HomeTrending MLB NewsBernie’s Baseball World - What Baseball Scouts Look For In Players

Bernie’s Baseball World – What Baseball Scouts Look For In Players

It may seem glamorous to be a baseball scout. It is. However, the pressure is intense, the work often lonely, and the days and nights are long. But it is great work.

Today’s MLB scout differs from the past. 

Today’s scout is asked to be aware and respond to the massive newer forms of statistical categories and data. Analytics are a crucial component of professional baseball.

Every team in MLB uses analytics. Some are more dependent on data than others.

There are several types of baseball scouts working for MLB teams:

1- Amateur Scout

This scout scours a defined area observing high school and college players. 

He/she may make repeated visits to games played during the season, and in spring/summer traveling leagues.

The scout completes reports to help the front office prepare for the annual MLB draft in June, or for signing an undrafted player after the draft. In short, this type scout observes players before they sign a professional baseball contract and turn professional.

2- Pro Scout

A pro scout follows a defined area observing players signed to a professional contract for a specific team.

The scout’s role is to prepare the front office for trades, or free-agent signings. The scout generally follows his/her assigned territory by watching every classification of minor league games, as well as major league games (if convenient.)  

3- International Scout

This scout scours a defined foreign territory preparing his club for the international draft. The scout is based overseas, looking for players aged 16 and above. Some international scouts also work leagues in Japan, Korea, Australia, Cuba, and elsewhere looking at professional players in a particular country.

Canadian players are included in the MLB draft.

4- Cross-Checkers

A cross-checker is assigned by the front office to provide a back-up, or additional opinion about a player the front office is interested in.

5- Advance Scout

An advance scout attends games of upcoming opponents, observing tendencies, strengths, and weaknesses of the future opponent, preparing his team with specific data.

Scout Assignments:

Scouts assigned stateside are usually assigned to a specific organization, watching every one of the organization’s teams at every level, or for an amateur scout, a specific part of the country

When I attended Major League Baseball’s Scout School, I learned to answer three questions when evaluating a player:

Can He  Play?

Is He Better Than What We Have?

Can He Play For Us?

1-Can He Play

It is remarkable how many players don’t know the rules of the game. It is remarkable how many players don’t know baseball fundamentals. 

Is the player athletic? Does the player have flexibility and agility? Does the player know the nuances of his  position? Does the player have proper hitting/pitching mechanics? 

Does the player have quick feet? Soft hands? Speed? Power? Good baseball instincts and baseball intelligence? 

Does the player hustle? Does the player make good contact at the plate? Can the player hit a fastball? A slider? A changeup? A curve? 

What is the pitcher’s velocity? What is his repertoire? Does the pitcher throw strikes?

Does the pitcher repeat his delivery? Does the pitcher command the strike zone?

2-Is He Better Than What We Have?

Players can be evaluated on their merits relative to existing players on the scout’s team.

Is the player an upgrade over our existing depth at a specific position?

If we signed this player, can he perform more consistently, and/or with better results than player X, Y, of Z already in our organization. Is he an upgrade?

3- Can He Play For Us?

A player may be great, but he may not have the type of attitude or demeanor that fits in the clubhouse. 

Will he be a good teammate? Is he a team player? Is he selfish? Does he walk to his position or run? Does he frequently argue with umpires? Does he consistently hustle? Does he have a positive or negative reputation with players? With fans? Is he someone our existing players want to be around?

Next time: Evaluating Skills


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