What Scouts Are Looking For
THE PHYSICAL TOOLS OF A MAJOR LEAGUE BALL PLAYER
(Quick Feet) the ability to move quickly laterally and forward and
(Range) how much ground does he cover?
(Soft Hands) the ability to catch the ball smoothly in the center
(Quick Hands) the ability to field bad hops.
This is a tool that is often overlooked by ball players today and one
of the most lacking tools at the major league level. With 10 teams
playing on artificial surfaces, making fielders play their position
deeper, a strong arm is even more necessary today than in the past. The
player with a strong arm will have less teams take a chance by running
against him thus preventing runs from scoring. Thus a team with a weak
throwing outfield or catcher will have more opportunities taken against
them leading to more throwing errors and more runs given up.
When scouts are evaluating a players arm strength it is usually
pre-game infield-outfield practice. A scout will get to see several
throws by the outfielders to second, third, and home plate. If a player
has a good arm, chances are he will show it here, particularly on
to home plate. Scouts are looking for four things from outfielders: a
strong overhand throw, a straight-line trajectory, good carry, and good
life on the turf when the ball finally hits the ground.
A strong arm is also necessary for infielders particularly the
shortstop and third baseman. Scouts will pay the most attention to
throws made from the outfield grass from deep short. If a player has a
strong arm, it will show here. Look for a straight-line trajectory,
strong hissing noise, and a sharp smack in the first baseman glove.
Foot speed is the only common denominator of offense and defense.
is one tool that does not go into slumps. A fast runner is of greater
priority for clubs that play on artificial turf because they are
in a bigger park and the ball travels faster than on grass. A fast
outfielder may be able to catch up to two more balls a game thus saving
his ball club an average of one run a game. The same player can steal
bases thus putting ore pressure on the defense and making the pitchers
throw more fastballs.
A players running speed is usually timed in two ways; 60 yard dash
from home to first. The average major league time is , from home to first for right
handed hitters and for left handed hitters. The clock start on times from home to
first on the crack of the bat to when the foot hits first base. A fast
runner at the major league level can run home to first in 4.0 seconds
below. The ability to run, will force fielders to rush their throws and
make more throwing errors. A team without speed will often have to hold
their runners at third base thus scoring less runs.
This is the one tool that has the greatest chance of improvement.
While you can not develop great foot speed or a great arm, fielding has
the greatest chances of improvement with contest practice. When judging
fielding scouts are looking for a number of traits:
(Bat Speed) the ability to swing the bat quickly
the ability to consistently hit the ball hard.
knowledge of the strike zone
the ability to turn on a major league fastball.
the ability to hit breaking pitches.
the ability to hit to all fields.
the ability to make adjustments at the plate when fooled.
This is the most difficult tool to scout because you are judging a
hitter on how they will hit do at the major league level, by watching
them hit against amateur pitching. There are a lot of amateur hitters
that will look great against amateur pitching and then fall flat on
their face once they enter professional baseball. A hitter should have
these lists of skills:
Fastball- The first thing a scout looks for is a fastball with good
velocity and movement. A fastball should sink, rise, slide or tail. A
major league fastball is in the high 80's.
Hitting With Power
Hitting the ball for power is one of the more desirable traits for
hitter, unfortunately it is often the most poorly projected tool at the
major league level. In order to hit for power, a hitter needs
outstanding batspeed. Batspeed is what makes the ball travel and all
outstanding hitters have it. A hitter with major league power will
regularly hit the ball over the fence in batting practice and should be
able to drive the ball over 400 feet.
A lot of care should be taken
judging amateur hitters swinging aluminum bats. The aluminum bat has a
greater hitting surface, and because they are lighter they can be swung
with much greater bat speed, driving the ball 18% farther than with
wooden bats. A 400 foot drive with a wood bat will travel 470 feet with
aluminum. So many hitters are home run hitters swinging aluminum become
warning track hitters with a wood bat. It is very important for hitters
to get used to a wooden bat before signing into professional baseball.
Most hitters find they have a tough time getting used to not driving
ball they way they used to in college or high school baseball.
