Minnetonka Baseball Association
Traveling Baseball Program (ages 12 to 15)
Program and Travel Tryout Description
Minnetonka Baseball organizes travel baseball teams in the Metro Baseball League for 12, 13, 14, & 15 year-old boys living in or attending school in the Minnetonka School District. Our goal is to create a comprehensive, community-based program to support the development of players across a wide range of participation levels. Our ultimate vision is to foster consistent championship caliber High School, Legion, and Senior Babe Ruth teams.
The Minnetonka Baseball Traveling baseball program goals are as follows:
- Provide effective, high quality training for players and coaches at all levels.
- Provide programs that are cooperative with, and respected by other community programs.
- Seek to maximize the potential of every player in the program.
- Develop players and teams to compete at a top level.
- Encourage and foster player participation for the full length of a player’s youth sports career by putting them in a position for success.
- Emphasize the importance of teamwork and sportsmanship.
Traveling Teams and Levels
Minnetonka Traveling baseball teams (ages 12 to 15) play in the Metro Baseball league (www.mbl.bz).
Teams consist of players falling into the following age groups (for 2020 season).
League age 12 year-olds
League age 13 year-olds
League age 14 year-olds
League age 15 year-olds
A Player may elect to play with his/her respective age group as listed above or may elect to play “up” with their grade in school. For example a player born in June of 2003 but attending the 9th grade can elect to play with the 14 year old group or with their grade and play with the 15 year old group. They must declare this decision prior to the evaluation days.
The final number and level of travel teams (i.e. AAA, AA, A) will be decided by the Minnetonka Baseball board and will be determined by registration numbers, talent level and field availability.
At each respective level (e.g. AAA, AA, A), the coaches will strive to achieve balance and equity between the teams at that level. Based on skill level and coaches determinations, any of the AA teams may play in AAA tournaments, however they will play league games at the AA level.
The number of roster positions per team will be determined by the individual head coaches at each age level. At 12U, 13U & 14U, teams will be limited to 11 with 13 players maximum since there is continuous batting at these ages. 15U is 9-man batting and the teams will be limited to 11 with 13 players maximum. Number of players selected to a team will be based on the head coach’s philosophy.
Coaches are selected by the MBA Board Coach’s Selection Committee based upon interest, baseball skills, coaching skills, game philosophy and experience advancing the game of youth baseball. Interested coaches must complete the online Minnetonka Traveling Baseball Coach Application (found on Minnetonka Baseball Website, www.minnetonkabaseball.org) indicating their coaching preferences which will be received by the Travel Director for consideration. Head coach candidates may be interviewed by the Travel Coaches Selection Committee prior to the MBA September Board meeting. If there is a preference to one league or another it must be noted on the application. Head coaches will be assigned prior to team selection process or after another selection process is completed. Assistant coaches will be determined during the team selection process.
Traveling Team Tryout Overview
Tryouts are held on 2 different Sundays in September. Minnetonka Traveling Baseball believes that travel-caliber players are in their best baseball form immediately after their summer season. This allows teams to practice together over the winter if desired, schedule their summer / tournament plans and conduct additional fundraising as needed. Due to the inconsistent weather in Minnesota during the spring time, a fall tryout allows players to be seen in outdoor game situations, not indoors where results are not a true representation of the players’ skills.
Players must register at the Minnetonka Baseball website prior to the tryout and pay a non-refundable $35 evaluation fee upon registration. These fees are used to hire and fund the independent evaluators for the tryouts.
The first session are skills evaluation tryouts where players are allowed to pick two type of positions at which to try out. The position options are: Pitcher, Catcher, IF or OF. Batting will also be assessed. For the skills day, the player should pick the two positions where the player feels they are most comfortable and accomplished to be evaluated. For the second session, which will be a scrimmage evaluation, where players are only allowed to select one position for that evaluation. Players select one position from C, 1B, 2B,3B, SS, LF,CF& RF to be evaluated in that scrimmage setting. Players will also bat in these scrimmage simulations. Note that these positions are for tryouts only and won’t impact where the player has the opportunity to play during the season as that will be up to the coaches.
PLEASE RESPECT THE PRIVACY OF OUR EVALUATIONS:
While most organizations have very private evaluation sessions, the Minnetonka Baseball Association has uniquely chosen the last two years to have an open door policy to the interested coaches and parents of our community. During evaluations, please remember to:
· Refrain from leaving the bleacher area
· Refrain from talking, cheering or yelling to any on-field player or evaluator
· Refrain from any photographing, videotaping or audio recording
There are two mandatory tryout sessions. The only possible excuses for not participating in BOTH tryouts are 1) a serious illness or injury with Medical Documentation provided to the Travel Director; 2) a previously scheduled trip or vacation which must be communicated to the Travel Director via email prior to evaluations. We require that ALL players attend BOTH rounds of travel tryouts unless an excuse is approved, IN ADVANCE, through the Travel Director.
Grading players during tryouts is not a perfect science. Tryout grades are only a reflection of a player’s abilities on that day. No system is perfect and we always look for ways to improve the process.
