In baseball, it’s one thing to throw and another to pitch. To be successful on the mound, pitchers need to exhibit several qualities and characteristics. When scouting pitchers, it’s important to identify these traits in order to evaluate effectively. Discover these points of interest and how to grade prospective players with these Pro Tips.
A PRESENT ABILITY
Scouting pitchers can seem intensive, but a lot of the burden falls on the athlete. Some scouts believe pitcher evaluation is easier than other positions because players will showcase their abilities right away. Factors like arm strength, strike zone command, pitch movement and delivery can all be analyzed from a visual standpoint.
For example, a popular tool for scouts when grading pitchers is a radar gun. This device can track pitch speeds easily and can give a concrete answer to an athlete’s velocity.
Where scouting pitchers becomes more in-depth is evaluating a player’s ability to use these physical skills during a game.
DESIRE TO CHALLENGE
One trait baseball coaches can look for in pitchers is their desire to challenge batters. A pitcher might have the physical skills to strike out hitters, but are they willing to go after that strikeout? Do they have the confidence on the mound to give a batter their best with each pitch?
“I think it’s important, you know, to be pitch efficient,” one professional baseball scout says. “If you have confidence in your stuff and have the ability to throw strikes, challenge that guy. Make him put the ball in play. Make him play fast. Keep your infielders and your outfielders on their toes.”
Going after hitters and understanding the surrounding defense can showcase a strong field presence. The will to challenge hitters, rather than finessing around the zone, can show confidence and mental strength.
MIXING IT UP
Aside from mental toughness, it can also be beneficial to look for athletes with multiple pitches. A strong fastball can only carry a pitcher so far until the opponent finds their own formula for success. Players with the ability to change the speed of the game can keep opponents on their toes.
“The hitter’s trying to time him up and the pitcher’s trying to throw off his timing,” one professional scout says. “So, is there a secondary pitch that now becomes effective? Does he have a changeup, something to change the speed of the game?”
Searching through pitching prospects can take time and plenty of analysis. Avoid any curveballs in your judgement with these coaching Pro Tips.
Pitchers also need to exhibit a competitive nature when dueling on the mound. Discover how to scout for competitiveness with these Pro Tips.