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Major League Baseball Scouting


DeJon Watson
Director of Scouting
Cincinnati Reds

DeJon is in his third season with the organization and 16th overall in baseball. He was hired on December 23, 1997 after seven seasons with the Marlins, where he had been an assistant to baseball operations since 1994. De Jon, 33, joined the Marlins in 1991 as a scout. In 1992 he was promoted to Central Area Supervisor until his promotion to Asst. to Baseball Operations two years later.

Question: At what age do you start watching a player? (i.e. youth summer tournaments / varsity high school baseball)?

Answer: We cover most major tournaments starting usually at the 15 year old level. (15&16 yr. old league, 16-18 Legion, Babe Ruth, etc.) The talented players usually standout even at the younger ages.

 
Question: How important is it for a high school player to attend a professional team's open try-out day?

Answer: It gives pro teams a closer look at a player. This involves his talent as well as his mental make-up.

 
Question: At what grade in school should a player attend their first "try-out" day? (i.e. 9th grade, 10th grade, etc.)

Answer: Experience is key -- So the younger the better

 
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: It doesn't hurt, but in most cases the player has been seen by someone working for the club.

 
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 a benefit?

Answer: On occasions but in most cases like previously stated these players have already been seen.

 
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: Showcases are the "premium stages" to display one's ability. Most events are well represented by MLB and college baseball.

 
Question: How do you decide (as an organization) which showcase events to cover?

Answer: We llok to see the talent of the players that will be in attendance.

 
Question: Which showcase events do you personally consider to be the best? From a professional MLB team's perspective.

Answer: If run properly they are well respected

 
Question: What is the best way for a high school player to get noticed by a professional scout?

Answer: Go to camps -- they offer excellent summer coverage. Have the high school coaches fill out the schedule requests that are sent to schools.

 
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: Physical appearance can be of a concern. However a player's ability will win out.

 
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 there are many things that we as scouts are there to evaluate, performance is just one of them.

 
Question: How important is a player's "attitude appearance" when in a game and at practice?

Answer: Very important. The way a player goes about his business is a reflection on his make-up.

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

Answer: Sure there are instances where pro scouts can help get high school kids into a school

 
Question: How important are the psychological tests in regard to where a player may be drafted, in which round, or if he will be drafted at all?

Answer: These tests are becoming more and more of a tool in the scouting industry.

 
Question: How important is a player's past medical history in regards to a potential draft round? Same question for the vision tests.

Answer: Medical backgrounds go through a thorough check with our team doctors

 
Question: How important is it for a player to attend a "pre-draft" workout - if he is invited? Is it possible for a player to be drafted in the first 5 rounds without attending a pre-draft workout?

Answer: Yes -- Pre-drafts just give a club a better feel for the player

 
Question: How important is the "draft and follow" method to your organization? Do you utilize this process much?

Answer: Yes we do. It is a good tool.

 
Question: How important are junior college players to your organization's draft strategy each year?

Answer: The younger the better.

 
Question: If a high school player has the option of attending a very good junior 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: How much can one improve from year to year

 
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

 
Question: What other tips or advice can you give a high school player that would rather "go pro" than play in college?

Answer: Learn as much as you can about professional baseball -- Ask Questions

DeJon Watson
Director of Scouting
Cincinnati Reds

 

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