Players are strongly encouraged to play with their grade level; however they can play up or down as allowed by the age limitations for each group and the selection by the coaches.
Team Selection Overview
Teams will be selected starting in early-October per current Minnetonka Traveling Baseball selection procedures.
The head coaches work with Travel Director or MBA Travel Committee designated respresentative to form teams based upon tryout scores, filling positions for the team and personal baseball knowledge of players along with past coach's feedback when available or applicable. Coaches and Travel Director will have access to:
- Independent evaluation data (numeric and commentary)
- Prior year coach evaluation summaries (where made available). Incoming players will be reviewed based on their tryouts. Returning players may or may not have a coach’s evaluation summary from the previous year available for consideration used by the head coach's team selection process
- Prior season GameChanger statistics that are more quantative than qualitative (For prior year Travel players):
- Overall - Number of games played
- Pitching - Number of innings pitched and strike percentage from the number of total pitches thrown, strike-outs & walks
- Catching - Number of Innings caught, number of base runners thrown out and number of pass balls
- Fielding - Number of opportunities and fielding %
- Batting - Number of plate appearances, on-base percentage, strike-outs & walks
- Their own observations
There may or may not be a need to contact players during the decision process. Being contacted by a coach or Travel Director is not an indication of either acceptance or turndown.
The role of the Travel Director or MBA Travel Committee designated respresentative is to ensure the selection process is performed in the manner prescribed by the Minnetonka Baseball Board. The role of the Travel Director is to work with the coaches to strive for balance and fairness in the team selection process. This is an impartial check and balance.
Final Minnetonka Baseball Roster Approval and Publication
Teams formed by coaches are NOT FINAL until approved by the Travel Director or a Representative from the Travel Team Selection Committee.
The final rosters:
- At some point in early-October, the Minnetonka Baseball Association website will be updated with the teams being posted for the season. Coaches will also be in contact to discuss any team meetings, practice times, etc. after the team announcement posting.
- First half payment of the Registration fees of $700 (ages 12 to 15) for the 2020 season will be due within 1 week of rosters being set as a commitment to play travel baseball. If payment is not received within 1 week, the player will be de-registered from the system. Fees are collected in advance so coaches can be sure that they have a committed roster (or can make changes as needed) and have the necessary funding for the winter training, tournament registrations, and uniforms. All registration and evaluation fees are considered non-refundable.
- Any team that uses a paid coaching staff will be assessed a coaching surcharge.
- Families needing financial assistance can complete a Scholarship Application which can be found on the website (www.MinnetonkaBaseball.org) by going along the Registration tab on the top blue banner.
- Additionally, players will be reminded of their commitment form they accepted at time of registration making baseball their #1 priority during the baseball season. We strongly believe and support multiple sport athletes, but believe that each sport should take precedence during its respective season. Therefore, we ask each player to make a personal commitment to their respective team and coach.
Players not selected for Traveling Teams
Players not selected for a Travel team will be eligible to play in the Community programs (ages 12/13 & 14/15). Community team evalutions will be held in the Spring 2020 for the 2020 season, a tournament opportunity is planned in our Community 12/13 & Community 14/15 programs that will allow for more tournament play during the season. Tournament teams may be formed in addition to the regular season teams that will give more tournament opportunities for players who wish to play more tournament baseball. More details will be forthcoming on the 2020 Community 12/13 & Community 14/15 season on the Minnetonka baseball website.
2020 Evaluation Schedule (for 2020 Season)
Metal spikes are allowed on Veteran’s Field and Lower Field. However, metal spikes are not allowed in the batting cages behind right field. If the batting cages are used for tryouts, have your player bring either tennis shoes or turf shoes.
Evaluation Fee: $35 nonrefundable evaluation fee is due when you register for a Travel program on the Minnetonka Baseball website. This fee is NOT applied to the Travel Program Registration Fees..
- Run and evaluated by MHS Baseball and Legion coaching staff.
- Players will be supplied with numbered pinnies to wear.
- Coaching candidates will observe/evaluate for their own purposes (from sidelines … not on field). Their notations will not be included with that of independent evaluators.
SKILLS DAY 1:
- The Travel tryouts will use a “showcase” process like MHS and legion tryouts:
- Each player will choose two positions from the following: P, C, IF or OF.
- Each player may also be evaluated on running (i.e. 60 yard dash/timing on bases, if time permits).
- Outfielders will be evaluated on fielding the ball and making the throw to 3rd base, 2nd base and home plate from right field.
- Infielders will be evaluated on a variety of ground balls and making throws to various bases.
- Catchers will be evaluated on footwork, blocking, accuracy, and arm strength.
- Pitchers will be evaluated on mechanics, velocity, pitch location and additional pitches other than a straight/normal fastball.
Below are the tryout times for 12-15 travel for 2020 season. Times are listed by Alpha Last Name.
