Back in the day, (no this isn’t a “get off my lawn” post), once you got to high school age as a baseball player, you had just two choices for summer ball once the high school season was done; you’d either play Legion ball (if they were the elite of the town) or Babe Ruth (which was still pretty good baseball), and scouts would generally depend on scouting high school and Legion games and to hang out with high school coaches to figure out who the draftable talents were.
These days, every kid of note hoping for a Division 1 scholarship or pro interest out of high school plays on a travel team. These same players also go to Showcase events throughout the year, either by invitation (for the best of the best) or on their own dime, where scouts can see players in a “combine” like setting and gauge their skills in a relatively controlled environment. More and more, the actual performance in HS is downgraded or ignored and performances in these elite events is highlighted, since the opponent skill levels are so elevated and consistent. This move has badly hurt Legion ball and has decimated Babe Ruth (here locally leagues have had to combine with other towns just to field enough teams to compete, and they struggle to find enough pitching to make the games competitive), but its the way of the future.
When you try to track prep kids (as I’ve begun to do more and more), you constantly hear about these teams and these events. So I’ve finally broken down and tried to summarize them for the local area as best as I can.
This is my attempt to characterize the landscape of Travel Baseball in the DC/MD/VA area. A ton of this is drawn from participation in the recent Perfect Game Wood Bat 17-U championships, so I likely am missing teams that did not participate. If you come across this post and i’m missing your team, please comment as such.
Elite Talent Teams
- Evoshield Canes: Based in Fredericksburg, VA with “outposts” up and down the east-coast. This franchise is huge, fielding multiple teams at the latest WWBA event. One of the leading talent teams in the land, winner of recent national travel team championships.
- Stars Showcase Red (formerly Demarini Stars): Based in Oakton, Va. Also large enough to field multiple teams in national events.
- Chandler World: based out of Norristown PA but with a couple local players of note for 2015.
- The Dirtbags All-Blacks: based just across the border in North Carolina, but draws players from southern and SW Virginia.
Mid-level Talent Teams
- Richmond Braves National: based in Richmond.
- Virginia Cardinals; based in Midlothian, VA. The best of the Richmond area players.
- Diamond Elite 17U: Ashburn; was independent, now joined with Evoshield Canes as one of their off-spring. Comprised mostly of Ashburn/Leesburg guys from leading high schools out there like Stone Bridge.
- Mid Atlantic Red Sox: Frederick MD
Lower-end Talent Teams
- RISE Baseball Midlothian VA: ; not at WWBA 17u.
- Arena STARZ 17U out of Bel Air, MD. Lots of Battlefield players on this roster despite its geographic location.
- Diamond Skills Dodgers (Silver Spring): mostly St. Johns Prep players
- Maryland Monarchs: Gambrils, MD: Anne Arundel county players
- Rawlings MD Prospects: Millersville MD
- Rawlings Prospects of VA Sandlot Elite Sterling, VA
- Tidewater Orioles Virginia Beach, VA
- Virginia Baseball Network: Mostly guys from Lynchburg and Forest based high schools. (not at WWBA 17u)
- CBA Rays: Chesapeake based, mostly from Chesapeake-based high schools Greenbrier Christian, Great Bridge and Grassfield. Not at WWBA 17u.
- Hampton Road Hurricanes: not at WWBA 17u
- Baltimore Bandits 17u: travel team run out of Calvert Hall HS in Baltimore. Not at WWBA 17u.
- Old Dominion Hitters: some D-I talent, not at WWBA 17u.
It should also be noted that the big programs (Evoshield, Stars, DirtBags, etc) fielded a number of “alternate” teams that were not as talented as their leading “varsity” team. Those squads, as fielded at WWBA 2015 were:
- Evoshield Canes American: Fredericksburg
- Evoshield North (NC): Raleigh
- Evoshield South (SC): Columbia
- Evoshield Seminoles (Richmond)
- Evoshield Canes Mid-Atlantic
- Evoshield Canes North
- Richmond Braves American
- Dirtbags Select (NC)
- Stars Black
- Stars Blue
Showcase Guide 2015
So, what events are these kids playing? Spurred on by this excellent summer-kick off article from Jonathan Mayo, here’s a good guide for the 2015 summer/fall events that the upper end rising HS seniors will be participating in. Some of these have already passed and are listed here for completion purposes:
- Perfect Game National Showcase player roster, Mid June 2015 Ft. Myers FL. Just a combine of sorts.
- USA Baseball Tournament of Stars roster, Mid June 2015 Cary NC. Fake teams created for scouting purposes.
- Perfect Game WWBA 17U championships, July 3-10, Emerson GA. (aka the “Marietta/Cobb” event). Won by a very good team out of Southern California called “CBA Marucci.”
- 17U Perfect Game World Series, July 17-22 in AZ. Evoshield only local team; they fell in pool play. The team that won WWBA came in 3rd; won by a team from Orlando.
- Impact 17U World Series, North Carolina; July 21-26, 2015. A good local tourney with lots of east coast teams, just won by the Richmond Braves 16U team (a bit of a statement, beating a bunch of 17u teams).
- East Coast Pro Showcase (End of July); Tampa, FL. Rosters here, with a few local kids.
- Area Code Games, Aug 2015 Long Beach, CA.
- Under Armour All-America Game, Chicago mid August
- Perfect Game All-American Classic, San Diego mid August
- WWBA World Championships in Jupiter, FL end of October (aka the “Jupiter” event).
- Several “Breakthrough Series” events throughout the country (Cincinnati, Florida, Compton) throughout the summer; lesser showcases.
Perfectgame.org is *the* website for these kinds of things. At PG’s events, all the teams, with their full rosters of players with home towns and college commits, are online and viewable. Very good information if you’re interested in (say) one particular team’s roster of players.
This is my first cut at this data. I’m sure i’m missing local teams and showcases. Please let me know if you disagree with my characterization of the talent level of these teams (mostly taken by eyeballing the college commits to gauge the strength of the roster), if you feel i’m missing any major teams, or if you think a show-case or tourney is missing.