Evaluation & Recruiting

Our Process for Player Evaluation & Recruiting (A Summary)

There are 7 steps:

  1. Identification
  2. Digital Evaluation
  3. Information Collection
  4. Prioritization
  5. In Person Evaluation
  6. Campus Visit Experience
  7. Scholarship Decision

This process is applicable to high school recruits. 

For two-year and four-year transfers, the process is similar but happens much faster.

December, January, February
Identification, Digital Evaluation, Information Collection

  • With the help of trusted contacts in the areas that we recruit, social media, and showcase/recruiting services we begin building a list of juniors to follow in the spring and summer.
  • When we receive leads on players, the first thing we do is track down & evaluate in-game video, measurables, and Trackman/Rapsodo reports (if available).
  • If we have interest in a player, our first contact with them is via phone call. The goal of this call is to get to know them as people. To learn more about their family, interests outside the game, academic interests/career goals, playing experiences, and what they are looking for in a school & program.
  • The purpose of the second contact is to introduce them to our program & share more about the student-athlete experience here at UCWV.
  • After the second contact, if we are still interested in the recruit, we typically have phone or video calls with these players every other week. Our entire staff is involved with these calls. Between calls we send individualized recruiting graphics, hand written notes, individualized video recordings, and text messages.
  • In proceeding conversations we ask question to gauge competitive makeup (our definition: passion/perseverance, work ethic, discipline, accountability, communication, respect, and aptitude) as well as personality.
  • Call assignments are sent to our staff every Monday morning. Coaches complete all calls by Sunday evening.
  • We log conversations on our Communication Tracker which keeps track of the date of last contact & notes from every conversation that our staff has with the recruit. The tracker is shared with all members of our staff so that coaches can make calls with context of past conversations.
  • We host a winter prospect camp in early February. We try to get as many of our targets there as possible. Many times this is our first in-person look at these individuals.
  • We attend showcases, practices (high school & travel), and workouts (indoor facilities) throughout these three months.
  • We use ARMS, a comprehensive recruiting software, to organize the information that we collect & rank our targets within each position group (outfielders, infielders, catchers, & pitchers) based on priority.
  • Headed into the spring, I work alongside our Assistant Coaches and Head Coach to identify our ‘Top 100’ targets.

March, April, May

  • We host Junior Day events throughout the spring where we invite these players and their families to campus for small-group unofficial visits on game days.
  • We attend high school games throughout the spring, primarily in-state.
  • If/when we identify junior college needs, during the spring months our priority will quickly shift to JUCO recruiting.
  • Throughout the spring, we narrow our big board down from our ‘Top 100’ to our ‘Top 50’.

June, July
In Person Evaluation

  • Our goal is to be as prepared as possible leading up to the primary in-person evaluation & recruiting period in June and July.
  • We finalize our staff’s recruiting calendar in May. Where we spend June & July is impacted by who our top targets are and where they are playing. 
  • During these two months we see our Top 50 Targets in-person as often as possible. It is rare that we will go to a game that doesn’t have at least 1 of our Top 50 targets playing in it.
  • Throughout the summer, after seeing a recruit play in 2-3 games (position players) or 1-2 games (pitchers), our staff files scouting reports on players in our Top 50. Positionally, beyond tools, there are skills/athletic markers that we are looking for. Grades (20-80) are assigned to each skill. Reports are stored, sortable by date and/or grades, and are easily accessible by all members of our staff.
  • It is during this time that we request academic transcripts and physical/medical records (if available).
  • During this time, prospects that we did not know about prior to the summer will be identified & added to our Top 50 targets list.

