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The numbers are pretty simple. There are about 2.5 million boys and girls playing Little League baseball every year. Of that number, about 480,000 boys will play high school baseball each year.
Of that number, only about 7,500 that will make it to an NCAA D-I program. Of that small number, only 750 will get drafted by a Major League Baseball (MLB) team.
Only about 100 players drafted in the first ten rounds in any give five-year span will get a taste of the Major Leagues. Just a taste.
The odds are not in your favor. Some say the number is something like one out of every 100,000 or just about five high school seniors every year will eventually make it to the majors – from the whole country.
Then, there’s Canyon del Oro High School. 21 players from 1980 to 2006 signed a professional contract with seven making it to the MLB in just a tight seven-year span:
Colin Porter (1994)
Jason Stanford (1995)
Shelley Duncan (1998)
Chris Duncan (1999)
Scott Hairston (1999)
Brian Anderson (2000)
Ian Kinsler (2000)
Of these seven, Hairston was the only one not to grow up playing in the CDO Little League system.
Maybe its access to coaching, facilities, equipment or any of a dozen other variables but the odds of playing professional baseball out of CDO Little League are higher than anywhere else. But the odds are still low. (The odds are even higher for softball players at CDO making it to D-I college).
One of those variables is the structure and the participation of the league. If you look an a 10-12 age group All-Star list it will almost exactly match a future starting lineup at CDO High School.
That is what it takes to succeed and it all begins with T-Ball.
The Giants played the Dodgers Saturday morning at James D. Kreigh Park in Oro Valley. As is the case with all T-Ball games, the final score was a lot against a lot.
Tee Ball players range in age from 4-6 where proper foundations for fundamentals are being taught along with making the game fun rather than pressure-filled (mostly for the parents).
Everyone bats and everyone fields because everyone is learning. This is also the stage where some parents begin to learn the game.
Players on both the Giants and the Dodgers ran out every hit and made fundamental attempts at throwing to a base on defense. I saw some great form from many of the batters and some proper throwing technique.
The level of play was so high that I wonder how good it will be by the end of the season. The true judge of success will be how many come back for the Minors (ages 7-11) if they are old enough.
My guess is you will someday see a few of these names playing for CDO or Ironwood Ridge in about ten years. The odds are high that one will be playing in a MLB park someday.
Andy Morales has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here and on the pages of the Vail Voice. Contact Andy Morales at AMoralesMyTucson@yahoo.com