The Futures Invitational is one path into the USA Baseball program for players whose team participates in that tournament. Since there are only 16 slots at the 10U level and 24 at the 11U level, others have the opportunity to be evaluated through the National Team Identification Service (NTIS). NTIS is a regional based system that starts at the state level and then moves into six regionals events. Players attend a state level evaluation for the first tryout, which tends to be very heavily metrics. Metrics captured include throwing velocity, hitting exit velocity, 30-yard dash speed along with a brief fielding session based on the player’s preferred position (five ground balls or fly balls). It usually lasts a couple of hours.
If a player is selected from the state level, he advances to the regional tryout., which is called Prospect Games. Prospect Games is an all-day (or in some areas longer) event. For the Midwest region, which covers eleven states, ~50 kids were invited and divided into four teams. During the morning, each player participated in four metrics stations that included the 30-yard dash and throwing velocity at one, ground or fly balls at another, medicine ball throws (8 lbs) and a picture at the third and hitting (five swings two times) at the fourth.
The second part of the day was two “games”. Pitchers threw to six hitters each and each hitter had between two and three plate appearances each game. Score wasn’t kept, but coaches took notes and occasionally took a velocity reading of the pitcher.
USA Baseball staff combine the metrics and notes on play to select which players will join one of two teams from each of the six regions to play at the USA Baseball Complex in Cary in August. From that event, twelve players will be selected for the chance to join the 12U US National team or developmental program at the other levels.