August, September, October
Campus Visit Experience, Scholarship Decision

  • Beginning in late July, we narrow our Top 50 Target list down to our Top 20-30 depending on our roster size & needs within the program.
  • We rely heavily on a quantitative tool called Overall Present Potential to decide on which players we will offer. OPP is a weighted numerical measurement, prioritizing players based on assigned skill grades, and the skills we prioritize at each position. This tool is an adaptation of Overall Future Potential, used by many professional organizations.
  • During the late summer & early fall, we bring these individuals on campus for unofficial & official visits.
  • When possible we schedule two-day, overnight visits. Some weekends we may have two, three, or four prospects visiting at the same time. The current players in our program play an integral role in the recruitment of potential student athletes.
  • Typically, campus visits (whether one day or two) consists of observing practice, a meal, position coach meetings, a meeting with the Director of Player Development, a meeting with the Head Coach, a meeting with admissions and or faculty, a full-uniform photo shoot, and spending time with current players in our program.
Evaluation Philosophy

We are not just collecting talent, we are building teams.

Evaluation is a balance of what we see with our eyes, feel in our gut, and what the numbers tell us. 

The more we evaluate a prospect, the less risk there is in decision making.

Everybody on the field is a prospect until they show us that they’re not.

We are looking for players who have the present or potential, future skill set to help us compete at the national level. 

We see players not just for who they are today, but for the type of player that they could be in the future.

We ask the questions ‘why’, ‘how’, and ‘what if’. If a player lacks a certain skill, but excels in another part of the game, do we have the people & resources to help him improve the skill that holds him back? 

We will make decisions by evaluating a player’s: (a) tools & skills, (b) makeup, and (c) the needs of the program.

Failure is an inherent part of evaluation. When we don’t make the right decision on a player, we will seek to (a) understand what went wrong and why, (b) re-evaluate & make necessary changes to our system for player evaluation, and (c) share with one another what we learned.

Share what you see and what you think NOT what you have been told.

Tools & Skills

Tools: what you can measure; measurables of strength and speed.

The 5 tools that we evaluate.

1) Hit (Contact) 

2) Hit (Power) 

3) Field

4) Throw

5) Run

Skills: how & to what extent a player uses their tools when playing the game. 

8 skills that we look for & we evaluate:

1) Instincts

2) Intelligence (Baseball IQ) 

3) Approach

4) Adjustability

5) Presence

6) Composure

7) Consistency

8) Motor

In large part, tools are evaluated objectively. Skills are evaluated subjectively.

Tools are easier to evaluate than skills.

Tools often develop faster than skills.

Many amateur players have tools; fewer players have skills. 

Tools & skills are not mutually exclusive. Every player has tools and skills; but some players have more tools than skills, and others more skills than tools.

Positional Tools of Importance

Below is the ideal tools profile for position players in our program.

There will be times when a player that we are recruiting does not fit their positional profile, and that is OK. 

We value defense up the middle and the hit tool.

If they can’t play the field or hit, they better be able to run.

Average of the Top 50%

This chart assists us in recruiting, while quantifying the success & shortcomings of our player development efforts.

The numbers listed below details the average of the top 50% of our players, divided by position group. 

Identifying the measurables of our top 25% sheds light into the type of players in our program & gives us a baseline for the type of position players that we need to recruit in order to move our program forward.

We do not expect every incoming freshmen to have better measurables than the current players in our program, but every prospect we recruit should be in the ballpark of our Top 25% with at least 2 tools. 

Considerations for Evaluation: The Swing

When evaluating swings, this is a good place to start.

These are considerations; all hitters will have multiple ‘deficiencies’ in their swing.

That said, we need to have reasonable confidence that a hitter’s swing will play at our level.

Negative Movement: Does the hitter keep his knee/hip inside his back foot when he loads?

Creating Separation: Does the hitter walk away from his hands?

Posture: When the batter loads, is his head slightly in front of his belly button? At contact, is the hitter’s head slightly behind his belly button?

Stability of Base: Is the hitter’s back heel on the ground at front foot plant? Is the hitter’s front knee inside of his ankle at front foot plant?

Loss of Space: During the swing, does the hitter keep his butt behind his heels?

Forward Movement: Is there some forward movement toward the pitcher? Is there no backward movement with the heel through contact?

Sequencing: Does the hitter start the swing from the ground up (hips/torso/hands)?

The Barrel: Does the hitter keep a ≤ 90° angle between his forearm and bat head?

The Hands: Does the hitter’s hands cast away from his body as he begins his swing?

Back Elbow: At front foot plant, is the hitter’s back elbow below his hands?

