How to Get Drafted in Baseball

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Separating myth from truth about how baseball players get drafted.

I want to address a question that comes up from time to time – “how do I get drafted in baseball.”

With this question being thrown around on the web by inquisitive college and high school players, I have seen many interesting answers that are not helpful to anyone that wants to play professional baseball.  It also looks like the people that are answering this question don’t know anything about the workings of a baseball organization.  I am not saying that I know everything about baseball, but I’ve played professionally for 10 years now so I’ve learned a thing or two about getting drafted.

Top Myths for How to get drafted in baseball

Myth #1 – Who you know.  Just because you know a player in an organization he is not going to help you get drafted.  Knowing the right scout, coach, or high front office person might be helpful, but even this won’t guarantee anything.

Myth #2 – Social Media.  Being a social media monster isn’t going to help either.  Putting your videos on You Tube is just a waste of time.  When you jump from high school or college to professional baseball you are getting into the business of baseball.  Just like any other business out there, they want to be competitive and get the best employees out there.  Professional scouts are not looking online at facebook and You Tube to find their next 5th round outfielder.

3 Truths for How to get drafted in baseball

Truth #1 – Play well.  Sorry to state the obvious, but there it is…  The very best way to get noticed is to play well.

Truth #2 – Play often.  Playing on multiple teams will not only let you hone your skill through practice (Baseball is a skill specific sport where you need to work on your craft), but it gives you additional opportunities to be seen by scouts.    Play in as many games as possible.  Play your high school or college season and play in a wood bat summer league.  These summer leagues are all over the country.  It can be good to play in different parts of the country so different scouts can see you play the game.  (FYI we do NOT advocate sacrificing all other sports in favor of playing baseball only.  Click here to learn why we think so.)

Truth #3 – Play with the best.  Playing with players who are better than you will not only help to make you a better player, but it can actually help you get noticed.  Maybe you are like me where scouts were not lining up to see me play, but I had some studs on my team and we played against some really high profile players that scouts were wanting to see.  Being on the same field gave me a chance to play for these scouts.  They weren’t there for me, but if I played well enough they might notice me.  It only takes one scout and one team to believe in you, it doesn’t take any more.

The bottom line.  Don’t over complicate the whole process.  If you play well enough the scouts will find you.  But also give them a chance to find you by playing a lot, and of course being strategic about when and where you play.

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About Author

Doug Bernier, founder of Pro Baseball Insider.com, debuted in the Major Leagues in 2008 with the Colorado Rockies, and has played professional baseball for 5 organizations (CO Rockies, NY Yankees, PIT Pirates, MN Twins, & TX Rangers) over the past 16 years. He has Major League time at every infield position, and has played every position on the field professionally except for catcher. Where is he now? After 16 years of playing professionally, he is now a professional scout with the Colorado Rockies. You should click to watch this great defensive play by Bernier

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28 Comments

  1. I was wondering, is it possible to try out out for a major league team or even get noticed by coaches and scouts if you have not played in college? My friend, he is 20 and he played all through out hs and he has played every single day this summer so far. He plays in different cities and goes to florida in the fall to play. He just has a dream to play for the detroit tigers (:

  2. Kevin Hannah on

    I am 13 years old right now and have a dream to be in the MLB. I do play competitive baseball but what are the odds of making it?

    • Less than 5% of all players 18 yrs old and above get drafted every year. But remember if no one ever tries no one ever makes it right! My son is trying to make it right now as well he is 18. I say you have only not trying to regret. Give you’re all with no regrets…..

  3. Hello Doug,

    I’ve been a mascot for the Springfield Vampires for the last 37 years. I am very talented and a sponsor for the “Raise the Roof” T-Shirt Gun Emporium, I am currently looking for a way to mascot for the big boy’s. Do you have any advice for me? Thanks Doug.