What Scouts Look For In Pitchers
When scouting a pitcher the first quality a scout will look for is a
strong arm.This is a God-given talent that can only be improved to a
certain degree. One game under a radar gun will tell if the pitcher has
the arm strength to be a major league prospect.
There are two basic
models of radar guns used to clock the speed of fastballs. The Jugs
Speed Gun (Fast Gun) will pick up the speed of the fastball after it
traveled 3.5 feet and the Ra-Gun (Slow Gun) will pick up the speed
the ball has traveled 40-50 feet. A fastball will lose 8 mph from the
time it leaves the pitchers hand to the time it crosses home plate. The
JUGS speed Gun is usually 3-4mph faster than the Ra-Gun. The average
major league fastball is on a JUGS Speed Gun and 84-85 mph on
the Ra-Gun. Scouts will rarely if ever sign a pitcher who does not
at least 85 mph on the JUGS Speed Gun.
CHECKLIST FOR GRADING PITCHERS
Curveball- When grading a curveball, scouts look for a fast tight
rotation on the ball. A good curveball will break both laterally and
downward about two feet. A good curve ball gives the illusion of
off the table with its sharp downward breaking motion as it approaches
Slider- A good slider can be a tremendous compliment to a good
fastball. A good slider will have a tight lateral spin, like a bullet.
slider will break about 6-18 inches as it approaches home plate. It
should look like a fastball until it breaks across the plate.
ChangeUp- A good change up can be a tremendous asset to any pitcher
making fastball seem that much quicker to the hitter. A good change-up
should look identical to the hitter only it travels 15-20 mph slower
than the fastball. It will make the hitter way out in front of the
Delivery- A pitchers delivery should be as smooth as possible. It
should look effort-less with no mechanical problems like: throwing
across the body, landing on a stiff front leg, overstriding, landing on
the heel or his arm lagging behind his body. Any mechanical problems
left uncorrected can lead to control and arm problems.
Control- The ability to throw strikes on a consistent basis is vital
for any pitcher to have success at the major league level. If the
pitcher has less than overpowering stuff his control becomes even more
important to his success. A good pitcher will be able to throw 70% of
their pitches for strikes and can throw breaking pitches for strikes
when behind in the count.
Arm Strength: A strong arm is especially necessary from the shortstop
who will often be making throws up to 150 feet flat-footed on the edge
of the outfield grass. The third baseman also needs a strong arm when
called upon to make throws up to 120 feet from along the foul line.
to see if the infielders throws are straight and do not die as they
approach the first baseman.
What Scouts Look For in Catchers
A good catcher is vital to the success of a championship team. The
catcher will provide leadership on the field and work with the pitcher
when setting up the hitters and calling the game. The catcher must be
durable and is responsible for the teams defense. A catcher needs soft
hands , quick feet and the ability to block pitches in the dirt. A good
catcher can catch and throw to second base under , some
catchers can break 1.8 seconds.
What Scouts Look For In Infielders
A good infield is worth it wait in gold to a successful team. A
defense will take the opposition out of more rallies and save wear and
tear on the pitching staff.
Teams are looking for these qualities in their infielders.
Range: Look for infielders with good body control. They need first-step
quickness able to field the ball to their left, right, over their head
and able to charge the ball and come up throwing. Also they need soft
hands, able to move their hands quickly and smoothly to bad hops and
sharply hit line drives
Arm Strength: A strong arm is vital for the defensive make up of the
outfield. A strong arm will cut down baserunners trying to score and
prevent runners from taking extra bases. When evaluating a players arm
strength, it is important to be at the game in time to see
infield-outfield practice. If the player has a strong arm, chances are
he will show it here. Teams will often decide whether to run on a team
by the strength of the arms demonstrated before the game. You should
look for four things from outfielders: a strong overhand throw, a
straight-line trajectory, good carry, and good life off the turf when
the ball finally hits the grounds. A strong arm is vital for rightfield
because he will often be called on to make throws to third base and
plate up to 275 feet.
What Scouts Look For In Outfielders
A good outfielder is vital to the make up for a successful team.