Staying Behind the Ball: Does the hitter stay behind his front hip through contact?

Bat Path: Does the hitter’s bat path match the plane of the pitch?

Push: Does the hitter’s back elbow slot and get the hands & bat on plane? 

Considerations for Evaluation: Hitting

Hard Hit Ball Consistency

  • How frequently are balls hit hard between 3-8 flight? 
  • In what part(s) of the zone does the hitter hit the ball hardest? 
  • What part of the field are most balls hit to (middle, pullside, opposite field)?
  • Can he hit velocity?

Plate Discipline & Plate Recognition

  • Does the hitter swing at strikes?
  • Does the hitter consistently chase a certain type of pitch?
  • Does the hitter consistently chase pitches in a certain location?


  • Does he have it?
  • To what parts of the field? 
  • Is his power gap-to-gap or does he have home run potential?   
  • Is power present in game or only during batting practice?


  • Is there swing & miss versus the fastball?
  • Is there a certain off-speed pitch that he struggles to make contact with?

Situational Hitting

  • Does the hitter appear to have an approach? 
  • Does his approach change with runners on base/inning/score of game?
  • Can the hitter hit behind runners?

Ability to Hit Off-speed

  • Can the hitter put off-speed pitches in play? 
  • Can he hit mistakes left out over the plate?
  • How early can he read off-speed?  
  • Does the hitter’s swing have adjustability? 
Considerations for Evaluation: Defense


  • Are pitches that should be strikes called strikes? 
  • Does he beat the ball to the spot?
  • Does he expand the strike zone on certain pitch types or locations? 
  • Can he catch velocity?
  • What to look for: minimal body movement, soft hands, quiet head, maintains balance.


  • Can he read spin well? Does he anticipate break? 
  • Can he consistently block the ball with the center of his body?
  • Can he block balls to his left & right?
  • How good is his mobility?  

Catch & Throw

  • Is his footwork on line with the base that he is throwing to? 
  • Does he have confidence in throwing behind runners? 
  • What is his pop time? What is the difference between showcase & game?

Strength of Arm

  • Does the catcher’s throw have carry? 
  • Does the catcher’s ball have movement (cut/tail) or is it straight (backspin)? 

Accuracy of Arm

  • How accurate are the catcher’s throws?

Athleticism, Coordination, Actions

  • Is his footwork light & quick?  
  • How soft are his wrists & hands? 
  • Is he in control of his body?
  • Does his body self organize?
  • Did he field all three types of hops: short, high, rolling?


  • Can he make plays to his forehand & backhand? 
  • Can he make plays on balls he charges? 
  • How long are his strides?
  • How flexible is he? 


  • How quickly does he react to balls in play?  
  • Does he take accurate angles at/to the ball? 
  • How early can he read hops?
  • Can he make adjustments to bad hops & misreads?

Strength of Arm

  • Does his throw have carry? Is it straight or does it have arc?
  • Does his ball have movement (cut/tail) or is it straight (backspin)? 
  • How quick is his catch & release? 

Accuracy of Arm

  • How accurate are the infielder’s throws?
  • Can he make accurate throws from multiple arm slots?


  • How aggressive is he getting to the ball?
  • Does he get around balls on the ground?
  • Can he control his acceleration/deceleration to get behind balls in the air & create momentum through the catch and throw?
  • Does he field it out in front? Do his hands work through the ball?


  • How much ground can he cover? 
  • How quick can he accelerate?


  • How quickly does he read contact off the bat? 
  • Does he take accurate routes to balls in play?
  • Can he read tail & spin?
  • When he takes his eyes off the ball, can he pick it back up? 

Strength of Arm

  • Does his throw have carry? When it bounces, what kind of hop does it have (skip or weak bounce)?
  • Does the his throw have movement (cut/tail) or is it straight? 
  • How quick is his release from catch to throw?

Accuracy of Arm

  • Does he throw through the cutoff man?
  • How accurate are his throws to bases?
  • Can he make accurate throws on balls to his forehand & backhand? 
Considerations for Evaluation: Baserunning

Speed & Athleticism

  • How fast is the baserunner?
  • How quick is his acceleration?
  • Does he have long strides or short strides?

