The OYO Executive Board and Junior Baseball Commissioner have been monitoring the registration trends in the Junior Baseball divisions. Our original plans called for offering separate divisions for the age groups 13-14 and 15-16.
For a little perspective, from years 2009-2013, we offered one division for all Junior Baseball players ages 13-16. Then, from 2014 through 2018, to accommodate an unprecedented spike in registrations, we split the Junior Baseball division into two separate programs as noted above. Now, the unprecedented spike has settled into more traditional registration patterns as experienced a few years ago.
This year, we have received nearly three times the number of player registrations among 13-14 year-old players than those who are ages 15-16. In addition, we have as many as six coaches already identified who are affiliated with 13-14 year-old players compared to none for the 15-16 age group at this time. As a result, we will merge all Junior Baseball players ages 13-16 into one division for the 2019 Fall Ball season.
We believe this modification to the Junior Baseball division will result in a more positive on-the-field experience for all players. Our commitment is providing a fun, memorable competitive program complete with solid coaching for player development. Here are some additional considerations and assurances on why we believe this change will be a win-win for all players and families:
- Combining Ages Precedent Set at OYO | Our program has extensive experience combining the 13-16 year-old age group with positive results, most notably with our 14U/16U Softball division (in place since 2011) and the Junior Baseball baseball program also combines 13-15-year-olds in the spring (so only adding one more age to the mix, in theory)
- More Teams in a Single Division | A division with a minimum of six (and potentially eight) teams will create more variety in game-day opponents
- Coaching Secured | Coaches with extensive experience will welcome older players to their teams to help provide leadership and on-the-field mentoring
- Player Distribution Will Be Balanced | We will split all 15-16-old players evenly across all teams, and we expect all teams to have approximately 3-4 “older” players based on current registrations and projections
- Future Registrations | We will continue to accept registrations for all players ages 15-16 but we will be very selective in how we assign them for even distribution
- Rule Modification | The only rule change for Fall Ball that will be reviewed and revised is the pitching limit rule — we will adopt a similar rule to how we manage our Junior Baseball division in the spring to ensure all players of all ages are getting a chance to develop their pitching skills
- Division Formality | We will drop the ages following the division and be renaming the division to simply Junior Baseball or JBB in all future communications — this may take a few days to execute as needed in all aspects of our online registration and player management platform
We appreciate your understanding and, hopefully, support for this change in the Junior Baseball division.