Everything that a college scout looks for is summarized into one word: potential. It’s not about what you can do now; it’s about what you can be in the future.
To spot the next great recruit, baseball scouts have comprehensive guidelines that provide an objective assessment of a player’s skills. Scouts also follow their intuition when evaluating unquantifiable qualities, like a player’s professionalism and commitment.
So if you want to get drafted and be a scholarship-level athlete, pay attention to the things that will catch the eye of a scout.
The Five Tools
Most baseball scouts use five tools to evaluate a player and give them a grade from 20 (virtually non-existent skills) to 80 (a Hall of Famer). These five tools are:
- Running Speed — Fractions of a second matter. Keep in mind that an average run from home plate to first base is 4.3 seconds for right-handed hitters. Left-handed counterparts, meanwhile, run at an average of 4.2 seconds.
- Throwing Strength – Particularly important for pitchers, you’ll be judged for your throwing strength. Pitchers, for example, are evaluated for their control and speed. The average speed of a fastball for an upper-level pitcher is 90mph.
- Defensive Skill – In evaluating a player’s defensive tools, scouts look at body control, instincts, range, and more.
- Hitting for Average – Also known as batting average, this is determined by dividing a player’s hits by their total at-bats. The average is around 0.250.
- Hitting for Power – Hitting for power is a skill that all 30 teams look for.
To get the overall score for a player, a scout gives them a grade from 20-80 for all five tools. Then, they average the marks to produce an overall score. A score of 50 denotes an average player, while 60 is above average.
In addition, coaches look for the best fit for their team, so while the grading system helps them, there are still unique qualities they look for in every recruit.
Dedication for the Sport
At the end of the day, however, the five tools are not enough.
The journey to the Major League, after all, is not a walk in the park. Athletes commit to hours of practice every day and only get a day off once in a few weeks. Training is physically and mentally exhausting, and the young athlete must be dedicated enough to endure it.
What makes a player stand out from their peers is their work ethic. Professionalism alone couldn’t trump ability, but if you’re competing against equally skilled players for a spot in a collegiate team, your work ethic will set you apart.
Practice Smart, Practice Often
Work with your coach to polish your skills and prepare for the five marking tools.
- Pay attention to your general athleticism. Overall strength, endurance, and agility will help you in all regards.
- Don’t devote all your time to one ability and neglect other aspects of the game.
- Practice with the right equipment.
Two pieces of equipment play a big role in your preparation: a radar gun and a speed pitch cage. A radar gun allows you to record your pitching speed and track your progress. Meanwhile, a speed pitch cage gives you a controlled environment where you can train and improve the technical aspects of your pitching.
Inquire at Radar Sports about this equipment today.