Instincts & IQ

  • How fast does he make decisions?
  • Is he aggressive & confident?
  • Is he self-aware of his speed? 
  • Does he get good reads on balls in the dirt?
  • Can he pick up on pitcher tendencies?
Considerations for Evaluation: Pitching


  • What is the pitcher’s present range of velocity? 
  • Does the pitcher’s velocity change later in the game?


  • Can the pitcher locate his fastball arm side & glove side? 
  • Can the pitcher locate his fastball two balls off the plate to his arm side & glove side? 
  • Can the pitcher elevate the fastball when necessary? 
  • Can the pitcher locate two fastballs to the same spot in two consecutive pitches?
  • Does the pitcher’s control change when he is in the stretch vs. windup? 


  • How does the fastball move (sink, run, or cut)? 
  • How much does the fastball move? 
  • How late does the fastball move? 

Swing & Miss Ability

  • Does the fastball get swings & misses in the strike zone? 
  • Do hitters chase the fastball outside of the strike zone?  


  • Can the pitcher consistently locate his best off-speed pitch in the bottom 1/3rd of the strike zone? 
  • Can the pitcher locate a ball in the dirt when he wants to?
  • Does the pitcher have the confidence to throw off-speed pitches in disadvantaged counts? 


  • What is the shape of the off-speed pitch? 
  • How late does the off-speed pitch begin to break?
  • How much does the off-speed pitch move / how sharp is it’s break? 

Swing & Miss Ability

  • Does the off-speed pitch get swings & misses in the strike zone? 
  • Do hitters chase the off-speed pitch outside of the strike zone?  
  • Is there deception? How does the hitter react to the pitch?
  • Is the pitcher’s arm action & arm speed the same as when he throws the FB?  
  • Is the pitch coming out of the same tunnel as the FB or does it go up or out at release? 
  • What is the velocity spread between the pitcher’s FB and OS?



  • Does the pitcher get to bunts quickly? 
  • Does the pitcher make the routine play on ground balls? 
  • Does the pitcher have situational awareness and instincts?

Controlling the Running Game

  • Is the pitcher quick to home plate? 
  • What is the pitcher’s pickoff move like to 1B & 2B?
Considerations for Evaluation: The Pitching Delivery

Dynamic Balance (Knee Lift, Posture, Lower Half)

  • Is the pitcher’s whole back foot anchored into the ground?
  • Does the pitcher have forward movement as his front knee lifts? 
  • Right before front foot strike, are the pitcher’s hips & shoulders parallel? 
  • Does the pitcher engage his glutes or is he quad dominant?
  • Does the pitcher’s head & eyes stay steady/calm throughout the delivery? 
  • Overall, how does the pitcher move? Is he stiff or loose?

Direction (Position at Front Foot Strike)

  • Is the pitcher’s front foot in line with home plate (within 3”)?
  • Is the pitcher’s arm at or close to 90 degrees?
  • Does the pitcher create hip & shoulder separation? 
  • Are the pitcher’s scaps slightly retracted? 
  • Is the pitcher’s head above the body’s midline? 
  • How far is the pitcher’s stride length?

Arm Action (Release Point)

  • Is the pitcher’s arm action clean or unique (hook, wrap, stab, inverted W)? 
  • Is the pitcher’s arm speed quick?
  • Does the front leg firm or absorb force? 
  • Does the pitcher release the ball out in front of his front foot?

Follow Through (Deceleration) 

  • Does the pitcher finish with his back shoulder facing the hitter? 
  • How quick does the pitcher rotate around his front leg?
Considerations for Evaluation: Statistics That We Value

For hitters, the two statistics that we value most are: ISO and K %. We want to identify, evaluate, and recruit hitters with power & who put the ball in play consistently. 

For pitchers, the two statistics that we value most are: BB/9 % & K/9 %. We want to identify, evaluate, and recruit players who limit free bases and have swing & miss stuff.

These statistics are especially relevant in JUCO recruiting, where we are recruiting proven production.

