Young baseball players often think their batting average is one of the biggest attractions for MLB scouts, but they forget that batting average doesn’t matter as much as on base percentage, runs, or RBI’s.
Batting average is a single stat that involves the individual. MLB scouts are going to look deeper into a player's offensive stats to analyze their ability to contribute to a team rather than themselves as individuals. It’s less about what you can do individually than what skills you have to enhance an organization or team.
Follow along for the three top factors MLB scouts are looking for when recruiting potential players.
Knowledge of the Game
The best baseball players don’t just have talent offensively and defensively, but they truly understand the game of baseball, inside and out. Baseball is hands down one of the most complex athletic games played today. Many factors go into understanding the knowledge of the game and there are many talented players who simply don’t have this knowledge.
Baseball takes brains. You need to go beyond understanding the basic fundamentals and truly understand the full game. Players should be able to switch from shortstop to third base and still know where their cutoff position is. Players need to understand the strategies behind a pitchers mindset in order to be effective offensively. Players need to be able to watch film and understand what adjustments need to be made in order to be successful. All of this takes brains!
If you want to be noticed by scouts, demonstrating your knowledge of the game is important.
A 5 tool player in baseball has talent in the following areas: running speed, throwing strength, defensive skills, hitting for average, and hitting for power. Scouts might determine that players are a ‘3 tool player’ where they succeed in 3 out of the 5 areas assessed by scouts.
For reference, some of the best 5-tool players in the history of baseball were Ken Griffin Jr, Barry Bonds, or Willie Mays. This doesn’t mean that all 5-tool players start out this way, many of them have to work for years on 2 or more components of their game to become 5-tool players.
It’s rare to find a prospect that is above average in all five tools, but if you do you have a much better chance of catching the attention of MLB scouts.
Overall Athleticism and Coachability
The greatest baseball players of all time all have one thing in common, athleticism. It is that god given gift that cannot be taught, but something they are born with. Usually this means they are naturally strong, fast, and big! It’s a factor that you either have or you don’t have.
All this means is that coaching you is going to be a lot easier because athleticism comes naturally. Lets say a recruit finds a ‘3 tool player’ who lacks natural athletic ability. It will be much more difficult to coach that player to increase their ability in the other two tools they need to improve on.
Now this doesn’t mean that hard work cannot increase your athletic ability. Research and history proves this to be true. You will simply be noticed more easily by recruiters if you are naturally athletic.
Become a Standout Recruit
If you are a player who is worried about how you can become a standout recruit for potential minor league or major league teams. These three factors should be your new focus: Understand the game of baseball inside and out, be a 5-tool player or as close to one as you can get, and make sure you stand out as an athletic and coachable player who will easily make improvements to their game.