Frequently Asked Questions
What happens after registration?
After you purchase your BBJO membership, you will be auto-emailed a link to your profile form. Once you submit the profile form, it will be forwarded to us and we will start putting together your profile. As soon as we publish your profile, we will send it to you with instructions on where to go from there.
Here are three major benefits of our service:
1. Our support in attracting offers
- The key is having an informative, professional profile. We put that together for you and draw out information that will improve your chances of finding a club.
- Support with video editing, putting together fancy cover photos, formatting, etc.
- The finished profile is handed over to you to edit as you see fit.
- BBJO staff are continuously in contact with clubs and proactively recommending our members.
- After logging in, there is a database of clubs at your disposal if you want to be proactive.
2. Our support in evaluating offers
- Introductions to former imports of a club you are considering playing for to pick their brain.
- 24/7 access to BBJO knowledge about leagues, clubs, countries (ie. cost of living, rural v urban).
- Help reviewing contracts items, advising.
3. Our support while abroad
- Picked up for tournaments for more exposure or simply for fun (Prague Baseball Week, Finkstonball)
- Post signing exposure on social media (ie. clips, highlights of you)
- Added to the private Facebook group called BBJO Couch Surfers for that season. Used for cheap travel, BBJO tips, opportunities during that season
- BBJO staff updates profiles with new stats, video, info.
- Released? Help finding a new club in that country or nearby country
Our support is not limited to these three steps throughout the duration of your membership. Many former members are now close friends and what we consider part of the “BBJO family”. Sometimes we never meet them but do manage to form a bond with them throughout our correspondence over the years. Not all remain on as members as opportunities fell in their lap once they established themselves overseas. However, we continue to support them in their careers and have remained as mentors to many, often providing letters of recommendation for their post-playing career pursuits and advice when needed.
How can I be sure I will get any offers?
There are many leagues overseas with a wide range of competitive levels. There are opportunities for just about anyone who play even at the lowest of college levels. There are also some high-level leagues overseas that are great fits for former MLB players.
Which opportunities you may attract, really boils down to five things:
1. The level you have reached
The higher the level you played at, the more offers you will receive. The lower the level you played at, the more that position and an ability to help coach a club’s youth will play a factor in receiving offers.
2. Your verifiable, statistical success
Since clubs do not recruit you in person, stats are easily the #1 aspect of the profile to determine if your ability. Clubs want to see a history of statistical success at a recognized and benchmarkable level. If you do not have recent verifiable stats, or if your stats are sub-par, it does not mean you cannot receive offers, but you will need to bring more to the table (see 3, 4 and 5 below).
3. Your primary and secondary positions
Every single club of every league overseas seeks a stud starting pitcher. For position players, the higher the level overseas, the less position pays a role. The lower the level, the less local talent can fill the positions that take more skill to be good at (ie. Catcher, shortstop, second base, third base). Therefore, OF and 1B tend to be in less demand unless they swing a big bat, possess blazing speed, can also pitch as a secondary position (see more on two-way players below), or have an extensive coaching background (see point 4).
Two-way players are in very high demand in many leagues overseas. The higher the league, the more challenging it is to find the type of athlete that can both swing it and shove it at the level required. But there are some low or mid-level leagues overseas (comparable to low to mid college levels), where guys who pitched in high school but played position in college (or vice versa) are stud two-way players.
4. Your ability to coach at any age level
The higher the level, again, the less this plays a role. However, even clubs in the top leagues overseas love an import who can also double as their pitching or hitting coach for example. However for the most part, the general rule of thumb is that the lower the level, the more value placed on an import player who can coach. It could be a role as a player-coach for the team he plays on, or it could be a player who then coaches youth within the organization.
5. Your expectations in level of play and pay
One major point should be made here……. playing professional baseball overseas, for the most part, means playing at a level lower than you previously played. If that doesn’t make sense to you, consider the perspective of a club in Germany for example. Why would a club in Germany use a good chunk of their budget to bring in a player who previously competed at a level comparable to the locals? Wouldn’t it make more sense to just fill from within with their young guys coming up? The truth is, clubs seek an import player who they believe will dominate in their league. So if your expectations are not in check with this regard, you may not receive offers you desire.
Level of pay is pretty standard for most, with the exception of the veteran affiliated guys (see more below). Most offers are return airfare, accommodations and a salary that is enough to cover your daily expenses with some leftover to have some evenings out. Returning players who have proven themselves as a solid player who possesses the right character tend to get more than players heading overseas for the first time.
Former affiliated guys are a bit trickier to summarize in this category. In short, if they are flexible with salary and level of play, they will have a lot of opportunities to extend their career overseas. If they have families, mortgages, etc, and are therefore requiring $5k+ a month, they should have MLB on their resume or darn close to it.
This is where we come in, to help you sort all of this out and find the league and club that is the right next step in your career. Just know that generally speaking, compared to pro ball in the U.S., it is much easier overseas to get paid to play because there are many lower levels overseas that present that door in for someone who otherwise has no chance in the U.S.
If you want some feedback where your opportunities may lie should you register, we invite you to fill out the pre-registration feedback form (link).
Do I need to have professional experience?
Not at all! In fact, more than half of our members who sign overseas do not have professional experience because there simply are more professional opportunities in semi-professional leagues where locals pay to play and only imported players are paid.
Top college players who did not get drafted and decided to pass on the indy ball route can find themselves in professional leagues overseas once they have proven themselves in top semi-professional leagues overseas, such as Germany or the Czech Republic.
There is such a wide range in level of play overseas, that even players who graduate from the lowest levels of college baseball can find a place to play, provided they have good stats and are willing to coach youth.
In which countries do your members sign?
We keep track of every single signing on this spreadsheet. The far majority (85%) of these are baseball players who signed overseas. The remaining 15% makes up coaches and women fastpitch players who signed overseas.
Am I guaranteed placement in a league?
Registering with us is similar to a tryout, however, instead of watching you perform, we showcase you to clubs overseas through your profile. Clubs then decide on who they want to make an offer based on what they see within your profile (previous performance, level, video, testimonials, etc). As we mentioned above, there are so many levels overseas that offer professional opportunities to play and/or coach, that there are opportunities for both the aspiring and the experienced professional. So the chance of receiving an opportunity to continue your career overseas is much greater than anywhere else. However, in the end, it is not our decision who the clubs sign and who they do not, so we cannot guarantee signing. We can say with conviction, that your best chance of signing overseas is by using our service.
Can I contact clubs as well?
Of course. We have an extensive database of clubs for our members to browse (370+ baseball, 330+ softball) and growing. Included are links to their social media, emails and video. We are regularly in contact with clubs making recommendations, however, being proactive on your end is also a good approach.