We have access to a JUCO stats sortable database developed by a friend of the program who is proficient with statistical programming.

There are over 12,000 JUCO players in the county. This database has current stats for every single player. The process of identifying who is the right fit for our program can be overwhelming. This database makes our job easier.

We can sort the stats based off of what we value. For example, we could run a search for: JUCO sophomore catchers who played in 35+ games, have a batting average of .300+, an ISO of .200, and a K% of under 15%. 

Are there variables with JUCO stats? Absolutely. Strength of competition, defense, etc. But stats are a starting point in identifying & evaluating JUCO prospects.

Considerations for Evaluation: Makeup

Past behavior is the most reliable predictor of future behavior.

We will make every effort to get talent AND character right.

We won’t take risks on selfish players.

Makeup impacts decision making; which players to pursue, how much to pay, and how his makeup impacts his future role. 

What we look for in players that we recruit:

GRIT (Passion & Perseverance) 

  • Does he love to play the game? 
  • How bad does he want to be on the field?
  • What kind of adversity has he experienced in baseball & life? 

Work Ethic

  • Will he work hard to develop his game when he is here?
  • Does he work hard at things other than baseball? 
  • Is he independent or does he need to be told what to do? 


  • Can we trust him to make good decisions?
  • Is he consistent? Is he dependable? 
  • Are his actions consistent with his aspirations? 


  • Is he willing to be held accountable? 
  • Does he hold other people accountable? 


  • Is he fully engaged in face-to-face conversation? 
  • Will he be invested in what we are trying to build?


  • How does he treat his parents/guardians?
  • How does he treat his teammates? 
  • How does he treat people who can’t do anything for him? 


  • As coaches, will we enjoy spending time with him every day? 
  • Is he curious & open to trying new things?
  • Is he independent?
  • How quickly/well will he apply what we teach?
Questions We Ask Recruits

Below are sample questions that we may ask prospective student-athletes, in an effort to identify the makeup characteristics that we value.

There are no right or wrong answers.

We are seeking to learn more about how they think and what they value.

GRIT (Passion & Perseverance) 

  • Everyone plays the game for different reasons — Why do you play the game? What about the game do you love? 
  • Tell me about a time in life that you experienced adversity. What adversity did you experience? What did you learn? 
  • How many travel teams have you played for since you were 13? Of the teams you left, why did you leave?
  • How do you think you will handle being away from home; being away from family, friends, and familiarity? 

Work Ethic

  • Walk me through a day in the life, start to finish. When does it start, when does it end? What do you enjoy doing when you are not in school? 
  • What are your goals for your playing career? How far off are you from achieving your goals? What do you need to do in order to achieve those goals?  
  • Do your daily actions & behaviors align with the vision that you have for your career?


  • What kind of program do you want to be part of? 
  • Beyond baseball, what do you hope to get out of your college experience?  
  • What is the toughest decision that you have ever had to make? Why was it tough? Why did you make the decision that you did? 


  • Tell me about a time recently that you were put in a position of leadership. Who did you lead? How did you lead?  What did you learn? 
  • If I asked your teammates to describe you as a teammate — what would they say? How would they describe you as a leader? 
  • Of all your teammates that you have ever played with, who do you have the most respect for? Why? 
  • Think back to a time that someone held you accountable — whether a parent,  coach, teacher, teammate — in what did they hold you accountable? Was it justified? What did you learn from it? 
  • How do you seek to develop yourself as a person & as a leader? 


  • From the research that you have done on our university & program, what questions do you have for me? 
  • As recruits answer our questions we will take note of their eye contact, body language, and confidence of speech.


  • Tell me a little bit about your support system. Who are the most important people in your life? Why are they important to you?  
  • When was the last time you participated in community service? What did you do? Who did you serve?  
  • Tell me about a time that you had a positive impact on another person. Who was it, and how did you impact them? 


  • Of all the coaches that you have played for, who was your favorite? Why did you like playing for them? What did they teach you? 
  • In your game, tell me about your latest break-through. Whether with your swing or approach. What has recently changed? What clicked?
  • How do you respond to constructive criticism?
Questions We Ask Coaches of Recruits

Below are sample questions that we may ask coaches of prospective student-athletes that we are recruiting to learn more about a player’s makeup.

