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College Competition Levels
NCAA Division 1: Of course, most players want to play at this level, and for a prominent, top-ranked program. If the top 25 teams each have 50 players (half not on the active rosters), that's only 1,250 spots spread across six years (redshirt plus extra Covid year) or less than 200 freshman spots. Considering there are more than 100,000 high seniors playing baseball, those are long odds. With 301 Division 1 programs, less than one in ten high school players has shot at being part of a Division 1 program, and a much lower chance of making the active roster. Division 1 is the goal, if you have the metrics, physical tools, skills, and potential. However, other levels can also offer strong competition and opportunity to advance.
NCAA Division 2: There are 265 Division 2 baseball programs. Many are public universities with affordable in-state tuition. The competitive range for baseball varies widely by region but especially by college. Some have much stronger programs than others. Looking up the past few years' Top 25 rankings can suggest which colleges have the most competitive programs. Of course, less competitive programs may offer more opportunity to earn a position and playing time.
NCAA Division 3:
Juco: Some student-athletes view playing Juco baseball falling short of their goals, or even failure. It's understandable, but wrong. There are several reasons why a year or two of Juco ball may be best for a player. Some players develop later and can benefit from a year or two to get stronger, faster, and more polished. Others may not be ready for the academic rigor of a four-year college. In addition, some Juco teams can compete with Division 1 teams. Many Division 1 teams have multiple Juco transfers on their rosters, some even have half or more. And every year, players are drafted straight from Juco ball.
NAIA: The NAIA is a separate organization from the NCAA and has different rules and eligibility standards, which can be less restrictive. Players who aren't NCAA eligible may be eligible to play for an NAIA college. Overall, NAIA baseball competition can range from roughly equivalent to NCAA Division 3 up to some instances of Division 1 ability. In 2019, XX players were drafted from NAIA colleges.