Every high school baseball player looking to stretch there game to the college level will more than likely have to go through some type of camp or showcase. I have attended Perfect Game U.S.A., Baseball Factory, DeMarini Top 96, All Star Baseball Academy, Pastime Tournaments and other numerous individual college camps. Those are not the ones out there though, there also is Coast to Coast Baseball, Silver Spikes, and numerous others.
I attended the Cedar Rapids Perfect Game in October of 2008. I had fun playing on the Angels Single A teams field Veterans Memorial Stadium (Kernels). It was a little pricey and there was a moderate amount of exposure. It seemed that the showcase was surrounded around two teams only though. Two teams from Canada joined the individual player showcase and it seemed all the college coaches only watched while they were on the field. I did a decent job there but would have liked to not have the favoritism. Overall a good showcase and a 3 1/2 of 5.
The Baseball Factory showcase I attended was in June of 2009. It was part of the Under Armour National team and there were 8 teams contending. You had to try out at a baseball factory tryout and the cost for playing was extremely high. I competed in Omaha, Nebraska for a week and stayed at Iowa Westland College. My teammates are guys I will never forget as well as my two coaches =). We got to go to game 1 and 2 of the College World Series watching Texas play LSU. What an experience! The whole showcase portion of the week was games you played against the other teams. I had great at bats with an error in 6 games. Overall it was worth the money just wish that each player had a video made from the week (highlight video) for the amount we had to pay. Exposure wasn't as strong as I thought it be! A strong 4 out of 5.
Formally known as TPX Top 96 now known as DeMarini Top 96 is a one or two day showcase depending on where you go. I attended three of them. Twice in Elgin, Illinois and one in Indianapolis, Indiana. Exposure was high from D1 to Junior College and everything in between. A lot of standing around but a lot of hands on learning from the coaching staffs. I have taken numerous drills and applied them to my work ethic from the camps. I ordered a video and was very disappointing. The quality of the video was horrendous and included a couple foul balls that I hit in the B.P. session. I would highly recommend their camps to mid level to sub par high school players looking to go to a small school. Overall a solid 3 out of 5.
The Babe Ruth World Series hosted by All Star Baseball Academy is held in Newark, Ohio in July every year. There camps focus on bring prospects to the eyes of east coast schools. Again from D1 to NAIA to Juco coaches are in attendance. We played 3 games and had a B.P. ground ball routine like every showcase. The most favoritism in any showcase I have ever been to. The team coaches are the summer league coaches of some of the players. You can tell who was part of the "family" and who wasn't. I really stuck out at the showcase with a bomb, 6rbi's, and 4-6 at the plate. Still I didn't feel the love from the regulars through out the academy. It was a fun experience and well organized! Got to hear Coach Polk from UAB speak and that was awesome! I rank this a 2 out of 5.
Past Time Elite Tournaments I attend in Xenia, Ohio my freshman year. As a young guy and my first showcase I was opened to an all new world. Playing along side some all-stater's and a 6'8'' lefty that had two Tommy Johns, I was intimidated. There were a decent amount of coaches and some I ended up getting offers from my senior year. It was well organized, nice facilities, pitcher dominated, but not enough at bats. The b.p session needed to be longer and the past time employees were rude. Overall 1 1/2 out of 5.
Individual college camps are iffy because some are just looking for your money. Try to choose ones that have multiple coaches in attendance. Coast to Coast Baseball I have never attended but a friend of mine went to Puerto Rico. He said minimal exposure but solid competition. A 3 out of 5. Silver Spikes I am not very familiar with but have received emails from them. Nice staff and seems to be legit.
Remember only spend your money on the camps if you are serious about the game and have a true drive to play in college!!!