Coaches provide valuable perspective.

  • How would you describe his personality?
  • How would you describe his level of maturity?
  • Is he responsible? Is he independent?
  • Does he do what he says he is going to do?
  • Does he show up to the ballpark the same player, person, & teammate every day? Is he consistent?
  • Off the field, can you trust him to make good decision?
  • Do his teammates trust & respect him?   
  • Do you have any reservations about his work ethic? 
  • How committed is he to his academics?  
  • If you were in my shoes, you get a choose who joins your program, would you want this kid on your team?  
Tips for In-Person Evaluation

Here are a collection of tips on in-person evaluation that I have gathered from coaches & scouts over the years. 

Showcases & Workouts

60 Yard Dash

  • If possible, run the 60 at a football field or soccer field to make sure the player is running 60yds. If on a football field (100yd + (2) 10yd endzones), start the player on the backend of the endzone and run through the 50yd line. If on a soccer field (120yd) start the player on the far goal line and run through the midfield line. 
  • Position yourself to the side of the cone that the player is running through.  
  • Start your watch at first move, stop your watch as he passes the front of the cone. 
  • Is the 60 ran on turf or grass? 
  • Is the 60 ran with wind at the athlete’s back or front? 
  • Is the player starting with his front foot open or in line with his back foot? 

Defensive Evaluation/Positional Velocity

  • If possible, have infielders make throws from deep SS to 1B and outfielders make throws from straight up RF to 3B and HP. 
  • When evaluating infielders, if possible stand behind the 1B (if there is a net or fence). The second best position is to position yourself to the right of home plate. 
  • When evaluating outfielders position yourself to the right of home plate. 
  • The goal is to evaluate a player athleticism, coordination, actions, and arm strength. 
  • How quick is the fielder’s transfer? 
  • Does the fielder make a strong throw with one shuffle, or is there additional, unnecessary footwork? 

Batting Practice

  • Position yourself to the open side of the hitter. 
  • The goal is to evaluate a hitter’s raw power, barrel awareness, & adjustability. 
  • Evaluate the hitter’s swing from the ground up. 
  • What are the dimensions of the field? 
  • Is the wind blowing out, in, or to the side? 
  • How firm is the coach’s BP?  

Pop Times

  • Position yourself behind home plate.
  • The goal is to clock the catcher’s pop time & evaluate catch and throw ability. 
  • Start the watch when the catcher receives the ball, stop the watch when the infielder catches the ball. Anticipate contact of both. 
  • How quick is the catcher’s transfer? 
  • Is the catcher in his primary, secondary, or one knee stance? 
  • Is the catcher cheating with his feet staggered? 
  • Is the catcher cheating with being up on/close to the plate? 
  • Is the infielder receiving the ball in front of the bag or over top of the bag? 
  • Is the infielder reaching for the ball or letting it travel? 

Scrimmages & Games 

  • Arrive to the field early. 
  • Watch most of the game from behind home plate, but move down the lines to get different views.
  • Record video so that you can revisit it later. 
  • Lock in on one or two players, but watch the whole game. 
  • Be cognizant of how much time you are spending writing notes, on your phone, and talking with other people. 
  • Listen to the conversations that are happening around you. 
  • Don’t draw attention to yourself. 
  • Watch what happens between pitches, outs, and innings. 
  • Evaluate instincts. 
  • Evaluate baseball intelligence. 
  • Evaluate approach.
  • Evaluate the ability to make adjustments. 
  • Evaluate the ability to perform in high pressure situations. 
  • Evaluate presence. 
  • Evaluate personality & interactions.
Information Collection & Organization (Operational & Administrative)

The recruiting software that we use is ARMS.

After the first phone call with a recruit, we send them a recruiting questionnaire to collect their personal, contact, athletic, and academic information.

We ask for the recruit to complete the questionnaire within 24 hours of when they receive it.

Placing a timeline on completion gauges interest, attention to detail, and ability to follow simple directions.

