In the game of baseball scouts look for five key tools in every baseball player. The five tools of baseball are: speed, hitting, hitting for power, fielding and arm strength. If a player possesses all of these tools at the big league level then he is on his way to stardom. But not even every major league ball player has the complete set of tools at their disposal. It is rare for a player to have all five tools, but when someone does have a full skillset, watching him on the baseball field becomes electric.
Over the past 20 years there have only been a few complete five-tool players, and one of them was Ken Griffey Jr. An outfielder who won gold gloves, batting titles and home run derbies, Griffey brought fans into the ballpark because he was so exciting to watch. Today, players like Ken Griffey Jr. are few and far in between. Here’s a list of some of today’s MLB players that best individually represent one of the five tools of baseball and a player that actually has all five skills:
Is the first tool on our list, in major league baseball speed is best put to use on the base paths and tracking down fly balls in the outfield. Over the past five years the player who has best exhibited his speed on both offense and defense is Jacoby Ellsbury. When healthy Ellsbury is a lock to have 50 plus stolen bases in a year. In 2009 the speed demon swiped 70 total bags to lead the MLB. He is also a gold glove talent in the outfield, tracking down routine fly balls and making spectacular catches night in and night out. Jacoby is a great representation of speed and how it should be used in the game of baseball.
The home run is one of the most exciting plays in baseball. A power hitter in the middle of a major league lineup can single handedly carry an offense. These middle of the order guys, rely on their power and ability to hit home runs to propel their teams to victory. One player that may have more raw power than anyone else is Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton who is currently leading the national league in homeruns is a true freak of nature. Stanton not only hits a lot of homeruns but he hits them extremely far. He has hit the farthest home run in the MLB this season, a towering 484 foot blast. He also has had a handful of other homers that were all well over 450 ft. Stanton encompasses power in its truest sense, hitting balls a mile long and doing it consistently.
Hitting for Average
Probably the most valued asset for a position player, if you can hit for average you’re going to force yourself into the starting line-up. Hitting for average is the hardest of the five tools to excel at, so if you can hit for a high average you can be a huge asset to your team. Speaking of huge assets, Miguel Cabrera is the biggest for the Detroit Tigers. At the plate “Miggy” was the first to win the Triple Crown since Carl Yastrzemski. To hit for average you have to be a complete hitter, that’s exactly what Cabrera is. Miggy can hit to all fields, for power, and hit any pitch no matter the location or speed. With a career .321 batting average, Miguel Cabrera will go down as one of the best all-around hitters the game of baseball has ever seen.
Having a strong backbone on defense is vital to successes. Maybe the most important defensive player on the field is your short stop. He has to be extremely athletic and consistent in order to give your team a chance to win. Andrelton Simmons, the short stop for the Atlanta Braves is one of the best defensive players in the game today. Andrelton is a good representation of the “fielding tool” because you can count on him to make the routine and outstanding plays consistently. Having a player like Simmons at short stop every night, makes the braves a top quality team in the league year in and year out.
The most underrated tool out of the five is arm strength. Players with the ability to throw the ball hard across the diamond and from the outfield have the ability to change the games momentum in their team’s direction. Manny Machado and Yoenis Céspedes best represent ideal arm strength. Machado playing primarily at third base has one of the strongest arms in the game today. Machado consistently makes back-handed off-balance throws from third and proves he can throw the ball with the best of them. Cespedes is another ball player that embodies arm strength, if you haven’t seen his latest high light of him throwing a runner out at the plate from the warning track then I suggest you check it out. Both of these players represent how great arm strength can impact the game of baseball.
Today in the MLB there is only a small group of players that have all five of these tools. The one player who stands out as having the most all-around game is outfielder Mike Trout. The young superstar has all of the five tools in his repertoire and uses them well. Hitting for both average and power in his first three seasons in the MLB, Trout also has the ability to steal bases. In the field Trout already has a highlight reel of phenomenal plays, making it look easy to rob hitters of extra base hits. If you’re a young ball player you want to model your game after Mike Trout. Trout might be the only other player in the past 20 years to have a similar skill set to “the Kid”, Ken Griffey Jr.
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