When scouting players, there can be a lot to look at. Evaluating position players, specifically, can have coaches analyzing a myriad of traits to give athletes the proper grade. How do they perform on the field? How well can they throw? How do they perform at the plate? Are they fast or agile? What’s their mentality around their teammates?
Knowing what to look for when scouting position players can help ease the process of building a successful squad. Searching through an athlete’s skill set and focusing on what matters can help you get to a true determination of their baseball merit. Use these scouting tips to find what you’re looking for when analyzing prospective players to fill your roster.
KNOWING THE FIVE TOOLS
Evaluating position players adds a list of criteria to look for in an athlete. Unlike scouting practices for hitters and pitchers, where singular aspects are highlighted, position players require the total package. You should take an athlete’s offensive and defensive merits into consideration when looking at position players.
For easier digestion of these multiple skills, it can be helpful to break them down into five categories, or tools. Scouts and coaches can often evaluate position players on their ability to:
- Hit for Power
Breaking down a player’s skills in this manner can make it easier to review when determining roster spots. If you grade each prospect in this fashion, it can also be easier to compare similar profiles.
DIFFERENT STRENGTHS FOR DIFFERENT POSITIONS
In addition to understanding which tools to look for, it’s also helpful to understand which cater to each position. There are profiles that often fit specific positions in baseball. Some skills can translate better in different circumstances, so it can be helpful to prioritize.
“Every position has a different player profile. The catching position and the shortstop position, the defensive tools come first,” one professional baseball scout says. “Whereas a corner outfield position, a corner infield position, the hit tool and the power tools come toward the top and the defensive tools are down below.”
ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING
Apart from their physical talents, coaches need to also take note of a player’s attitude and mental game. Rostering an athlete who does not share team values can be more detrimental to success than on-field imperfections. However, unfortunately, you can’t judge their character as quickly as you would their plate approach. This is where you can get creative in your scouting techniques.
“Where I find myself leaning on high school coaches, college coaches, even club ball coaches is, ‘Hey, what kind of teammate is this kid when I’m not looking?’” one professional scout says. “Specifically, when I’m at a ballgame, I’ll try to peek my head into a dugout just to see how he interacts with the rest of the group.”
Viewing intrasquad relationships – as well as conversations with former coaches – can help paint a solid picture of an athlete’s demeanor. Scouts also encourage athletes to be their true selves, rather than putting on a façade for evaluation. When grading prospective position players, it’s important to keep a keen eye on how they act when they think they’re not being watched.
Developing your defense begins with the right athletes at the right positions. With these scouting Pro Tips, you can look to find the perfect fit for the field, one player at a time.