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A few decades ago, the NCAA was known for its catchy slogan in its commercials that stated that most college athletes will “Go pro in something other than sports.” This slogan almost makes it seem as if those athletes who do not advance in their sport are just average joes.
This couldn’t be further from the truth as athletes at every level of the NCAA have accomplished amazing things by simply being able to play their sport at the college level. Baseball is no different from all other collegiate sports.
Just over 7% of high school baseball players move on to play baseball at the college level.
This accounts for all levels of college baseball in the NCAA. Continue reading to learn more about just how impressive it is to make it to the collegiate level of baseball.
What Percentage of High School Baseball Players Play at the Division 1 Level?
In 2018-2019, the NCAA did a survey of college baseball players to learn of their expectations of turning pro and to pinpoint the likelihood of it actually happening. In it, they also learned of the likelihood of a high school baseball player going on to play in the NCAA.
In this survey, they found that 2.2% of high school baseball players move on to the Division 1 level. They also found that 2.2% of high school players play at the Division 2 level and 2.9% play Division 3.
This proves what we all thought to be true. It is very difficult to play at the Division 1 level, but many high school players don’t realize just how low the likelihood is of playing at the Division 2 level. It is the exact same according to this study.
Keep in mind that these numbers only reflect participation at NCAA schools. There are other collegiate associations like NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) and NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association).
While these associations are not considered in the NCAA’s survey, there are fewer schools that compete at these levels, so the percentage likely would not change all that much if they were considered.
Why Are These Numbers So Low?
The likelihood of a high school baseball player moving on to play college baseball is low for two main reasons.
1) College athletics are more competitive than high school athletics, and 2) some high school players who have the talent to play collegiately choose not to do so because of the commitment it requires.
At the high school level, coaches often get paid a very small stipend to coach the baseball team on top of keeping their day job. It is impossible to make a living just as a high school baseball coach.
At the college level, on the other hand, coaches are paid a full salary only to coach baseball. Coaches at bigger schools obviously get paid more than coaches at smaller schools. The point here is that baseball is their full-time job.
What happens if these coaches do not win enough games? They lose their job. With so much on the line, they cannot afford to recruit players who are not capable of helping their team win.
Therefore, they recruit the most talented high school players all across the country to come to play for their team. This is very different from high school where coaches are forced to work with the players they have.
Also, college athletics, baseball, in particular, is a huge commitment. During the season, the NCAA allows teams to require mandatory practice and training up to 20 hours per week. That is the same as having a part-time job on top of going to class.
But those 20 hours do not include games, travel on the bus, study hall requirements, etc. Some weeks, players spend as much 60-70 hours a week at the baseball field or doing something baseball-related.
Not all high school baseball players are cut out for this lifestyle. There are several talented high school players who could play at the collegiate level but admit that they do want to make that 60 hour commitment to the sport, which is understandable.
The 7% of high school baseball players that go on to play collegiately are the ones who are both talented and committed enough to do so.
What can I do to increase my chances of playing college baseball?
To increase your chances of playing college baseball, the best thing you can do is work to become a better baseball player. Also, you should ask for your high school or travel ball coach’s help in contacting college coaches to get your name on their radar. Your high school coach can’t work miracles in getting you to college, but his recommendations can help.
What percentage of high school baseball players play professional baseball?
According to this NCAA survey, high school baseball players have a .02% chance to eventually be drafted to play professional baseball. Once they make it to the collegiate level, their chances increase to 9.9%. Division 1 players’ chances increase to 28.5%. In other words, if you want to play professional baseball, playing at the collegiate level greatly increases your chances.