Here’s a list of links to websites with pro ball tryout info. At the bottom I included a guide on what to expect at one of these tryouts as a pitcher.
A lot of these websites aren’t updated but will be soon. There are probably some fall tryouts but most occur in the spring and summer. Even if you aren’t a senior you should hit a couple of these. Tryout experience is a great thing to have when you’re finally ready. Not to mention, it puts you in their system.
I have a few contacts and if I feel like you have what it takes, by all means I will help you out. That said here are the cold hard sad facts.
Velocity: If you’re a righty and want to play at the next level, you have to be at least 90 miles per hour. If you’re a lefty its 88. Sorry, it sucks but its true. Despite everything you may have heard about how great control is, they won’t even give you a look in a tryout if you aren’t above the 90 marker. Your college stats matter but don’t think the pros are going to come knocking on your door because you had a 1.00 ERA in the CACC. The good news is that each and every one of you has that magical number 90 inside you. We’ll get deeper into that during the fall individual sessions.
Breaking stuff: You will not get picked up without 3 awesome pitches. That electric fastball, that sharp breaking ball and that professional change up. If you have a knuck, only throw it if you can consistently throw wicked, no spinners.
Movement: So now you’re throwing 90. Good for you! There’s also 10 other guys at this tryout throwing 90 with a couple throwing 94. You have to have some nasty movement to separate yourself from the herd. You need that snap at the end of your pitch that makes the ball miss bats. Play around with grips in practice and see how much you can make the ball move. Ask about cutters and sinkers and mess around with them. If you can throw electric fastball variations, you’ll catch some eyes.
New York State League – I highly recommend you try this!
Also check out each individual team to see if they have anything.
What To Expect At a Tryout
In order of the day:
Get to the park early but not necessarily too early. Nothing happens until everyone is signed in and usually they don’t begin sign in until the exact start time (Still being there early is always a good idea). Tryouts usually begin around 9am so getting to the park around 8:40 would be ideal. Everyone gets into a big single file line and they hand you a small index card that you fill out. Things to fill out on the card are fields like name, year of graduation, age, contacts/glasses, and team; nothing you don’t know off the top of your head. On each card is a number. That’s your identity for the rest of the tryout so remember it. Most tryouts also have liability releases that you can print off before the tryout to make everything go quicker.
Relax. After everyone is signed in. Just hang out and relax. The head scout will eventually call everyone together and give a rundown of the day. Pitchers don’t do anything for a long time. Pitchers sit through position players’ sprints and fielding. This can take hours depending on the size of the tryout, so just sit back and relax. There is no need to start throwing or stretching or running yet.
Wait for the cue. Eventually a scout will come over and tell everyone how the bullpen sessions are going to work. This usually occurs during or after batting practice. Basically pitchers will throw bullpens in order of their number. So know your number and what number is currently throwing a bullpen to know when you should start getting loose. You will then play catch with either a catcher or just another pitcher. You should be hot when its your turn to throw a bullpen but time it so you aren’t already spent.
Go time. When its your time to throw a bullpen, you will get on the mound and depending the scout will announce your number. Now is your time to shine. You usually only get about 15 pitches so make it count. Throw hard while staying true to your mechanics, but truth is if you light up the gun that will garner a lot of attention. Be sure to mix in your breaking stuff. You should probably throw about 8 fastballs and 7 breaking balls.
Relax.Once your done with your bullpen. You again sit around waiting for everyone to finish. If you impressed you may have a scout come talk to you. Once everyone is finished the scouts will sequester themselves for about an hour. You can eat during this time if you brought a lunch or just hang out. Either way, don’t leave the park.
Stay or Go Home. The head scout will then emerge and bring everyone together again to tell them about the rest of the tryout. If the tryout is large, they will announce who has been invited to stay and play a scrimmage. Everyone else is released to go home.
Relax. If you made it to the scrimmage you will be told when you will pitch in the game. If you are starting they will give you plenty of heads up in terms of time.
Pitching. Make sure you are ready to go when its your time to pitch. Most pitchers only get an inning of work in. This is where you pitch. Throw hard and stay within yourself again. Remember the guys you’re throwing against are eager to show the scouts they can hit rather than walk, so you can get swinging k’s with stuff off the plate.
Relax. They may give you the opportunity to leave once you’re done pitching but you should stick around for the simple fact that leaving early looks bad and doesn’t give scouts a chance to talk to you if they liked your performance. Again, if you did well someone may come talk to you. After the scrimmage, everyone will be brought together again, thanked, and released. Only the really really dominating players are offered contracts at a tryout so don’t fret if you leave empty handed. The goal of the tryout is get names in the system with a scouting report. If they liked you and want to sign you, you may get a call later in the week.