How Many Players Are on a High School Baseball Team?

How Many Players Are on a High School Baseball Team?

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When spring rolls around, high school baseball players start getting prepared to try out for their school’s baseball team. One of the questions they often wonder is how many players will make that team.

There are usually anywhere from 14-20 players on a high school baseball team. Those numbers may vary depending on the school.

Factors such as the size of the school, the quality of the team, the coach’s preference, positional needs, and more can affect the number of players that make the team.

Continue reading to learn more about how many players it takes to make up a high school baseball team.

How Do Coaches Decide How Many Players Make the Team?

This is a difficult question to answer because there are so many factors that coaches consider when making this decision, but some of the most common factors are school size, the quality of the team, positional needs, and simply just the coach’s preference.

The size of the school matters because it usually factors into the number of players that try out for the team. Bigger schools usually have more players who try out for the team; therefore, bigger schools sometimes keep more players because they have more to choose from.

It is not uncommon for larger schools to keep 20 or more players on just their varsity team. Smaller schools are often limited in their selection of players, so the number of players on the team is usually closer to the 12-14 range.

How competitive the team expects to be also factors into the decision. Sometimes, better teams have more players because more people want to join good teams that win. This is not always the case, but it can be true.

The opposite can also happen as fewer players may join better teams because they know their chances of playing will be limited. There is no set rule when it comes to the quality of the team and how it affects the size of the team, but it is a factor.

Positional needs are a big determining factor in the number of players on a high school team. Unlike college and professional baseball, it is common for high school pitchers to also play defense and hit for their team.

With that being said, some high school pitchers specialize only in pitching. These players are commonly referred to as POs, pitchers only.

If a high school team has a lot of POs then they will usually have more players on the team. This is because they still need to fill all nine defensive positions while also carrying enough pitchers to help them get through a season.

Teams with fewer POs often carry fewer players because they have players who serve as both position players and pitchers.

Lastly, an individual coach’s preference is always the most important factor when deciding how many players make a high school baseball team, and those preferences vary.

For example, some coaches prefer to have as many players as possible on the team to help with roster depth.

Sometimes, coaches also like to keep more players on the team because they feel it gives more kids, even those who may not play much, an opportunity to be a part of a team and learn life lessons through the game.

Other coaches prefer to keep fewer players on the team because they do not want to worry about evenly distributing playing time, and they want to save practice reps for those who actually need them.

How Many Players Get to Play on a High School Baseball Team?

While the rules of baseball are mostly the same between high school, college, and professional baseball, there are some differences in how many players can play.

There are nine players on the field at one time in high school baseball, but ten players can be in the starting lineup because of the Designated Hitter rule.

This rule, previously only in effect in the American League, is now universal in professional baseball. A player can be listed as the Designated Hitter and can hit in the place of a player playing on defense. In college and professional baseball, the DH typically hits for the pitcher.

In high school baseball, the DH can hit for any player on the field. Coaches in high school usually take advantage of this rule because it allows them to strengthen their defense and allows for another player to get some playing time.

Sometimes at the JV level, teams are even allowed to have an EH which would allow for 11 players to be in the starting lineup. The EH stands for Extra Hitter and is someone who hits and does not play defense, but he does not take the place of another defender.

This rule is not that common, but some JV leagues allow it to get more players on the field to help them develop.

Substitution rules are often different at the high school level allowing more players to play. In high school baseball, players in the starting lineup are often allowed to re-enter the game one time after being subbed out.

This is different than college and professional baseball where players who are subbed out are not able to re-enter the game.

Most high school baseball leagues allow for a courtesy runner for the pitcher and the catcher as well. The courtesy runner is a player who is designated to run for the pitcher or the catcher if he gets on base.

Unlike a pinch runner, the courtesy runner does not enter the game in the pitcher or catcher’s place. The player for whom the courtesy runner runs gets to re-enter the game.

The purpose behind this rule is to help speed up the game and to give the pitcher and catcher a break. However, it also helps more players get on the field.

How Many Players Are on a High School Travel Team?

Travel ball has exploded in this day in age of high school baseball. While there are some similarities between a school-related team and a travel team, there are also many differences, and team makeup is one of those big differences.

There are usually anywhere from 11-15 players on the typical travel baseball team. There are usually fewer players on high school teams because they cost more money and the purpose of travel ball is often different than high school ball.

Travel teams are typically pay-to-play organizations. Teams travel, whether locally or nationwide, to tournaments where there are tournament fees and travel costs such as hotels and gas.

Because players are paying a hefty price to play, parents often expect their kids to get their money’s worth and play a significant amount. Having fewer players on the team limits a coach’s options for playing time making fewer tough decisions.

Also, the emphasis in travel ball is often on player development and exposure to college recruiters whereas the emphasis in high school baseball is often on winning.

The fewer players a coach has on his team the more attention he can give to each player’s development and recruitment.

This does not mean that travel ball teams are not concerned with winning. The more they win, the more games they get to play in tournaments. The more games they play, the more their players can develop and the more opportunities they get to play in front of recruiters.

How Does a Player Make a High School Baseball Team or a Travel Ball Team?

To make a high school baseball team or a travel ball team, players usually have to go through a tryout process.

Most high school sports organizations require schools to have tryouts for each sport to ensure that everyone is given a fair opportunity to make a team. Coaches often get to decide how long that tryout process takes place and what it looks like, but there must be a tryout.

After the tryout, the coach notifies the players, either through text, email, face-to-face conversation, or by posting the list of players who made the team somewhere in the school.

Making a travel ball team, again, is similar but also different. There is usually a tryout process for each team, but it is not as regulated as high school teams.

Something to consider when it comes to trying out for travel ball teams is that there is often a tryout fee. Many travel ball organizations are run like businesses, and they must make money first and foremost to pay for facilities and to pay their coaches.

There are typically more players who try out for bigger travel ball organizations, but there are often more teams within those age groups, so the likelihood of making a team is much greater.

On the other hand, some travel ball organizations skip the tryout process and just recruit the best players in their area and ask them to play. Many of the most competitive travel ball teams operate this way.

So how do you get asked to play for one of these teams? Usually, travel ball coaches take recommendations from high school coaches, college recruiters, and even major league scouts.

While this is not as common as it used to be, some high school coaches even coach travel ball teams to keep most of their high school players together on the same team throughout the summer.

This format is not as common as it used to be because most high school athletic governing bodies have dead period rules during parts of the summer. During these periods, coaches are not allowed to have contact with their players.

Overall, to make a high school or travel ball team, one must most likely go through a tryout process, and if not, they must impress someone who knows the coach and can recommend them for the team.

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