/fluid arm action that lacks strain & effort.
  • Project-able body type: Tall & lanky, with a chance to “fill-out” fairly quickly. The idea being a 6’3 170 HS senior with a good delivery throwing 87, will become a 6’3 190 college sophomore throwing 91.
  • Ability to throw an advanced breaking ball or at least show a “feel” for a potentially solid breaking ball.
  • Demonstrate “pitch-ability” (ability to mix pitches & locate).
  • Ability to compete (good poise, no fear, doesn’t back down, throws any pitch any count).
  • Smaller pitchers have to show they can get into the mid-to-upper 80s and/or show an advanced breaking ball and “pitch-ability” (at least 3 D I caliber pitches, ability to mix pitches & locate).

D II LHP:

  • 82+ (preferably 84-86)

D III, NAIA, JUCO LHP:

  • upper 70s to low 80s.

Catchers:

  • Pop times: 1.90-2.00 pop times at a showcase or 2.00-2.10 pop times in-game (difficulty increased by receiving live pitches & presence of a batter).
  • Most D I catchers are 2.00 in-game.
  • Pure arm strength: 76 mph+ from behind the plate or showing mid-80s or better from another position.
  • Strong, sturdy, durable build.
  • Ability to provide offense (power and/or ability to hit for average against good D I caliber pitching…generally determined by hitting mechanics, bat speed, size & strength).
  • Above average D I defensive ability lessens the requirement of offense.
  • 60 times don’t matter as much for catchers, but 7.40 is a reasonable time to expect.

D II Catcher:

  • Pop: 1.95-2.05 at showcase or 2:00-2.10 in game

D III, NAIA, JUCO Catcher:

  • Pop: 2.00-2.10 at showcase or 2:05-2.15 in game

Shortstops:

  • Above average athleticism.
  • Generally 7.0 or better 60 times, though 1st step quickness & range can overcome a slower time. Still, anything less than 7.20-7.30 is hard to overcome for a D I level shortstop.
  • Pure Arm Strength: 82 mph or better position velocity (preferably 85 or better) and/or an exceptionally quick release…or mid-80s or better off the mound.
  • Ability to hit for average against good D I caliber pitching (generally determined by hitting mechanics, bat speed, size & strength).
  • Ability to hit for power is a plus.

Second Base:

  • All the attributes of a SS, but allows for less arm strength and typically requires more offensive ability.

Third Base:

  • Pure Arm Strength: 83 or better position velocity (preferably 86 or better) and/or an exceptionally quick release…or mid-80s or better off the mound.
  • Ability to provide offense (power and/or ability to hit for average against good D I caliber pitching…generally determined by hitting mechanics, bat speed, size & strength).
  • 7.20 or better 60 times, some flexibility there if plus defense or power is present.

First Base:

  • Above average D I power & ability to hit for average (generally determined by hitting mechanics, bat speed, size & strength).
  • Soft hands, good footwork around the bag.
  • 60 times don’t matter as much for 1Bs, but 7.40 is a reasonable time to expect.

Center Field:

  • Speed: 6.70 range or better preferably. 1st step quickness & instincts can help overcome a slower time.  Still, anything less than 6.80 is hard to overcome for a D I level CF.
  • Defensive ability: good range, instincts, first step quickness.
  • Above average athleticism
  • Ability to hit for average against D I caliber pitching (generally determined by hitting mechanics, bat speed, size & strength)
  • Arm strength isn’t as important but upper 70s to low 80s or better position velocity is reasonable to expect (low 80 to mid 80s preferable).

Right Field:

  • Pure Arm Strength: 85 mph or better position velocity (preferably 88 or better).
  • Ability to provide offense (power and/or ability to hit for average against good D I caliber pitching…generally determined by hitting mechanics, bat speed, size & strength)
  • Solid range, instincts, and 1st step quickness defensively.
  • 7.00 or better 60 times, some flexibility there if plus defense or power is present. Still, anything less than 7.20-7.30 is hard to overcome for a D I level corner outfielder.

Left Field:

  • Ability to provide offense (power and/or ability to hit for average against good D I caliber pitching…generally determined by hitting mechanics, bat speed, size & strength)
  • Solid range, instincts, and 1st step quickness defensively.
  • 7.00 or better 60 times, some flexibility there if plus defense or power is present. Still, anything less than 7.20-7.30 is hard to overcome for a D I level corner outfielder.
  • Arm strength isn’t as important but upper 70s to low 80s or better position velocity is reasonable to expect (low 80 to mid 80s preferable).

*Note: D II and small school (D III, NAIA, JUCO) comparisons to D I (measurables):

D II:

  • 1 to 2 tenths slower 60 times compared to D I
  • 2 to 3 mph slower velocity compared to D I

D III:

  • 2 to 3 tenths slower 60 times compared to D I
  • 3 to 5 mph slower velocity compared to D I

Aside from the measurables like speed and velocity, a big difference in D I and small school players is size/body type, overall athleticism, raw ability, mechanics/technique, fluidity of movement, etc. In general, scholarship caliber D I players tend to have better hitting & pitching mechanics, better defensive actions (hands, feet, fluidity of movement, etc) along with being a little bigger, faster and more athletic than D II players. Like wise, scholarship caliber D II player tend to have better hitting & pitching mechanics, better defensive actions (hands, feet, fluidity of movement, etc) along with being a little bigger, faster and more athletic than small school (D III, NAIA, and JUCO) players. Of course there are exceptions, but in general this is the conclusion that college coaches have come to when prioritizing scholarship caliber players.