When a player is added to the Nations Baseball system, our staff is looking through various locations to determine what team a player played on last year and how successful that team was in their performance. All teams would fall into one of 3 categories:
- Up 2 Grades - Teams who had an exceptionally great season have proven that a group of players have built on their skills and are ready to face a more talented group of players to continue their growth. For these few teams, we ask them to not just move up an age, but a class as well. This promotes an opportunity for this group to continue to grow and develop as well other groups of players to have an opportunity to have a great season.
- Up 1 Grade - This is the majority of teams. These players continue to compete against each other and continue to build on their skills. Hopefully as the year moves along, they will have the opportunity to grow and be pushed up to the next level for the next year.
- Up 0 Grades - This group of players spent the year and either were never able to qualify in an event or if they did qualify, it was only by default and they had a very difficult season. This group of players will have an opportunity while moving up an age, but may move down a class, so they stay at the same grade.
- If you see a player with a LY of 0, it is hyperlinked, this is because we couldn't find any information in our research on this player, so please feel free to tell us where this player played last year and any links that may help us assess a grade on this player.
How about a few examples to see how this works. Please keep in mind that many factors come into play, no single factor is determining where a team will play, but these examples should help a team understand how they got on what list.
- In younger teams, the continued play at the select level puts these players at a distinct advantage over the group of players just being introduced into select baseball. Those players who already have select ball experience and training should logically succeed over teams who are just forming and starting to build that skill set. That being said, in ages 9 and down, we take the vast majority of teams who have any success within select baseball and push them up to compete with other teams with experience. So, if a team played in 6U or below in a select division, we will ask them to start in our highest class through 7U. From 7U to 8U to 9U, we take the vast majority from the top level and keep them there, the teams who had exceptionally rough seasons (and please remember, winning is just one factor of a difficult or successful season), we will let them return to Elite the following year. We also look at Elite and move teams who had great success up.
- Last year Johnny played on the XYZ's as a 6U tee ball all-star team who played in a couple of tournaments. Even though the team only achieved a 3-10 record, Johnny is graded 10 going into 7U since his experience will still carry him over those who have not played select ball before.
- Last year Johnny played on the ABC's as a 6U tee ball all-star team who played in a couple of tournaments. Since Johnny's team compiled a record of 0-9 and were run ruled in 7 of the games, Johnny is graded 9 going into 7U since they have proven that they are not yet ready to compete with the more experienced teams.
- Last year Johnny played on the PDQ's as an 8U select equivalent team. As a team they had a very successful season, they didn't win a tournament, but achieved a record of 22-10 and played some very competitive games and run ruled some teams. Johnny is going to be a grade 12 going into 9U and playing at the highest level as they have proven that they are ready to move up.
- 9U is one of the toughest years of a young ball players lives. They are introduced into kid pitch and this is where you find out if players are afraid of getting hit, they have the mental toughness to pitch, and if they can keep focused and pay attention to the much slower paced game. After the 9U season, Nations Baseball branches into 4 divisions and the breakdown is such that the majority of the players playing at the top level in 9U will move to 10U Premier, grade 14, the bottom of the top and the top of the Select level or equivalent will move to 10U Elite, grade 13, and the bottom middle and bottom of the Select or equivalent class will be put into the 10U Select class, grade 12.
- Last year Johnny played on the XYZ's as a 9U top level team who played in a couple of tournaments. Even though the team only achieved a 6-10 record, Johnny is graded 14 going into 10U since his team has proven that they are in the top group of athletes at the age in the nation.
- Last year Johnny played on the ABC's as a 9U top level team who played in a couple of tournaments. Since Johnny's team compiled a record of 0-9 and were run ruled in 7 of the games, Johnny is graded 13 going into 10U since they have proven that they are not yet ready to compete with the more experienced teams, but should mix in fine with the upper select equivalent teams coming into the market.
- Last year Johnny played on the PDQ's as an 9U select equivalent team. As a team they had a very successful season, they didn't win a tournament, but achieved a record of 22-10 and played some very competitive games and run ruled some teams. Johnny is going to be a grade 13 going into 10 and playing at the Elite level as they have proven that they are ready to move up.
- From ages 10-13 as they move up, generally you will see that the top 10-20% of each class will move up and the bottom 10-20% will move down.
How does this affect my team? Each team is allowed 4 players that are playing down from their LY grade. The basic principal behind this is that each team that is moved up will have a few kids that may not be ready for the transition to the next level, but as a whole they have proven that they need to at minimum try the next level. Those players who are disbursed may not be able to find a team at that level in their area, so to be able to play, they may have to drop back. There is no problem with this, but to prevent a mischievous manager from saying that he lost his stars and needs to stay back, we have simply said that each team is allowed 4 players playing back one level from their LY mandate. Managers, you will find the number of exemptions that you have used in your login window. You may also visually view this on your roster by looking at your team grade and then the LY for each of your players. Here are a few examples.
- A new team is formed and the new team desires to be an 11U team. They hold tryouts and have a variety of players show up, but who does the manager select and what becomes of the status of the team?
- 10 grade 14, age 11 players - The team is 11U Elite
- 10 grade 13, age 11 players and 1 grade 13, age 12 player - The team is 12U Select, a team must play in the age of the oldest player
- 10 grade 13, age 11 players and 1 grade 16, age 11 player - The team is 11U Premier, a team may play back 1 grade from the highest graded player
- 5 grade 12, age 10 players and 5 grade 14, age 11 players - The team is 11U Elite, a team must play at a grade if they have 5 or more players of that grade on the team
- 10 grade 18, age 11 players - The team is 11U Premier, players may always return to their age at the highest level.
- My team fell apart, but I have a few players that want to remain together, what do I do. The XYZ's are on the mandate list for Elite.
- I bring back 5 players, but it's my weakest 5. Your team is playing Elite, any time you have 5 players of a higher grade, your team is moved up.
- I bring back 2 players, pick up 2 other Elite players, and fill out the team with Select players. Your team is Select as you only have 4 players from the higher level.