Home Baseball Content From the Little Leagues to the Big Leagues? Nope.

From the Little Leagues to the Big Leagues? Nope.

Written on February 3, 2010 at 4:22 am, by Eric Cressey

Today marks another great blog Q&A from Matt Blake.

Q: I was quite shocked to learn that only three pitchers have ever made it to the Big Leagues from the Little League World Series (LLWS). It makes perfect sense, as the mature kid at 12 generates more velocity than little Billy. Most parents assume that since he is more mature he can handle more stress when in actuality it just means his muscles are stretched out farther and are more susceptible to injury. More specifically, Tom House claimed that the stretched out muscles could be counteracted by dropping your center of gravity. Any input would be great!

A: I think this speaks to a lot of problems with how the players got to Williamsport and the developmental path that carries into their teenage years. The main concerns with the 11-12 year olds that are competing in the LLWS is how skilled they are for such a young age. Typically, this means that they have had a tremendous amount of repetition at a young age, and have competed in a very large number of games over the course of the spring and summer to make it to Williamsport.


Three issues that might speak to why only three pitchers have gone on to play professional ball include:

Issue #1 – These players are not skeletally mature to handle the amount of stress placed on their bodies, so they will probably turn up with more overuse injuries in their teen years that have been accumulating due to the high demand from 9-12.

Issue #2 – This could be a simple timing of maturation. A lot of the dominant players are taller, weigh more, throw harder and have probably entered certain stages of maturation quicker than their peers. This doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be ahead of their peers at 13-15 or even 16-18; it just means that at the age (11-12) we happen to televise, they were more developed. There are at least six more years before this player can even think about playing professionally, so a lot of things can happen to level out the playing field.

Issue #3 – There’s a good chance the amount of repetition that these players have put in at an early age could lead to “burnout” down the road or a feeling of satisfaction and less of a demand to work hard, because everything came to the player so easily at a young age. This game will eat you up if you don’t continue to get quality repetition over the long haul.


At some point, an abundance of talent will be matched, whether it’s in high school, college, or the minor leagues. This is where the intangible qualities separate players and hard work is required to keep your competitive edge. Needless to say, I’m still shocked that only three pitchers have made it from the LLWS. For me, this signifies a serious red flag in the way we are developing talent in the baseball industry if our best players at age 12 don’t translate well to the upper levels.

Have a question for Matt?  Drop him an email at mablak07@gmail.com.

Sign-up Today for our FREE Baseball Newsletter and Receive a Copy of the Exact Stretches
used by Cressey Performance Pitchers after they Throw!


3 Responses to “From the Little Leagues to the Big Leagues? Nope.”

  1. rick Says:

    Good stuff Eric. I work with young kids(lots of baseball players) and these posts have been so helpful to me in explaining to parents to take it easy on “little Johnny”. Keep up the good work thanks,


  2. RT Says:

    My nephew played in the LLWS a couple of years ago. Several of the team members were so drained after the season that they didn’t want to play football, which started shortly after they returned.

  3. Sean Says:

    Most of the players in the LLWS are 13 years old. These kids are actually playing a year behind their peers. You have 7th graders pounding on 6th graders. Most of these guys would not be allstars if they had to compete based on grade level which will happen in high school. Therefore if these players are compared with their grade level peers they are not the best. Maybe Little League should base its ages on grades so that you can see who is most competent among his peers

  • Avoid the most common deadlifting mistakes
  • 9 - minute instructional video
  • 3 part follow up series