We are often asked how our player draft process works and how players are selected to play in our various competitive leagues - the Farm, Minor, 46/65, and 50/70 Major Leagues. Our policies were crafted over a period of many years during discussions at our monthly HOYB Board meetings and through experience at the player tryouts and drafts. All adults in the Herndon community are welcome to attend our Board meetings and our league calendar lists the specific dates, times, and locations.
The purpose of having tryouts and a draft is to create competitive leagues where talent and skills are spread evenly throughout the league. We don't allow particular teams to take all the best players. Our teams are not neighborhood teams once we start drafting, and teams change every year. This is one of the exciting features that differentiates our league from others.
During registration, parents are free to sign up their children at whatever level for which they are age/grade eligible. This year, registration is restricted to specifying an undrafted league or choosing "Drafted League" as a generic registration. We will then conduct tryouts by age, and from there, decide how many teams we will have at each level. This approach allows us to have the right amount of teams at the right level, without forcing kids to move out of a league if we don't have room....we can add or drop team numbers based on the skill level of the league.
At tryouts, each player participates in drills for fielding, throwing, hitting and pitching. The tryouts are observed by the commissioners, managers and assistant coaches of the league. It is very important for all players to participate in tryouts so that the team managers and coaches have the opportunity to see evaluate the skill-levels of all players.
At the draft, the teams select players in an order determined by lottery. The team that selects first in the first round selects last in the second round; the team that selects last in the first round selects first in the second round, and so on, until each team has selected 11 -12 players. In this way, each team has a fair chance to draft players.
Our goal is to offer 4 teams at our highest level, Majors 50/70, however, if we have enough qualified players at that level, we would consider fielding 6 teams. No league will have less than 4 teams and we try not to have uneven numbers to avoid "byes". From year to year, each league could differ in size, based on signups and skill level.
We often get e-mails or phone calls during the sign-up period from parents asking for advice as to what league is right for their child. If you are having a tough time deciding between two leagues, we often recommend choosing the less competitive level. For many children, this results in more opportunities to play more positions and in being more successful on the field, which is a very important ingredient to enjoying the baseball season.
While we all recognize it can be difficult for a player not to be drafted at the level they want, in most cases a draft is the best way to ensure that players are in the league most appropriate for their skill levels and that all teams have a fair chance to compete. Is it possible that your child is a better player than someone who was drafted into a higher league? Of course. No system can be perfect. But a player can 'prove everyone wrong' by his performance on the field. It is our experience that the most talented players in a league are always drafted into a higher level during the following spring season.
In the HOYB program, a child could play a maximum of nine years, yet there are only seven leagues available (T-Ball through Majors 50/70). So a child must repeat a league at least twice in the HOYB program. Everyone repeats leagues, it is the way that our leagues are structured.
We hope this helps to answer some questions that you or your child may have about their team placement.