In a post last year about top baseball players reclassing, I covered some of the more significant names over the past few years who changed their graduation years. Reclassing generally takes place in eight grade where the player is held back to repeat the grade, so their four year high school graduation clock doesn’t start for another year. But how often do baseball players reclass?
To estimate the rate of reclassing, data from the nearly 360 players at the 17u USA Baseball National Team Championships was used. This is an elite event in June of 2022 with some of the top baseball teams in the country participating including Canes National, East Cobb Astros, Top Tier Roos and USA Prime. The event program provided birthdates and grad years for all players who participated. Nearly all of the players graduate in 2023 with one team made up of 2024 grades.
Generally high school seniors graduate between an age of 17 years and 10 months and 19 years and 0 months depending on when parents start them in elementary school. Overall, the average age of participants at graduation was 18 years and 6 months. The oldest player planned to graduate at 19 years 9 months and youngest at 17 years and 5 months.
For purposes of this analysis, reclassed players are considered to be over 19 years and two months. Approximately 5% of the population was older than this theshold. If the threshold is dropped to 19 years 0 month, the percent jumps to 14%. No one can really know who reclassed without talking to each individual family. These ranges are only estimates based on one tournament of elite players, who are the most likely motivated to delay graduation in order to stand out on the field. It’s uncommon for northern players to change grades and seems reasonably common for southerners, so geographic mix matters. More work is needed to test out this hypothesis
Of note, there’s an interesting point in the data. Players born in May and June had a higher participation in the tournament than those born in other months. On the flip side, those born January through April had the lowest involvement. This is likely because the baseball year cut off date is May 1st in most areas. As a result, players born in May and June are nearly a year older than those born in March and April leading to more success.