September 22nd - Skills Day
A - Ma (Half) 8:30-9:30am Hitting Lower Field - 9:30-10:30am Fielding Veterans Field
Mc - Z (Half) 9:30-10:30am Hitting Lower Field - 10:30-11:30am Fielding Veterans Field
A - He 10:30-11:30am Hitting Lower Field - 11:30-12:30pm Fielding Veterans Field
Ho - N 11:30-12:30pm Hitting Lower Field - 12:30-1:30pm Fielding Veterans Field
O - Z 12:30-1:30pm Hitting Lower Field - 1:30-2:30pm Fielding Veterans Field
A - Fa 1:30-2:30pm Hitting Lower Field - 2:30-3:30pm Fielding Veterans Field
Fe - Lum 2:30-3:30pm Hitting Lower Field - 3:30-4:30pm Fielding Veterans Field
Lun - Z 3:30-4:30pm Hitting Lower Field - 4:30-5:30pm Fielding Veterans Field
A - G 4:30-5:30pm Hitting Lower Field - 5:30-6:30pm Fielding Veterans Field
H - Nev 5:30-6:30pm Hitting Lower Field - 6:30-7:30pm Fielding Veterans Field
New - Z 6:30-7:30pm Hitting Lower Field - 7:30-8:30pm Fielding Veterans Field
Scrimmage Day will change to the following:
We will have the groups start again on the Lower Field for hitting evaluation for an hour, then move to Veterans Field for the scrimmage evaluation where they will be placed at the position they choose and we will control the scrimmage by the coach hitting the ball to cover a multitude of plays that we want to see them react in. This allows us to get the ball to each player and grade them accordingly.
September 29th - Scrimmage Day
Top 1/3rd - 8:30-9:30am Hitting Lower Field - 9:30-10:30am Fielding Veterans Field
Middle 1/3rd - 9:30-10:30am Hitting Lower Field - 10:30-11:30am Fielding Veterans Field
Lower 1/3rd - 10:30-11:30am Hitting Lower Field - 11:30-12:30pm Fielding Veterans Field
Top 1/3rd - 11:30-12:30pm Hitting Lower Field - 12:30-1:30pm Fielding Veterans Field
Middle 1/3rd - 12:30-1:30pm Hitting Lower Field - 1:30-2:30pm Fielding Veterans Field
Lower 1/3rd - 1:30-2:30pm Hitting Lower Field - 2:30-3:30pm Fielding Veterans Field
Top 1/3rd - 2:30-3:30pm Hitting Lower Field - 3:30-4:30pm Fielding Veterans Field
Middle 1/3rd - 3:30-4:30pm Hitting Lower Field - 4:30-5:30pm Fielding Veterans Field
Lower 1/3rd - 4:30-5:30pm Hitting Lower Field - 5:30-6:30pm Fielding Veterans Field
Top Half - 5:30-6:30pm Hitting Lower Field - 6:30-7:30pm Fielding Veterans Field
Lower Half - 6:30-7:30pm Hitting Lower Field - 7:30-8:30pm Fielding Veterans Field
- Players wear numbered pinnies
- Each player will select only one position to be evaluated on scrimmage day. Positions are C, 1B, 2B ,3B, SS, LF, CF, RF.
- MHS and Legion coaches will evaluate players on baseball skills such as fielding, positioning, cut-offs and locations, knowing where to throw a batted ball, base-running and overall baseball knowledge. Batting will mostly be evaluated on form as well as pitch selection rather than actual outcome of an at bat.
- Possible Travel coaches will observe and make notations for their own use. Their notations will not be included with those of the independent evaluators.
Rain out and make-up date is TBD.
Traveling Baseball Winter, Spring and Summer Schedule Summary
Travel team players are expected to be available for some fall and winter training – kids are busy with many activities, but winter is a good time to keep skills current and work on new skills. The exact schedules will be determined by the Head Coaches at each individual age level.
During baseball season, players are expected to be 100% committed to playing baseball, April1st through July 31st. The 12, 13 and 14 year old teams may have 4 practices per week, especially during April, May and July. 15-year old teams must work around the HS baseball calendar, which has priority. All travel players and parents are asked online to accept a Travel Team Commitment form to commit to the team and coaches for that season. This committment form is incorporated into the Travel Registration process.
Practice times and frequency are determined by the coaches. Practice locations are all within the Minnetonka area, possibly including Chanhassen or Hopkins.
Regular season league games will normally be on weeknights (Mon. - Thurs.) starting in early May for age 12s, 13s and 14s or in late May for 15s. Regular season games begin usually about 6:00 PM but can be earlier; some games may be scheduled as late as 8:30 PM. Players are expected to report 45 to 60 minutes before game time. Away game locations are typically in nearby communities, but can be 30-45 minutes away from Minnetonka. Home games are at nearby fields in Minnetonka, Excelsior, Chanhassen, etc.
Additionally, teams will participate in four to seven weekend tournaments. Most weekend tournaments begin late Friday afternoon or early evening and end on Sunday. One or two of these tournaments could be out of town. Teams typically play between 40 and 50 games during the season. League play is normally within 30 minutes or less of Minnetonka; however tournament locations vary by team and are determined over the winter months through meetings of the coaches and parents.