The USA Baseball Futures Invitational is four day tournament in Cary, North Carolina at the USA Baseball complex in Thomas Brooks Park. It had participation from some of the best teams in the country including ZT National Prospects, MVP Hustle and SBA Futures at the 11U level. What makes it unique from other tournaments is that USA Baseball scouts attend and search for the best players to join the 12U, 15U and 17U US National teams. The other ages have a developmental program for the top players. For attending, players receive a variety of USA Baseball merchandise including a bag, ball, sticker, cards and hat.
At the 11U level, 24 team played with approximately 15 players on each roster and the 10U level had 16 teams. The first two days are three games of pool play and the following two is bracket play for the top eight teams and consolation games for the rest. Given the level of play, the 11U fields have 75′ bases and a 51′ mound. The Futures Invitational Fan Guide provides additional detail on the format and rules.
Player safety is central to USA Baseball. USABats are required for the event, which reduces the number of extra base hits as exit velocities are slowed to protect pitchers from combackers. Pitch Smart guidelines are strictly enforced, so if a pitcher throws 35 pitches at the 11U level he’s required one day of rest and if he adds more more to bein the 36-50 range rest goes to two days.
For the National team, scouts ask the top ~10% of players from the first three days of games to attend a Combine featuring fielding, hitting and running in order to further evaluate the skills. Of this group approximately 20 will be asked to attend a final evaluation in combination with the top players from the Prospect Games in order to establish an 18-man roster for the team.