Major League Baseball's Scout Rating System
Here's one of the best explanations of the professional baseball's scout rating
systems that I have found. Some organizations use the 20/80 scale others use 2 . to 8.They are the same thing.
2 or 20 is the low end of the scale and 8 or 80 is the high end.
Scouts typically use two numbers when grading, such as 4/6 or 3/5.
The first number is the player's current rating on the 2 to 8 scale the
second is his "projected" future professional baseball rating. Of course
those numbers are based on the individual scout's opinion.
When only one number is given, such as a 7, it is usually (almost
always) that scout's projection opinion of that player's professional
This is a tool that is often overlooked by ball players today and one of
the most lacking tools at the major league level. With 10 teams
playing on artificial surfaces, making fielders play their position
deeper, a strong arm is even more necessary today than in the past.
The player with a strong arm will have less teams take a chance by
running against him thus preventing runs from scoring. Thus a team
with a weak throwing outfield or catcher will have more opportunities
taken against them leading to more throwing errors and more runs
When scouts are evaluating a players arm strength it is usually
during pre-game infield-outfield practice. A scout will get to see
several throws by the outfielders to second, third, and home plate. If
a player has a good arm, chances are he will show it here,
particularly on throws to home plate. Scouts are looking for four
things from outfielders: a strong overhand throw, a straight-line
trajectory, good carry, and good life on the turf when the ball finally
hits the ground.
A strong arm is also necessary for infielders particularly the
shortstop and third baseman. Scouts will pay the most attention to
throws made from the outfield grass from deep short. If a player has
a strong arm, it will show here. Look for a straight-line trajectory,
strong hissing noise, and a sharp smack in the first baseman glove.
Foot speed is the only common denominator of offense and
defense. This is one tool that does not go into slumps. A fast runner
is of greater priority for clubs that play on artificial turf because they
are playing in a bigger park and the ball travels faster than on grass.
A fast outfielder may be able to catch up to two more balls a game
thus saving his ball club an average of one run a game. The same
player can steal bases thus putting ore pressure on the defense and
making the pitchers throw more fastballs.
A players running speed is usually timed in two ways; 60 yard dash
and from home to first. The average major league time is 6.9 for the
60 yard dash, from home to first 4.3 seconds for right handed hitters
and 4.2 seconds for left handed hitters. The clock start on times
from home to first on the crack of the bat to when the foot hits first
base. A fast runner at the major league level can run home to first in
4.0 seconds or below. The ability to run, will force fielders to rush
their throws and make more throwing errors. A team without speed
will often have to hold their runners at third base thus scoring less
60 Yard Dash:
· 8: 6.4 seconds -
· 7: 6.5-6.6 seconds
· 6: 6.7-6.8 seconds
· 5: 6.9-7.0 seconds
· 4: 7.1-7.2 seconds
· 3: 7.3-7.4 seconds
· 2: 7.5 seconds +
Home To First (Right Side):
· 8: 4.0 seconds
· 7: 4.1 seconds
· 6: 4.2 seconds
· 5: 4.3 seconds
· 4: 4.4 seconds
· 3: 4.5 seconds
· 2: 4.6 seconds
Home To First (Left Side):
· 8: 3.9 seconds
· 7: 4.0 seconds
· 6: 4.1 seconds
· 5: 4.2 seconds
· 4: 4.3 seconds
· 3: 4.4 seconds
· 2: 4.5 seconds
This is the one tool that has the greatest chance of improvement.
While you can not develop great foot speed or a great arm, fielding
has the greatest chances of improvement with contest practice.
When judging fielding scouts are looking for a number of traits:
· (Quick Feet) the ability to move quickly laterally and forward and
· (Range) how much ground does he cover?
· (Soft Hands) the ability to catch the ball smoothly in the center the
· (Quick Hands) the ability to field bad hops.
This is the most difficult tool to scout because you are judging a
hitter on how they will hit do at the major league level, by watching
them hit against amateur pitching. There are a lot of amateur hitters
that will look great against amateur pitching and then fall flat on their
face once they enter professional baseball. A hitter should have
these lists of skills:
· (Bat Speed) the ability to swing the bat quickly
· the ability to consistently hit the ball hard.
· knowledge of the strike zone
· the ability to turn on a major league fastball.
· the ability to hit breaking pitches.
· the ability to hit to all fields.
· the ability to make adjustments at the plate when fooled.
Hitting With Power
Hitting the ball for power is one of the more desirable traits for any
hitter, unfortunately it is often the most poorly projected tool at the
major league level. In order to hit for power, a hitter needs
outstanding batspeed. Batspeed is what makes the ball travel and all
outstanding hitters have it. A hitter with major league power will
regularly hit the ball over the fence in batting practice and should be
able to drive the ball over 400 feet.