Additionally, we use ARMS to create positional Recruiting Boards.

We use six categories: RHP, LHP, C, CIF, MIF, OF.

We rank targets in order of interest/priority.

Our recruiting boards change regularly based off of evaluation and need.

Our recruiting boards are shared with all members of our staff.

Information Collection & Organization (Scouting Reports)

We use (4) different Scouting Reports.

One each for: catchers, infielders, outfielders, and pitchers.

Scouting Reports take 8-12 minutes to complete.

Scouting Reports are submitted after we evaluate a position player in-game 2-3 times, and a pitcher in-game 1-2 times.

Leading up to the submission of a scouting report, coaches are encouraged to use their own system for note taking.

Players can be on our recruiting board without a report submitted.

We encourage our staff to have confidence in their evaluation ability & stand behind their recommendations. There should be no gray area; evaluations should be black or white.

We use Google Forms so that we can easily sort the data that is submitted.

Here are links to two sample scouting reports.

To see what the report is like in it’s entirety, you are welcome complete an entry.

A link to a pitcher’s scouting report (*SAMPLE*): LINK

A link to an infielder’s scouting report (*SAMPLE*): LINK

Roles: Present & Future

It is important that we define the type of player that we are evaluating. Each prospect that we evaluate is assigned a present & future role.  

A majority of the players that we recruit should profile as future starters on a championship winning team (ceiling), and have the present ability to help us win in some role (floor). 

A Quantitative Approach to Decision Making

Overall Present Potential (OPP) is a weighted numerical grade that summarizes our evaluation of a player’s present skillset. 

Though different, OPP is a variation of OFP (Overall Future Potential), a tool used by most big league organizations.

We take projection into consideration, but value present level of ability more.

The evaluation of skills is largely subjective; however the prioritization of which players to offer can be (in part) objective. 

Based off evaluation, OPP helps us prioritize which players to offer post-evaluation. In theory, we should offer the players with the highest OPP score first. 

OPP is our final summary on a player — in numerical form. 

We use an OPP Calculator (built in Google Sheets). The calculator is shared with all members of our staff. 

Weights are different for every position, based off the tools & skills that we value most at each position. 

The greater the weight, the more we value the tool / skill.

Here is an example:

Recruiting Philosophy

The most important part of player development is player selection.

Our responsibility in evaluation & recruiting is to make educated, calculated decisions that will put the program in a position to achieve long-term, sustainable success. 

As a staff, we seek to excel in recruiting by: the way that we communicate (with honesty) and the strength of our relationships (forged through trust).

The stronger our relationships are, the better information that we receive. The better information that we receive, the better decisions we make. 

Our goal in recruiting is to improve our current best

Our Process: 

  1. Identify players who will help us compete at the national level. 
  2. Ensure they meet our standards of character. 
  3. Ensure they will be successful academically.
  4. Get them on campus. 
  5. Show them why they should choose the University of Charleston.
  6. Show them every day why they made the right decision! 

The strongest tool we have in recruiting is our current players and alumni speaking positively about their experience at the University of Charleston. Current & former players serving as ambassadors for the program.

Being told no is OK and part of recruiting. We recruit the most talented players that we can find who will be a great fit for our university & program.

If something does not feel right, we have the courage to walk away.

We work hard to center the recruiting experience around what is most important to the player & his family.

We seek to be forward thinkers and at worst early adapters. 

The Value of Experience

In the Winter of 2020 we did a study on the roster makeup of teams that participated in the College World Series over the last five years.  

For years we believed there was a correlation between experience & teams performing at a high level.

Based on the results of the study, we can confirm, there does appear to be a positive correlation between years of experience & program success.

Starters in the Division II College World Series (2015-2019) averaged 3.10 years of playing experience. 

3.1 years of experience does not factor in playing time, only time spent on a college roster. If a player was a redshirt ____, he was be credited 1 additional year of experience (ex. RS Sophomore = 3 years of experience). 

The average starting lineup in the College World Series had more than (2) JUCO transfers & more than (1) Division 1 transfers. 