Although most outfielders are in the lineup for their bats, their
defensive skills can not be overlooked. Scouts are looking for these
basic skills from outfielders
Range: A good outfielder will be able to cover a lot of ground in the
outfield. The centerfielder has the most territory to cover, so
obviously getting a good jump on the ball and having good speed is
for a good outfielder. The outfielder must be able to field ground and
fly balls and come up throwing. Outfielders need to be able judge how
hard a ball is hit and be able to field fly balls hit over his head.
centerfielder requires the most speed and the rightfielder the
arm. A good centerfielder can run the 60 yard dash in under 6.6
Left and rightfielders should run the 60 yard dash under 6.8 seconds.
What Scouts Look For In Hitters
This is the hardest all tools to predict whether a player will hit
major league pitching because you often do not know whether they will
hit at the major league level until they get there.
The quality the most necessary to become a major league hitter is a
smooth quick level swing. A player with a quick bat can wait on the
pitches longer therefore have a better chance of hitting the ball
harder. Another important quality to look for is a good knowledge of
strike zone. A player will not become a good hitter by swinging at
pitches outside the strike zone. The more patient the hitter is, the
more dangerous they become.
When watching a hitter play close attention to his hands when he
strides. If a player drops or raises his hands when the pitch is being
delivered, he increases his chances of not hitting the ball hard. The
hands should go back, the less unnecessary movement, the better. The
harder the pitcher is throwing, the more mechanically correct the
needs to be to hit. A hitter that lunges, doesn1t keep his hands back,
hitches or has a pronounced uppercut will not hit at a consistent level.
When evaluating hitters focus on tools, not statistics. You should
scout tools not performance. Statistic are good for evaluating
weaknesses. A hitter with a high strikeout and low walk total is
swinging at too many bad pitches, unless corrected will never hit at a
A hitter should be able to turn on a good fastball on the inside part
of the pate. If he can1t, he has little chance of becoming a good
hitter, because pitchers must throw inside to be successful at the
league level. A hitter must be able to hit breaking pitches or he will
not last at the major league or minor league level. Once word gets out
about a hitters can1t hit the breaking pitches, he will see nothing
until he learns to hit it.
The player1s makeup is vital to his success in professional baseball.
Often the player with the greatest desire will develop into a better
ball player than the one with better physical tools. Most of the
when they sent to the minor leagues, are used to being the star on
team and often have never been in a slump or have lost a game before.
This for many players is difficult to accept. For the first time in
their lives, they are knocked out in the first inning or go 0 for 4. If
a player can overcome this, they have a better chance of reaching their
goal of playing in the major leagues.
One of the most important factors in a player1s makeup is whether
can adjust to being away from home. Most high school players have never
been away from home for any length of time and many are not prepared
mentally to handle the long bus rides, bad lights, and poor playing
conditions. For many college players, the minors is a step down from
playing on good fields, good lighting, flying, and large attendance.
college player often comes into the minor leagues more mature because
has been away from home, but a player with a college degree may quit
after two years if he does not feel he is being promoted quick
is very difficult for players to see their teammates being promoted
while they are staying put. A player who works hard and puts up good
numbers in the minor leagues will be noticed by the organization.
PLAYER CHECKLIST (What to look for in a player)
CATCHERS: Arm strength, agility and quickness, soft hands,
aggressiveness plus leadership.
INFIELDERS: Arm Strength, speed, instincts, aggressiveness, soft hands,
hitting ability (especially from the corners).
HITTERS: Strength, batspeed, plane of swing, absence of fear,
aggressiveness, top-hand extension, and follow-though.
PITCHERS: Arm strength, velocity, movement, and a curveball with tight
rotation, free arm action and proper delivery, with complete extension
on the follow-though (basically a live, quick arm, aggressiveness, and
the ability to concentrate.
MAKEUP: Strong desire to succeed, coachability, maturity, temperament,
improvement, drive, hunger, consistency, knowledge of the game,
competitiveness, (how badly does the player want to reach the major
leagues and how well he will work at.)
PHYSICAL CHANGES: Has he reached his full height yet? Can he gain or
lose weight? Will he become faster or slower? Has he filled out yet?
Does he a have history of being hurt? How much has his skills improved
from last year.
Does the player have the physical tools plus the strong make up to
in the major leagues. Only about 10% of the players who sign a minor
league contract will.
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