    -Bat The Bat

  4. Hi Doug my name is Chris carter I’ve played baseball since I was young I had my first daughter at 17 and had to go to work to support my family I now have 4 kids two boys and two girls I’m 25 years old now and getting back into baseball between work when I stopped playing I was throwing 90 mph I know it will take a while to get back to where I was but I was wondering how old can you be and if you did not play college ball can you still be drafted and if you could give me any advice to help me out I’d really appreciate it

  5. Jason LoCascio on

    Good morning Doug!
    My name is Jason and I am a 9th grader at a high school in New Jersey. In my Rhetoric class I am researching the path to the MLB and what it takes to get there. I’ve watched you play on TV before and noticed that you are a very talented infielder. I am a shortstop for my school and travel team and hope for one day that I get to play in the majors just like you. I came across your writing on how to get to the MLB and I would really like to learn more especially coming from an expert like you. If I could get your email so I could learn more that would be great!

  6. Hey Doug
    I am a seventh grader in North Carolina. I love baseball and hope to play pro baseball. I field really well, although I am a light hitter. I play rec ball and middle school baseball. Is their any tips you could give me outside of this article on how to get drafted, or at least grow as a player?
    Thanks

  7. Just starting Juco this year. Will it help me to use a wood bat to get noticed? Or should I use a metal bat, and maybe get slightly better stats. I’m comfortable with a wood bat, because I’ve played the last several summers with one. Thanks in advance for your advice.

    • Isaiah,
      I think the bat you choose should be one you feel comfortable with. I think if you can use a metal bat you should (your coach may want the better stats too). Scouts are used to seeing collegiate players use metal bats. Also i think its great that you play in a summer league that uses wood bats. That is another great way to get noticed. But if physically your aren’t 100% ready to swing a wood bat (which many players aren’t their freshman year) your production could suffer and scouts will notice and your coaches may look for a player that will put up better stats. Im not sure with your comfort level with a wood bat but I think if you can use a metal bat I know I would, and did use a metal bat. Thats my input but you make the decision that you believe will be best for you. Good luck and thanks for your question.

      Doug

  8. my son is 23 he was a catcher for his college team. he was 8th in nation in hitting, won the AAC player of the week. he had a concussion in april and to set out . by that time the season was over. can he still get drafted.

  9. My son is currently going to a 4 year college. He was a RS as a freshman and will be a Sophomore in baseball eligibility. He will be 21 in January. He has some great numbers as a RH pitcher. I believe he is not eligible for the draft until 2015, but can they talk to him this spring after turning 21?

    • Linda, my understanding from Jim Thrift, veteran Orioles Scout who consults for us, is that he is eligible if he will be 21 at the time of the draft. Hope that answers your question. Good luck to you and your son :)

  10. Hi Doug- Do MLB Scouts talk to, call or email college freshman players or do they typically wait until junior year to make contact and express interest?
    Thank you!

    • Hi Judy. I just spoke with Jim Thrift, currently a Baltimore Orioles Scout and more than 2 decades of experience scouting for MLB teams. I asked him your question and also asked what age is it when are players eligible for the draft. Jim says that as a college freshman or junior you may see the scouts at the games and they may say hi, try to develop a relationship, etc. but that players at a 4 year university aren’t eligible for the draft until their junior year or they turn 21. So the short answer is yes they might, but not to worry if they don’t. And just FYI, Junior college players are eligible if they turn 19 years old by the time of the draft. Thanks for the question, and I hope this helps!

  11. Hey Doug,

    I was just wondering if there were “tryouts” for MLB teams or do scouts have to look at you.

    • Hey Brendan. I was just speaking to Jim Thrift, currently a Baltimore Orioles Scout and more than 2 decades of experience scouting for MLB teams, about your question. Yes there are official MLB tryouts. You have to be at least 16 years old to participate. Here is the official MLB tryout schedule. He says that scouts do like to see players at the tryouts, but also if you are a good player you will be found in other ways. Generally scouts call their network of baseball coaches and ask who on their team they should be taking a look at. They may also attend some showcases to see players in action. Hope this helps!