How this applies to our program: 

  • Recruit talented HS players, put them in a highly competitive training environment, get them as many reps at game speed as possible early in their career.
  • We have 20+ Development Games on the schedule for the spring of 2021.
  • Our vision is to create a 2-year ‘JUCO’ playing experience for our freshman & sophomores at a 4-year school.
  • Our message to recruits then becomes:

    Come play right away for a nationally competitive Division II program.

    Even if you don’t play right away at the Varsity level, as a freshman / sophomore you will play 20+ games at the Developmental level + we will help you get placed for summer ball.

    Playing early is important to your success as a player, and to our success as a program because: {insert case study here}.
Timeline to Contribution

For most high school players that we recruit, we will only have them for four years.

We must choose our projects wisely. From a present skills standpoint, if a player is behind they must have high upside.

For most junior college players that we recruit, we will only have them for two years.

JUCO recruits need to have the present level of ability to help us compete at the national level.

The quicker a player can contribute, the more games they play in over the course of their career, the more valuable they are to our program.

We build our roster around 4-year players. That said, JUCO recruiting will play an important part in our success.

Here are a few things to consider, comparing JUCO to HS recruiting.

Forecasting Future Needs

We use a 4-year depth chart to forecast future positional needs.

Our goal is to recruit 2 years ahead of any given need

For example, if we project that we will need a starting shortstop in 2023, a player with ‘starter’ level ability should be brought in as part of the 2021 class. 

We pay close attention to the balance of our recruiting classes. We want to avoid situations where the only players at a position are freshmen and seniors. 

Communication Expectations in Recruiting

Players that we are actively recruiting have the ability to reach out to all members of our coaching staff at any time throughout the recruiting process, as frequently as they would like/find necessary.

We initiate contact with players that we are actively recruiting (atleast) once every other week.

Frequency of communication typically increases in the weeks/months leading up to a player’s decision.

We communicate with players via phone call, FaceTime, text message, individualized recruiting graphics, and recorded videos.

All coaches on our staff are involved in the recruitmentment of student-athletes.

Call assignments are sent out to our staff Monday morning.

All calls are expected to be completed by Sunday evening.

How We Track & Monitor Communication

We use a Communication Tracker to track and monitor communication with the players that we are recruiting.

All coaches have access to this spreadsheet.

Contact information for every player that we are actively recruiting can be found on the sheet or in ARMS. 

The Google sheet is conditionally formatted to highlight the following:

  • Most recent communication within the last 10 days in green
  • Most recent communication within the last 11-20 days in yellow
  • Most recent communication within the last 21-30 days in red

The ‘Days Since Last Contact’ column automatically updates every time the document is opened. 

Our Players & Their Involvement in Recruiting

Players Recruit Players

  • People are what makes campus visit experiences memorable.
  • Our players have a say in who we recruit & who joins our program. 
  • We want our players to be honest & real yet positive. 

What is Expected of Our Players

Campus Visits
If they see our staff on a campus tour with a recruit, they go out of their way to say hello. 

  • They engage the recruit in conversation; “where are you from?”, “what do you think about campus so far?”, “will you be at practice later today?”

If eating a meal in the dining hall (and not off campus), players eat lunch with the recruit & his family. While at lunch, players are expected to:

  • Sit across from the recruit.
  • Keep the conversation about the recruit. 
  • Look for opportunities to talk about their experience as a student athlete at the University of Charleston.

Overnight Hosts
Throughout the fall & winter we will host recruits for overnight visits. Case by case, we will ask players to serve as hosts. 

  • The expectation is responsibility.  
  • After the overnight, we ask our players what they think of the recruit. 
  • What kind of questions did he ask?
  • What does he talk about when he is around them? 
  • What is he really interested in (the right things vs. wrong things)? 
  • Does he seem interested & engaged? 
  • Is he a guy that you want to be teammates with?

Team Meetings
If a recruit sits in on a team meeting:

  • Before our players sit down, the expectation is that they introduce themselves and say hello to the recruit & the player’s parents/guardians.
Sample Campus Visit Itinerary (Overnight)

Sample Campus Visit Itinerary (One Day)