Birdball to Host Prospect Holiday Clinic

Spend anywhere from $100-$300 and learn from New England baseball minds? Too bad they didn't ask me to help out.

The Boston College baseball team will host a series of instructional clinics for athletes aged 13 and older this winter. During semester break, from December 27th through December 30th, players can step inside the Alumni Stadium Bubble and receive lessons from the BC staff and other New England coaches.

From BCEagles.com, the following:

Through a series of daily drills, each camper will be instructed as through he was an Eagle baseball player himself. The coaching staff will stress the importance of basic fundamentals, while playing in a fast-paced environment. The clinic focuses on helping each camper each his full potential as a baseball player and will also each player to showcase his talent for coaches in attendance.

Well count me in.

All four sessions cost $300, while any three sessions will be $240. Two sessions cost $180 and one session is $100. The full listing of baseball coaches attending has not been released, but the inside of the Bubble during the winter features four batting cages and room for two regulation-sized diamonds with bullpen and skills development areas.

When I was a kid, I went to a couple of camps hosted by local area high school coaches. They tested things like bat speed, which was a relatively new concept in the mid-1990s, and the correct way to use your whole body to throw a baseball. I learned a lot of the fundamentals that turned me into an average to better-than-average baseball player for most of my life.

That said, I'm looking at this more from a recruiting standpoint and how BC is getting out into the community. One of the things about Boston College is that they've failed to corner the recruiting zone on the best talent in Massachusetts and in the home-grown market in recent years. There were 18 players from Massachusetts selected in the 2013 MLB Draft, of which 17 were college players. Being able to get out into the community and make connections among younger players will ingrain BC baseball at a grassroots level and make players more likely to want to come to the Heights.

At the same token, it's also a good way to raise money for the program. While steep, players who ordinarily don't have a chance to play Division I or even college ball will have a chance to link up with coaches from different New England schools. There's always been decent baseball played up here, but the biggest complaint is that the talent isn't being developed enough.

Likewise, New England colleges didn't place many players in the Cape Cod Baseball League last year despite it being closer to home. Many of the players who went to the New England Collegiate Baseball League aren't very high on draft radars, and the "natural progression" for them will plateau with the NECBL. Being able to develop players from their formative high school years will help extend career options and allow them to play within systems. If players can learn styles of play starting at a younger age, they're more likely to get involved with a certain system played by a certain college.

Recruiting has been a touchy subject with BC baseball as of late. There is certainly a gap in the way the coaching staff is handling the players at the school. The recruits, on paper, are usually pretty good. But the players seem to plateau at some point. So either the recruiting model is coming back with incorrect data or the coaches are failing to coach them up. If this is a new way for BC to get out and evaluate talent with a way to learn the pros and cons of players starting in their formative high school years, then as long as participation is solid, there's no negative that can come out of this.

BC has only appeared in the ACC tournament twice since joining the league and has not qualified in the last three seasons. Their number of league wins declined over each of those years, bottoming out last year with a 4-25 conference record, five games into dead last behind Wake Forest and Duke.

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