  12. Great website I just found it the other day and shared it with my players (I run a travel ball club in CA and coach my sons Juniors (13-14yo) team.

    I had the opportunity, through a HS coach friend of mine, to meet one of the scouts for the Reds. He told us basically the same thing, practice, play a lot and work hard and they will find you, it’s what they are paid to do.

  13. Well stated…makes good sense. I,guess you just wonder how the scouts can find all the talented players. I am sure some,get missed even so. It seems most of the scouts are looking at the pitchers from what I have noticed at games. I love the game and not sure what I will do after this season. My son is a senior who plays college baseball for Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fl.. Of course like most parents we think our son is draft potential, but honestly he is very good. He is a first baseman and as I tell everyone he makes plays like the guys on TV, lol. I guess will cross fingers and hope he as a stellar season and continue to get noticed.

    • Brenda,
      Thanks for your comment. I know it can be a stressful time and I hope things workout for your son. One thing he has going for him is that Florida has a lot of scouts running through there, because of all the talent around the state. Good luck and I hope things work out.

      Doug Bernier

  14. Great blog, Doug! My son loves it, he is only an eighth grader and his passion (no surprise!) is baseball. He has played on a traveling team for two years as well as his Junior High team. He is already researching which colleges disburse the most MLB draft picks! Does this make a difference in the big picture? He really wants his life to revolve around the sport…ideas for college major? Business? Sports Medicine? Thanks for your input!

    • Tami,

      I am glad your son likes our site. Keep checking it, we will be adding videos to our articles over the next few months. Also we plan on adding new things all the time.
      I truly believe that the college your son picks will not have a huge impact on him getting drafted. On our team this year, about half the guys that went to college went to schools that are not household names. Sometimes that may even be an advantage. First of all, you can only get better as a player if you actually play. If he is fortunate enough to start at a big school his freshman year, thats awesome. But if not, it may be better to go to a school where he can play right away and get better.
      Playing at a big school allows for more looks from scouts because consistently they get scouts at every game. But small schools play big schools frequently and he will get looks at those games. Now coaches and scouts talk and trust me if he plays well he will be found. In my situation I wasn’t the best player on my college team but the players that were better brought the scouts in and I played well enough to catch their eye. The biggest thing is, if he plays well enough he will be found.
      I don’t know what your son likes when it comes to school. Even when he does play pro ball I hope he will be able to go back and finish school. It didn’t seem like a big deal to me at the time, but now I am so glad I went back after my first professional season to finish. I majored in exercise science and I wish I would have done business. Since everything is a business I think it would have been more beneficial. I believe that if your priorities are right you can balance baseball with academics.
      Hopefully that helps a little. Any more questions or comments let me know. Thanks

      Doug Bernier

  15. Doug, the "bug" on

    It’s TRUE–If you play well, the Scouts will FIND you. When I was a young man playing for a California “Semi-pro” team. I had just finished reading Ted Williams’ book–The Science of Hitting. The next 5-6 games I batted 17 for 21.( GREAT BOOK for hitting instruction, by the way.) Anyway, the scouts found ME; Cleveland, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, California Angels & Oakland A’s.. I mean these guys came out of the woodwork! I was going to Long Beach State University at the time, so the first thing they asked me was where I went to school. I found out later that they did this so they could come see me play & assess my abilities against other college competition. I played one season at Long Beach, but playing against teams like USC and UCLA (exhibition games) also helped bring out the Scouts.

    And no, I didn’t get drafted because music was my passion(baseball was #2), and by the time next June’s draft came around–I had graduated college and already left baseball to embark on a cross-country music tour.

  16. dave pankenier on

    It is never easy to get signed but you are in front of the people who have the power to sign you. I will also say in the 5 years that i was part of this open tryout with the KC Royals we did sign at least 1 player every year out of this open camp.

  17. dave pankenier on

    Many teams also have tryouts camps each year. Go to mlb.com and look for when the teams have the tryout camps which are free.

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