Baseball: The Road to the Top of America’s Greatest Pastime

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TD Ameritrade Park

Home of the College World Series
TD Ameritrade Park via Wikimedia cc

Written by: Tyler Dickinson
Most people have heard of college football’s bowl games and college basketball’s March Madness. But, have you heard of the College World Series? Every June, baseball players around the country show their school spirit as they fight for the top spot. We love this kind of passion. In college baseball, players translate this passion into their play in an attempt to make their mark on America’s greatest pastime. Of course, college, summer collegiate, and high school leagues are all options. Could any of these avenues lead to a professional career in baseball?

College Baseball

Recall the last time you attended a Major League Baseball (MLB) game or watched one on television. That experience is exactly how the College World Series (CWS) is.

Baseball Fun Fact

From February to the end of May, Division I teams play to earn their spots in the NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament. Only the top 64 teams make it. Here, 31 teams will earn their spots by winning their division while a committee votes in the other 33 teams. The top eight teams move on to the College World Series in June. Louisiana State University, University of Florida, Vanderbilt University, and University of Miami were among the top teams in Division I college baseball and favorites to win the 2015 CWS, but the University of Virginia took home the title. The NCAA built its own stadium, TD Ameritrade Park, home of the CWS, and it has been in use since 2011. It acts as the stage for the best college teams to prove their talent. Playing well in college can get a player noticed not only by the MLB but also the Cape Cod League.

Cape Cod League
Home of Cape Cod League’s Harwich Mariners
Whitehouse Field via Flickr cc

The Cape Cod League

The Cape Cod League is one of the 11 NCAA sanctioned collegiate summer baseball leagues and is located in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. In order to play in the Cape Cod League, players must be NCAA eligible at the start of the Cape Cod League Season. There are two divisions, the East and West, and each division has five teams. These 10 teams are their own franchises. They have complete control over recruitment of players, coaches, and staff. The spots on these teams are very competitive, and only the elite make it.

From here, players can enter the draft as long as they have completed their junior year of college, and scouts deem them eligible for the draft. Drafted players develop their skills in the minor leagues until a MLB team believes they are ready.

Mark Teixeira
Mark Teixeira via Wikimedia cc

Some notable MLB players who have played in the Cape Cod League include:

Top players are often noticed during college, but some exceptional athletes are able to grab a recruiter’s attention during high school.

Post High School

After players graduate from high school, they are eligible for the MLB amateur draft. To increase their chances of being noticed, players try to play on the best summer league travel teams in the country. The level of competition on travel teams is much higher than high school. The Baseball Fun Factbest players from the surrounding areas try out for these teams. If players value further education or need more time to develop their skills, college baseball will benefit them.

It’s understandable that high school draftees pose more risk than collegiate player draftees. The college players have experienced higher levels of competition, and there is a more precise basis to judge the players’ skills. In 2014, 16 out of 34 first round draftees were directly out of high school. Some teams are willing to take a chance with special high school talent such as Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, and Jose Fernandez.

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