Many locally competing programs/teams point to the Gamers roster size as “why you should play with us”. Our roster size goals are as follows:
- 10-12u – 12
- 13u – 13
- 14u – 14
- 15u – 15 + maybe 1-2 added PO’s (12-13 position players)
- 16u – 16 + maybe 1-2 added PO’s (12-13 position players)
- 17u – 17 + maybe 1-2 added PO’s (12-13 position players)
For the kind of competition level that we play and depth our our schedule, these roster sizes are on the small side.
Local teams and programs that claim to operate on 12-14 player rosters at HS ages do not understand this because they do actually compete at high level national events.. We could play local tournaments vs. local teams with 12-14 kids per team. But, that is not what our program is about. We compete at the highest level nationally, especially with our Blue teams. Our 15 Blue, 16 Blue, 17 Blue teams were 17-6-1 in WWBA pool play this summer in ATL. (note — only two other programs in the region even sent 15u, 16u and 17u teams to the WWBA event in ATL).
Our 16 Blue and 17 Blue teams just finished playing 47 games in 52 days against top competition in front >>100 college coaches. This is a physically taxing grind. If anything, Gamer rosters sizes are too small for this schedule. Most of the teams we play against at the national level have 20+ players on the roster. It is incredibly hard to play 5+ games every weekend with less that 18-21 players at this level of competition.
In addition, our teams actually practice 2x per week during the season. This is how we develop players. Our practice schedule insures that players that do not get as many game reps get a chance to compete and improve outside of games. Same thing with our 90 minute pregame sessions. It insures development and reps outside of games.
Teams with 12-14 players on the roster simply do not play and compete at the same level that the Gamers play. So, if someone is saying this … they are either misleading you OR are simply out of touch with the level of competition at national travel baseball. Youth baseball has changed a lot in the past decade and is changing every year.
The Gamers roster size policy has always been the following:
- 12 players up to 12u
- Roster size = player age at 13u and above
- At 16u and 17u may be more that 16 or 17 with Pitcher Only players
We deviated from this some this year (2018) and are not happy with the results.
We carried more players at 14u in 2018 because we had three 13u teams moving to 14u the prior year and wanted to give more 14u players a chance to experience the Gamers 14u program. We carried small rosters at 15u and 17u, with the idea that we would move players around between age groups once the grind of the summer season started. That happened a lot during June when we had 14’s playing 15 and 16’s playing at 17.
But, when the 14u Atlanta trip came around, we moved the 14’s back to their age level to better compete in ATL and other events. And, the 14u players wanted to play with their 14u teammates in the big events, which is understandable. So, we never fully moved the 14u players to 15u. After June 30th, we realigned the 15-17u rosters from 6 teams down to 5 teams and kept the 14u players at 14u. So, for much of April, May and July, we had too many players on our 14u rosters (15 on 14 Gray and 16 on 14 Blue).
This was a mistake on our part.
However, despite this, the 14u teams played more baseball than any other 14u teams in the region, with ONE WEEKEND off between mid April and the end of July. Our 14Blue players played in 57 games and practiced 32 times between April 1 and July 22nd. Our 14 Gray players played 48 games and practiced 32 times during the same period. This is on top of the 24 practices in the offseason. When other teams were rained out or snowed out on April weekends, we practiced in our indoor facility. There is no other baseball opportunity in the region that offers this kind of baseball experience.
Although the roster size was bigger than planned, the players played A LOT of baseball, developed as players and got a taste of what it takes to compete at a higher level.