Photos provided by Stars Baseball
This article is part of series highlighting different organizations within NVTBL. We will be posting new articles each week.
The top five percent of high school baseball players in the country have no problem getting recruited to play college baseball, usually before their junior year. The Stars Baseball program takes pride in creating pathways for the rest of the 95 percent of players who need the coaching and connections to play at the next level.
Founded in 2008, the Stars have committed over 500 players to play college baseball behind co-founder Carson Carroll’s model of elite coaching, year-round workouts and consistent exposure to college coaches. General managers Mike Colangelo and Shawn Camp have grown Carroll’s vision by hiring more top-level coaches, servicing players from all ages, incorporating facility access and growing their network of connections in the college baseball community.
The vast understanding of the different levels of play along with what certain coaches look for allow the Stars program to find proper fits for players and ensure they are on the right track to reach their goal.
“Right now we are top 10, maybe top five in the country based on percentage of commitments,” Colangelo said. “It doesn’t matter if you are on the first, second or third team, we are still going to get you committed and only God knows where you are going. At some point players have limitations, but we are going to give you the information and coaching and we take pride in finding fits for players.”
Colangelo and Camp both attended George Mason University, however their ties don’t end there. Carroll, Colangelo, Camp and recruiters Jack Ferrick and Mark Wrighte have connections to hundreds of coaches, recruiters and scouts from college and professional levels. Over the years, the Stars have established trust and credibility with recruiters and scouts that has allowed the program to grow on a national scale.
“We have a staff of guys that set their egos aside and fight for [our players] when they can’t fight and that’s what we do really well,” Camp said. “We are always looking to build those relationships with [coaches] and fight for our players. We also get feelers on what some schools are looking for and if I don’t know a coach, I will find out about them and communicate with them.”
Colangelo joined the Stars’ staff in 2011 after playing professionally for eight years while Camp played 18 years professionally, including 11 seasons in the Major Leagues. Their experience and knowledge of the game is unmatched in Northern Virginia, but it’s their method of developing players that separates them from the rest of the pack.
“It doesn't matter what word you use, if you can’t explain it, demonstrate it and give a drill to feel it, then you are not [going to be successful],” Colangelo said. “I'm excited about what we have at the Stars because Shawn is locked in full-time, I’m locked in full-time, and we are getting better coaches and players, but now we have a better system in place to help these kids. It’s exciting for us.”
“The process is the development. When I look at some players, I have some kids with really high baseball I.Q. but they might lack a particular skill. To be a better player and develop into a full-fledged athlete at that position, you have to be able to understand I have certain things I need to work on,” Camp said. “If you can identify and get kids to understand it and trust that process, that is the goal.”
The Stars program is also incorporating data and technology to further develop players. The program can utilize video or data points from Rapsoda and HitTrax systems to show where players are, show them where they need to be based on the average data of that level and then show them evidence of their progression.
“How can you develop a kid if you don’t have any video or data backing up where they started and where you are trying to get them to?” Colangelo said. “Now we have that capability.”
The Stars are able to accommodate youth players learning the game all the way up the scale to high school and college players looking to play at the next level. Looking to the future, the organization will continue to add coaches and resources that will further develop their players while staying true to their foundation.
“There is a value on what we are trying to do and hopefully 10 years from now we are still allowing the game of baseball to grow,” Colangelo said. “Our organization is more about development or drill progression rather than just taking kids, putting them on teams, showing up, playing and go home. That was not the model when Carson [Carroll] started this program and its not going to be the model going forward.”
For more information on the Stars Baseball organization, visit starsshowcasebaseball.com.