Tryouts: Know what an eight looks like
For most high school programs (all in Pennsylvania), tryouts are not too far away. Programs all have their own way of evaluating players. Having multiple coaches involved helps in terms of management but one challenge with using multiple coaches is that not every one of them evaluates players the same way. Two coaches can see the same player and get very different opinions on what they are seeing.
At the professional level, scouts are taught a standard rating system for evaluating players. More importantly they are taught what each ranking looks like. Doing so is an attempt to get all the organizational people on the same page as to what they are seeing in players. At that level, the rankings are generally done by numbers ranging up to an eight. For most organizations, the ranking scale for hitters and pitchers means the following:
2 = Non-player; poor; possible minor league batter under .220
3 = Well Below average; possible MLB back up; .220-.240
4 = Below average; possible quality utility guy or 4th outfielder on a team; .241-.260
5 = Average; possible regular MLB player with enough defense and offense to play
everyday; .260-.280, 13-19 HR’s
6 = Above average; possible quality regular; .280-.299
7 = Well above average; possible MLB All-Star w/consistency
8 = Outstanding; best in the game; .320+
2 = 84mph or below
3 = 85 – 86 mph
4 = 87 – 88 mph
5 = 89 – 91 mph
6 = 92 – 93 mph
7 = 94 – 95 mph
8 = 96+
Note: Pitchers are not just rated on velocity alone.
The purpose of the scale is to make sure everyone knows what an eight means and looks like, what a seven means and looks like, etc. For coaches at any level, it is just as important for all involved to be on the same page when evaluating players.
Probably the easiest way to do this at the younger levels is to pick the kid with the best arm (usually you know in advance who that kid is) and make that kid an 8 when it comes to arm strength. Everyone else’s arm strength is judged based on that kid. The same can be done in other categories as well. Fielding, power, pitching, base running, etc. all can be judged by picking the best kid in each area and making him an 8.
The key to this is getting together BEFORE tryouts and deciding what an 8 (or whatever number is tops on your scale) looks like. How you decide is up to you but if all the coaches are on the same page, it makes tryouts much easier for everyone.
Next post: A college coach’s letter about showcases