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Q?What can I do to get my teenager more exposure to pro scouts and college coaches?

The good news is that it’s more likely than ever that a talented young player will be seen and evaluated. The bad news is that exposure seems to have become so important that playing becomes secondary.

At least 31 professional organizations (30 major league teams plus the Major League Scouting Bureau) cover virtually every area of the country. College and junior college programs are more sophisticated than ever in their recruiting. The major national showcases such as the Area Code Games have scouting networks that rival many pro clubs.

To maximize your opportunities, play on the best summer club you can find after your middle school and high school seasons. This is the key time of year for college coaches and scouts. During the spring they are either bearing down on draft-eligible players or trying to win games.

If you have a college that you would like to attend, go to a camp at the school during the summer so the coach gets to know you and you get to know the staff and school better. Even if the coach doesn’t end up having a spot for you, he’ll be a ready resource for advice and recommendations.

The top showcases are all by invitation only, but you can call the organizations that run them to find out about tryouts. They’re all found in Baseball America’s Directory, a valuable resource to find people throughout the game. If you get invited to a showcase, you don’t have to worry about exposure. But be skeptical of the numerous events that call themselves showcases and charge large amounts of money to allow you to participate.

It’s impossible to rate all of them here, but the buyer (you) should beware. Check out references and weigh the cost and time against the potential benefit. If you find out about a professional team holding a workout or tryout during the summer, plan on attending if possible. These are free and will expose you to the routines typical of tryouts and showcases, as well as putting you in front of scouts.

The more people who see you, the better. The bottom line is that if you play a lot and have talent, the chances are good that you will get the exposure you’re looking for. Just don’t mistake exposure for talent.