A lot of care should be taken when judging amateur hitters swinging
aluminum bats. The aluminum bat has a greater hitting surface, and
because they are lighter they can be swung with much greater bat
speed, driving the ball 18% farther than with wooden bats. A 400 foot
drive with a wood bat will travel 470 feet with aluminum. So many
hitters are home run hitters swinging aluminum become warning
track hitters with a wood bat. It is very important for hitters to get
used to a wooden bat before signing into professional baseball. Most
hitters find they have a tough time getting used to not driving the ball
they way they used to in college or high school baseball.
What Scouts Look For In Pitchers
When scouting a pitcher the first quality a scout will look for is a
strong arm.This is a God-given talent that can only be improved to a
certain degree. One game under a radar gun will tell if the pitcher
has the arm strength to be a major league prospect.
There are two basic models of radar guns used to clock the speed
of fastballs. The Jugs Speed Gun (Fast Gun) will pick up the speed
of the fastball after it has traveled 3.5 feet and the Ra-Gun (Slow
Gun) will pick up the speed after the ball has traveled 40-50 feet. A
fastball will lose 8 mph from the time it leaves the pitchers hand to
the time it crosses home plate. The JUGS speed Gun is usually
3-4mph faster than the Ra-Gun.
The average major league fastball is 88-89 mph on a JUGS Speed
Gun and 84-85 mph on the Ra-Gun. Scouts will rarely if ever sign a
pitcher who does not throw at least 85 mph on the JUGS Speed
CHECKLIST FOR GRADING PITCHERS
· Fastball- The first thing a scout looks for is a fastball with good
velocity and movement. A fastball should sink, rise, slide or tail. A
major league fastball is in the high 80's.
· Curveball- When grading a curveball, scouts look for a fast tight
rotation on the ball. A good curveball will break both laterally and
downward about two feet. A good curve ball gives the illusion of
falling off the table with its sharp downward breaking motion as it
approaches home plate.
· Slider- A good slider can be a tremendous compliment to a good
fastball. A good slider will have a tight lateral spin, like a bullet. A
slider will break about 6-18 inches as it approaches home plate. It
should look like a fastball until it breaks across the plate.
· ChangeUp- A good change up can be a tremendous asset to any
pitcher by making fastball seem that much quicker to the hitter. A
good change-up should look identical to the hitter only it travels
15-20 mph slower than the fastball. It will make the hitter way out in
front of the pitch.
· Delivery- A pitchers delivery should be as smooth as possible. It
should look effort-less with no mechanical problems like: throwing
across the body, landing on a stiff front leg, overstriding, landing on
the heel or his arm lagging behind his body. Any mechanical
problems left uncorrected can lead to control and arm problems.
· Control- The ability to throw strikes on a consistent basis is vital
for any pitcher to have success at the major league level. If the
pitcher has less than overpowering stuff his control becomes even
more important to his success. A good pitcher will be able to throw
70% of their pitches for strikes and can throw breaking pitches for
strikes when behind in the count.
· 8: 98 mph +
· 7: 93-97 mph
· 6: 90-92 mph
· 5: 88-89 mph
· 4: 85-87 mph
· 3: 83-84 mph
· 2: 82 mph -
What Scouts Look For in Catchers
A good catcher is vital to the success of a championship team. The
catcher will provide leadership on the field and work with the pitcher
when setting up the hitters and calling the game. The catcher must
be durable and is responsible for the teams defense. A catcher
needs soft hands , quick feet and the ability to block pitches in the
dirt. A good catcher can catch and throw to second base under 2.0
seconds, some catchers can break 1.8 seconds.
Catchers Release Times to Second Base:
· 8: 1.7 seconds - below
· 7: 1.7-1.8 seconds
· 6: 1.8-1.9 seconds
· 5: 1.9-2.0 seconds
· 4: 2.0-2.1 seconds
· 3: 2.1-2.2 seconds
What Scouts Look For In Infielders
A good infield is worth it wait in gold to a successful team. A strong
defense will take the opposition out of more rallies and save wear
and tear on the pitching staff.
Teams are looking for these qualities in their infielders.
· Arm Strength: A strong arm is especially necessary from the
shortstop who will often be making throws up to 150 feet flat-footed
on the edge of the outfield grass. The third baseman also needs a
strong arm when called upon to make throws up to 120 feet from
along the foul line. Look to see if the infielders throws are straight
and do not die as they approach the first baseman.
· Range: Look for infielders with good body control. They need
first-step quickness able to field the ball to their left, right, over their
head and able to charge the ball and come up throwing. Also they
need soft hands, able to move their hands quickly and smoothly to
bad hops and sharply hit line drives
What Scouts Look For In Outfielders
A good outfielder is vital to the make up for a successful team.
