Bombers Baseball Club

What Scouts Look for in Players

What Scouts Look for in Players

Tips on how to get noticed by College Coaches and Pro Scouts

Do you know what scouts and coaches look for in players? Read further to find out!! 

What Scouts Look For in PitchersWhen observing a prospect, a scout evaluates several key components of pitching. Some of these are obvious ingredients, some are more subtle, but the experienced scout checks to see how a pitching prospect rates on each particular aspect. 

1. Velocity: Perhaps the most obvious of all pitching components, a scout first considers the amount of force or velocity with which a pitcher throws. 

2. Movement: Just as important as velocity is the ball’s movement. Does the pitcher’s ball merely go straight? The scout is usually more interested in a pitcher’s ball that has more movement. 

3. General Mechanics: Does the pitcher exhibit the expected amounts of maturity, poise, rhythm, and pitching techniques on the mound? 

4. Delivery: Specifically, the scout considers the pitcher’s release point. Is the pitcher’s delivery over the-top, three-quarters, sidearm, or submarine? Is it free and fluid or forced and labored? 

5. Arm Action: Is the pitcher getting the full extension of his arm when he releases the ball? Is his motion herky-jerky or fluid? In other words, does his delivery make him suspect for an arm injury. 

6. Curve Ball: When evaluating the pitcher’s curve, scouts check for rotation, sharpness, the direction in which it breaks (down, across, or both), and how much it breaks (a few inches or closer to a foot?). Can a batter easily adjust to the pitch or does the pitcher hide it well in the wind-up? 

7. Change-up: The off-speed pitch is considered vital for success in professional baseball. If a pitcher is able to throw a change-up then the scouts want to know how often he can use it effectively. 

8. Other Pitches: What other pitches can the pitcher throw and control? These might include a slider, knuckleball, screwball, forkball, palmball, or splitfinger fastball. 

9. Control: Also vitally important for success; scouts gauge whether control allows a pitcher to pinpoint certain pitches, or if the pitcher is just learning how to find the plate. 

10. Type: The scouts label pitchers as certain types. Is a pitcher over powering with a blazing fastball, finesse pitcher who just hits the corners of the plate, or a mix pitcher with a combination of good fastball, curve, and change-up?A pitcher must have a sound delivery, good basics, and good arm action; or must show that some minor adjustment will give him these qualities in the near future. Bad arm action, poor delivery, or both will considerably lessen the chances of a young pitcher improving his potential enough to be projected by scouts as a prospect. Experience shows that scouts can look for improvements with breaking pitches, changes of speed, and control. Even the fastball can be improved with time.     

What Scouts Look For in Hitters

Scouts know that there are different kinds of hitters, such as power, contact, line-drive, and slap hitters. AsTed Williams has said many times, hitting is the most difficult task in all sports. Once you’ve found a hittingstyle that makes you feel comfortable, stay with it and keep working on it. In the meantime, the scouts willevaluate your hitting strengths and potential. 

1. Type of Stroke: Scouts first classify what kind of stroke a hitter has, whether it’s short and compact,long and looping, quick, etc. The fact that there is no perfect stroke should not discourage prospectivehitters. 

2. Faults: Scouts also immediately check out any flaws a hitter may have in his stroke. Those flawsinclude hitching, over striding, bailing out on curves, and dropping the back shoulder. While these flawscan all be corrected, a scout must first be aware of them. 

3. Type of Hitter: There are many kinds of hitters, as identified in the following complete checklist:aggressive (free swinger), defensive (takes a lot of pitches), power hitter (home-run swinger), spray orsingles hitter (short stroke), line-drive, pull hitter, straight away, opposite field, and hitter to all fields. 

4. Power: Power is not restricted to homerun hitters. Scouts know that a line-drive hitter can put as muchpower into his stroke as a home-run hitter. Scouts want to see the ball “jump” off the bat. They are notinterested in weak line drives or soft fly balls. They want to see how the batter hits the ball, which is thekey to judging a hitter’s power. 

