High school level baseball – What College and Pro Scouts Evaluate

Summer Baseball showcases are critical opportunities for High school level baseball players to earn a college scholarship or impress a pro scout.

Every showcase is a chance for High school level baseball players to display the most valuable skills they have to offer future College Coaches and professional organizations.

Grading of Baseball Players is on the five different “tools” I’ve listed below.

The 5 Tools are:

1. Speed
2. Defense
3. Hit for Average
4. Hit for Power
5. Throw velocity and accuracy

Players evaluation is on a 20-80 scale which is similar to another number scale the 1-10 scale.

The 20-80 scale tops out at 80, and bottoms out at 20.

Every MLB scout uses the 20-80 scale.

For example 

A player graded 80 on their “Hit for Power” tool means they have Hall of Fame Power. On the flip side if a player grades at 20 means they probably can’t hit the ball out of the infield. 50 means average.

Each showcase has “mini-events” to test and assess each skill level for each player’s skill.

1. Run – 60 Yard Dash, Home to 1st
2. Defense – Grounders or fly balls at their position.
3. Hit for Average – Batting Practice
4. Hit for Power – Batting Practice
5. Throwing Velocity – Each player is typically required to make the longest throw from their position. SS in the hole, 3B all the way back from the outfield grass. OF will execute do or die throws to home plate simulating an attempt to gun a runner down attempting to score.

Sample of Evaluation

High school level baseball

High school level baseball

Some of the areas are scored objectively such as the 60-yard dash & throwing velocity on the radar gun. Now, most showcases have started to evaluate exit velocity off the bat as a way to measure bat speed.

Other tools, which evaluation is from a subjective standpoint are hit for average, defense, and throwing accuracy.

The coach or scout relies on years of evaluating players to decide on their 20-80 scale.

If you don’t get contacted by the schools or pro scouts after the showcase that typically means you need to get working.

There are exceptions, but it’s never too late to start working hard if you haven’t been already.

high school level baseball

high school level baseball

Showcase and Camps

1. Are You a Slow Runner?

Change your training and prepare your muscles to be more explosive. Stop running distances. If you want to be fast, then you have to train differently. Quick and explosive moves are used more in baseball than running a marathon.  Box jumps, ladders, and sprints will help.

2. How’s Your Defense?

Practice, practice, practice. Defense starts with agility in having quick feet. If your footwork is off, then you will have trouble fielding the ball consistently and cleanly, and even worse your throws will be wild and all over the place.

Your Focus should be on the footwork, agility, and overall athleticism.

3. Do You Struggle to Make Consistent Hard Contact?

Start with the fundamentals of the swing.  The swing creation is on fundamentals that you should learn at an early age.

These concepts are incredibly powerful.

4. When you hit the ball, does it sound different?

Having a bat that is loud and sounds different when you hit the ball is one of the quickest ways at least from my experience to impress a college coach or a professional scout. Players who have bat speed will separate themselves and stand out from the other athletes.

For High school level baseball players struggling with generating bat speed and creating power, I recommend three main adjustments.

1. Start training your body to react faster with more force. Learn to create bat speed while still being in control.
2. Maximize the amount of power you generate from the lower half of your body. Step into the ball quit falling back.
3. Work in creating more precision in your swing

5. Do You Have a Weak Arm?

Find an arm strengthening program you are comfortable in doing.

In addition to training your arm, it’s essential to build the strength, power, explosiveness, and flexibility in the rest of your body.

College Recruiting

In many ways, the steps and keys to getting noticed by college coaches are the same as getting noticed by professional scouts. With one important difference. Unless you are a prospect that is on everyone’s list, it is rare to see the division one coaches at a high school baseball game. The reason? The college season is playing at the same time as the high school season.

The biggest part of a high school player evaluation, by college coaches, is done in the summer and less in the fall. Local college coaches will on occasion get out to see area players during the high school season.

My experience is that it is more important to be on a highly competitive summer travel team than it is to be on a “powerhouse” high school team. To have the opportunity to play in different areas and show your talent is way more valuable than playing the same teams in your state year after year.  Don’t get me wrong, high school ball has value, but you know as well as I do politics play a significant role in high school sports.

I usually wonder why so many players transfer from one high school to another, to play on a “better” team.  A good player will stand-out and demand respect where ever they are playing.

Many times a College Coach has mentioned to me when evaluating High school level baseball the level of high school play is not as important as the level of summer team play. Coaches have time to evaluate players in the summer where it’s hard during the fall when they are playing a schedule themselves.

high school level baseball

high school level baseball

How to get a College Coach to Recognize You

Here are several things that you can do:

Attend a college baseball coaches summer camp – Starting your freshman year try to at least attend one camp each year. Make these colleges that you are interested in participating at first then narrow the choices down as you better evaluate your skill level and which classification of college programs best fit your abilities. (NCAA DI, II or III, NAIA or Junior College).

Attending winter holiday camps is a good idea as well. A word of caution here – some holiday camps are nothing more than revenue generating sources for the coaches. Ask lots of questions about a college winter camp before sending any money.

Find whoever is coaching the best summer team around and ask for a tryout. Do whatever it takes to play on the best possible summer travel team that you can. (within reason of course). Warning to parents that this can expensive. The best teams will travel to the better Memorial Day and Fourth of July tournaments, as well as annually taking part in a National Championship tournament.

High School Level Baseball Player Should Attend Professional Try-Out-Days

Attend professional try-out days. Pro scouts talk to college coaches.
Work on bettering your game by taking advantage of private hitting or pitching lessons with ex-college and professional players. Most of the time high-level players will have a network of contacts that can be helpful.

If invited to a quality showcase it is crucial to attend. The Best exposure opportunities are at those showcases that are regional or national in scope. Many times an area or local exhibition will attract few if any college coaches.

Events such as Perfect Game, Team One, Area Code, College Select and Midwest Prospects (to name a few) all have areas on their internet websites to nominate a player. Take advantage of this feature.

Do you know any ex-college or professional baseball, players, if so, ask them for an honest evaluation of your skill level?
IMPORTANT – Tell them it is okay to hurt your feelings. You want honest feedback. It is essential to establish your skill/ability level so that you do not spend unnecessary time trying to get noticed by a top 40 DI program if your abilities are better suited to a quality junior college program.  And believe me, there is nothing wrong with that. Some of better major league players go the Junior College route.

Playing in front of college coaches is important. Few players rarely sign a college scholarship without being evaluated by the coach first.  As a player, you would like to be evaluated in a game or a private workout session. I also have experience with this.
(Note: Players can not work out in private for an NCAA DI program)