Although most outfielders are in the lineup for their bats, their
defensive skills can not be overlooked. Scouts are looking for these
basic skills from outfielders
· Arm Strength: A strong arm is vital for the defensive make up of
the outfield. A strong arm will cut down baserunners trying to score
and prevent runners from taking extra bases. When evaluating a
players arm strength, it is important to be at the game in time to see
infield-outfield practice. If the player has a strong arm, chances are
he will show it here. Teams will often decide whether to run on a
team by the strength of the arms demonstrated before the game.
You should look for four things from outfielders: a strong overhand
throw, a straight-line trajectory, good carry, and good life off the turf
when the ball finally hits the grounds. A strong arm is vital for
rightfield because he will often be called on to make throws to third
base and home plate up to 275 feet.
· Range: A good outfielder will be able to cover a lot of ground in the
outfield. The centerfielder has the most territory to cover, so
obviously getting a good jump on the ball and having good speed is
vital for a good outfielder. The outfielder must be able to field ground
and fly balls and come up throwing. Outfielders need to be able
judge how hard a ball is hit and be able to field fly balls hit over his
centerfielder requires the most speed and the rightfielder the
strongest arm. A good centerfielder can run the 60 yard dash in
under 6.6 seconds.
Left and rightfielders should run the 60 yard dash under 6.8
What Scouts Look For In Hitters
This is the hardest all tools to predict whether a player will hit major
league pitching because you often do not know whether they will hit
at the major league level until they get there.
The quality the most necessary to become a major league hitter is a
smooth quick level swing. A player with a quick bat can wait on the
pitches longer therefore have a better chance of hitting the ball
harder. Another important quality to look for is a good knowledge of
the strike zone. A player will not become a good hitter by swinging at
pitches outside the strike zone. The more patient the hitter is, the
more dangerous they become.
When watching a hitter play close attention to his hands when he
strides. If a player drops or raises his hands when the pitch is being
delivered, he increases his chances of not hitting the ball hard. The
hands should go back, the less unnecessary movement, the better.
The harder the pitcher is throwing, the more mechanically correct
the hitter needs to be to hit. A hitter that lunges, doesn't keep his
hands back, hitches or has a pronounced uppercut will not hit at a
When evaluating hitters focus on tools, not statistics. You should
scout tools not performance. Statistic are good for evaluating
weaknesses. A hitter with a high strikeout and low walk total is
swinging at too many bad pitches, unless corrected will never hit at
a constant level.
A hitter should be able to turn on a good fastball on the inside part of
the pate. If he can1t, he has little chance of becoming a good hitter,
because pitchers must throw inside to be successful at the major
league level. A hitter must be able to hit breaking pitches or he will
not last at the major league or minor league level. Once word gets
out about a hitters can1t hit the breaking pitches, he will see nothing
else until he learns to hit it.
The player1s makeup is vital to his success in professional baseball.
Often the player with the greatest desire will develop into a better ball
player than the one with better physical tools. Most of the players
when they sent to the minor leagues, are used to being the star on
their team and often have never been in a slump or have lost a game
before. This for many players is difficult to accept. For the first time
in their lives, they are knocked out in the first inning or go 0 for 4. If a
player can overcome this, they have a better chance of reaching
their goal of playing in the major leagues.
One of the most important factors in a player's makeup is whether
they can adjust to being away from home. Most high school players
have never been away from home for any length of time and many
are not prepared mentally to handle the long bus rides, bad lights,
and poor playing conditions. For many college players, the minors is
a step down from playing on good fields, good lighting, flying, and
The college player often comes into the minor leagues more mature
because he has been away from home, but a player with a college
degree may quit after two years if he does not feel he is being
promoted quick enough.It is very difficult for players to see their
teammates being promoted while they are staying put. A player who
works hard and puts up good numbers in the minor leagues will be
noticed by the organization.
PLAYER CHECKLIST (What to look for in a player)
· CATCHERS: Arm strength, agility and quickness, soft hands,
aggressiveness plus leadership.
· INFIELDERS: Arm Strength, speed, instincts, aggressiveness,
soft hands, hitting ability (especially from the corners).
· HITTERS: Strength, batspeed, plane of swing, absence of fear,
aggressiveness, top-hand extension, and follow-though.
· PITCHERS: Arm strength, velocity, movement, and a curveball
with tight rotation, free arm action and proper delivery, with complete
extension on the follow-though (basically a live, quick arm,
aggressiveness, and the ability to concentrate.
· MAKEUP: Strong desire to succeed, coachability, maturity,
temperament, improvement, drive, hunger, consistency, knowledge
of the game, competitiveness, (how badly does the player want to
reach the major leagues and how well he will work at.)
· PHYSICAL CHANGES: Has he reached his full height yet? Can he
gain or lose weight? Will he become faster or slower? Has he filled
out yet? Does he a have history of being hurt? How much has his
skills improved from last year.
Does the player have the physical tools plus the strong make up to
play in the major leagues. Only about 10% of the players who sign a
minor league contract will.