5. Bunting: Bunting seems to be a lost art, so if a hitter can bunt for a hit or put down a good sacrificebunt, scouts will be impressed. A left-handed hitter with good speed should use the drag bunt as a vitalpart of his repertoire. Too many kids avoid working on bunting skills; make sure you don’t.    

What Scouts Look For in Catchers

Catchers have to represent a combination of strength, durability, intelligence, arm accuracy, and if possible,good hitting ability. Such combinations are rare; hence, a good catching prospect is a great find. Whenlooking at a catching prospect, scouts check the following key components. 

1. Arm Strength: First and foremost, does the catcher have a good, solid throw to second base? Isthere potential for that arm strength to improve? 

2. Release: Does the cather have a strong wrist action? That is, can he get rid of the ball in a hurrywithout having to wind up his entire arm? 

3. Accuracy: A strong arm isn’t the only ability a catcher needs. Can he throw the ball directlydbase on a straight line, time and time again without missing the mark? 

4. Hands: Does the catcher have hands that gently receive the pitch or does he fight the pitch as itcomes to the plate? The “softer” the receiver, the better the prospect. 

5. Agility: Is the catcher good at moving around the plate? Can he easily block balls in front of the plate?Can he track down pop-ups fairly well? Is he good at getting out in front of the plate to handle bunts? 

6. Leadership: Does the catcher show the kind of field leadership that he needs to exhibit? Does he callthe pitches or does the coach? Can he communicate will and calm down the pitcher when things getrough?     

What Scouts Look For in Outfielders

Outfielders tend to be regarded by some fans as offensively oriented players, but scouts know that swingingthe bat is only part of the outfielder’s job. Arm strength, defensive skills, and speed, as well as several otherskills are critical parts of the outfielder’s game. 

1. Arm Strength: The strongest arm in the outfield belongs to the right fielder because he has to makethe longest throws. Scouts want to make sure that the center fielder and left fielder have good solidarm strength as well as accuracy and quick release. 

2. Jump: When a ball is hit, a good outfielder will automatically get a “jump” on the ball; he gets intoposition to make the next play as the pitch makes contact with the bat. Some scouts feel that thisability, like others, is more of an instinct than a trait that can be learned, but the more one practicescatching fly balls, the more one can improve. 

3. Fielding Ground Balls: Being an outfielder doesn’t exclude a player from handling grounders. Theability to cleanly pick up a ball hit to the outfield, without bobbling it is an essential part of outfield play. 

4. Handling the Terrain: Can the outfielder range in all directions well? Does he know how to go backon the ball, how to use the warning track, and how to play a ball off the wall? 

5. Steps: When throwing the ball back to the infield, does the outfielder position himself to get the mostout of his throws? Does he release the ball quickly? Does he take only a couple of steps in his release? 

6. Speed: Can the outfielder use his speed in covering territory? Does he know how to cut a ball offbefore it gets to the gap? Does he know how to charge a sinking line drive without being “handcuffed?”     

What Scouts Look For in Infielders

The two most important tools an infielder can have are “quick feet” and “soft hand” – the ability to gracefullyfield a ground ball as though it’s a thoroughly natural, unhurried event. Although many scouts feel that this skill really can’t be taught, the more you practice fielding ground balls, the better and smoother you’ll become. A scout will look at the following when evaluating an infielder. 

1. Range: An infielder must move quickly in all directions. This includes not only going to one’s right orleft to make a play but also to backpedal into the outfield on pop-ups and charge a slow roller. 

2. Quick Feet: Especially for those plays around second base on the pivot, an infielder must exhibit quickfeet along with agility and athletic skill. 

3. Arm Strength: Like the other defensive positions in the field, an infielder must show a strong accuratearm. Because so many major league ballparks have artificial turf, infielders must play deeper than normal, this places a higher premium on a strong arm. 4.

  1. Taking Charge: Infielders tend to be involved in almost every play. Scouts look for an infielder’sleadership abilities to see how he “takes charge” on the field. This might include taking time to talk withthe pitcher, letting the outfielders know how many outs there are, directing traffic on crucial plays, etc. 

5. Aggressiveness: In line with taking charge, scouts appreciate an infielder who is aggressive in hisplay, who is able to hang tough on a pivot play or to knock down a hard hit grounder.