HomeTrending MLB NewsBernie’s Baseball World - How Baseball Scouts Evaluate Talent 

Bernie’s Baseball World – How Baseball Scouts Evaluate Talent 

In a previous article I defined the baseball scouting player grading scale.

The overall purpose of the scout is to evaluate skills and talent.

Scouts look for these five “tools” from position players:

1-Hitting ability (will he hit for average)

2-Hitting for power

3-Running ability and speed

4-Throwing ability, including arm strength and carry

5-Defensive (fielding) ability

Scouting pitching is different. Scouts look for:

1-Arm angle

2-Pitching mechanics

3-Fastball velocity

4-Pitch repertoire



The baseball scout looks for overall athletic ability. Fitness. Strength. Speed. Physicality. Agility. Movement. Coordination. Footwork. 

The baseball scout looks for passion. Love of the game. Temperament. Attitude. 

The baseball scout pays very close attention to the current physical maturity of the player. Will he grow more? 

Where is his strength? Upper body? Trunk? Both? Where is his physical weakness?

What type of body type does he have? Tall and thin? Stout? Heavy? Strong?

Broad shoulders? Compact frame? Long limbs?

The baseball scout looks at the health history of the player. Has he had surgeries? Has he missed games due to soft tissue issues? Illness? Broken bones?

Position players:

Scouts look at a position player’s ability to hit for power. Does he get lift on the ball? Can he hit the gaps? Can he take a pitch where it is thrown, and use the entire field? A scout projects how many home runs will he hit at maturity? 

Scouts track the player’s speed from home to first base. The average time for a right-handed hitter is 4.3 seconds. It is 4.2 seconds for a lefty. How does the player vary from those numbers?

The average 60-yard dash time for a major league player is 6.8 seconds. Remember, catchers are included in all running averages. They are usually slower.

Scouts look for the footwork of the player. In the infield, can he move to both his right and left with good range to both sides. Can he come in on a ground ball?

Does he get the ball out of his glove quickly? Are his throws strong, accurate and on time? 

Scouts look for ease of motion and agility. Does the player stumble over his feet, or get a clean release to the ball?

Does an outfielder “read” the ball off the bat properly and quickly? Does the player take the accurate route to the ball? 

Does the player get fooled by the angle of the ball in the air? Just the player get a quick “jump” on the ball and move quickly for the catch?

Can the player field a ball off the ground? 

Does the player have speed to track down a ball to the gap or to the wall? 

Does the player properly hit the cutoff man? Does the player make strong, accurate throws?

Does a catcher give his pitcher an accurate target? 

Does the catcher have good footwork getting in throwing position, exchanging the ball from hand to glove, and make an accurate , strong throw to a waiting infielder? 

That is called “pop” time. A good “pop” time is 2.0 seconds.


Keeping a hitter off balance is a most important component of pitching.

Throwing the ball in the strike zone, but varying the speed, location, and variety of pitches is crucial.

The most important pitch in baseball is strike one.

A pitcher has to throw strikes to be effective. 

Command is the ability to consistently throw strikes.

Control is the ability to throw the ball in the strike zone.

Scouts look for command and control from pitchers.

Scouts also look for velocity-but it varies with the age and maturity level of the pitcher.

At the professional level, fastball velocity of at least 91 miles per hour is important. However, the ability to throws strikes, keep the hitter off balance, and fool the hitter with a variety of speeds and locations is critical.

Finally, having the ability to get late movement on pitches, and inducing hitters to pound the ball into the ground is an ultimate goal.

Every player is different.

While there are standard and norms to look for, indvidual differences must be evaluated, and considered.


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