You see them, but do they see you?
You notice a man sitting along the back stop. He’s dressed neatly, his hair slicked back and his eyes are hidden conspicuously behind a nice pair of aviator sunglasses. A radar gun is resting on his lap and a stop watch hangs from his neck. He seems to be jotting some notes down as the opposing team takes infield practice.
As you tiptoe to the end of the dug out, closer to where this man is sitting and pretend to fill up a cup of water from the cooler, you notice a glistening Detroit Tiger’s logo on his polo. It’s a scout for the Tigers! Your heart is pounding through your chest and your mind races 1000 miles per hour.
Excitement soon turns to complete anxiety. This is your big chance – an opportunity to get noticed by a major league scout. You’ve trained and daydreamed about this moment your entire life.
How are you going to get noticed and stand out from the other 50+ ballplayers involved in that day’s game?
How to Stand Out
The first and by far the most important thing is to stand out. At any given college, high school or summer league game there could be close to 50 players in both dugouts. That is a lot of players for one scout to take note of and chances are he won’t even take his eyes off his clipboard unless you do something drastic to catch his eye.
Be an anomaly.
Treat batting practice (BP) and pregame warm-ups as if they are part of the game. Scouts have meticulously trained eyes and ears. Something as simple as the sound the ball makes off your bat in BP or the way the ball explodes out of your hand in infield/outfield practice will get attention. The first time I was ever noticed by a scout was in BP. Take practice seriously and get noticed.
Always play like somebody is watching.
Just because you don’t notice anybody with a radar gun, clipboard and stopwatch doesn’t mean there isn’t anybody there to scout players. Even if there aren’t any scouts present, you never know if there is somebody in the crowd or coaching staff who may have connections to an organization or scout. One of my lucky breaks came when I had a great game in front my father’s high school football coach who just happened to be neighbors with a New York Mets scout.
What does a high school football coach have to do with getting noticed by a baseball scout? This particular coach had a lot of connections and recommended me to the New York Mets scout he had known for 20 years. This Mets scout valued this coach’s opinion so much that the scout called me the next day and was at my next game. You really never know who is watching.
Play YOUR game.
There is a common misconception that scouts are only interested in power. If you are not a power hitter don’t start trying to be one the day the scouts show up. Play your game, not somebody else’s. If your ‘thing’ is speed or hitting the ball to all fields, then show the scout what you can do best. Slapping the ball down the right field line and turning a double into a triple is just as impressive as driving the baseball out of site. In fact, it may be more impressive.
Show off your athleticism like bunting for a hit. Baltimore Oriole’s scout and 28-year pro baseball veteran, Jim Thrift, told us that the number one thing he looks for in a prospect is athleticism. Stretching out a hit, running a long way and making a diving catch and even running out a ground ball really hard can get you noticed.
Coach Kevin is the founder of ProHitting.com and a former draft pick of the Cincinatti Reds. Also check out @baseballpowerhouse on Instagram.