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Answers From a Major League Scouting Director

This interview is done with a scouting director for a Major League Baseball team. We have been asked to not list his name or the team's name.

Question: At what age do you start watching a player? (i.e. youth summer tournaments / varsity high school baseball)
Answer: Junior high and J.V. baseball @ high school level. Also at youth summer games & tourneys.

Question: How important is it for a high school player to attend a professional team's open try-out day?
Answer: Very important, it allows pro teams to a player one on one. To measure skills and tools in a controlled setting.

Question: At what grade in school should a player attend their first "try-out" day? (i.e. 9th grade, 10th grade, etc.)
Answer: As early as possible (14, 15, 16 years old). This will allow a team to follow a player's progress and development.

Question: Is it a good idea for a high school player to send a letter of introduction to a professional team? Much the same as he might to a college coach.
Answer: Yes .... These will be passed on from the front office to the respective scouts.

Question: If a letter is a good idea should a player include statistics from his high school and summer teams? Is sending "press clippings" from local newspapers, that include highlights, about a player of any benefit?
Answer: Press clippings are not necessary. Only name, address, position, age, grade, height/weight, and high school & summer team. With schedules ... if possible.

Question: Is it a good idea for a high school player to make a videotape, of himself, in baseball situations and give it to a professional scout?
Answer: No ... a scout will only write a report after seeing a player in person.

Question: With the increasing number of "Showcase" events, in recent years .... How important is it for a player to attend this type of event?
Answer: Good ... but not necessary. Many of these showcases are very costly.

Question: Does the fact that a player has attended an "invitation only" showcase, such as Team One, Area Code or Top Guns improve a players chance of being drafted?
Answer: No -- these are held in the summer, decisions on players by professional teams are made in the spring.

Question: How important is a player's physical appearance? I do not mean is he 6'-1" tall and weigh 200 pounds. What I am referring to is tattoos, body piercing, odd hair styles, manner of dress, etc. Are any or all of these a "negative" when a pro scout sees a player?
Answer: This would depend on the individual organization's philosophy -- Personally I don't like these appearances on a player.

Question: Question: If a player has a bad day ... when a professional scout is in the stands watching him for the first time .... Does that mean it is "over" as far as that pro team is concerned?
Answer: No -- We are scouting for future potential, not present performance.

Question: Question: How important is a player's "attitude appearance" when in a game and at practice?
Answer: Very important, you never know who is there watching. You don't get a 2nd chance to make that 1st impression.

Question: Do college coaches and professional scouts ever talk to one another about prospective high school players?
Answer: Some do.

Question: If a high school player has the option of attending a very good junior college or community college versus a small four (4) year school what factors make one choice better than another? (I am referring to baseball programs -- not the academic institutions)
Answer: It is better to go to a junior college and play than to going to a 4 year school and sitting.

Question: Do players get drafted that have not been seen by an individual team's cross checking ("cross checker") scout? In other words on the recommendation of an area / associate scout only.
Answer: Yes -- in this and other organizations they do.

Question: What other tips or advice can you give a high school player that would rather "go pro" than play in college?
Answer: Have fun! Show your tools - (example: if you can run do so all the time, if you can throw -- let it fly) All you have to do is impress one club and you're a candidate to be drafted.

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