Sunday, December 17th, 2017

Playoff baseball: Part 1 – To scout or not to scout

May 21, 2012 by  
Filed under Coaching, Scouting

Playoffs start today for the district in my part of the Philadelphia area.  Thus begins part 2 of the baseball season.  Many questions come up this time of year when preparing for playoffs.  This is Part 1 of 3 posts dedicated to playoff baseball.  In this part I’ll deal with my thoughts

The amount of information you can gather about a team can be enormous. Decide whether or not it's worth it.

on scouting opponents.  

Every coach is going to have their own comfort level when it comes to getting information about opposing teams.  Some want all the information they can get.  Others don’t feel the need to get any and just focus their attention on their own team.  I’ve done both.

My thoughts on scouting have evolved over the years.  When I first started coaching, I wanted all the info I could get.  Batting averages and other offensive numbers for their entire line-up, pitching stats for all pitchers (K’s, BB’s, ERA, etc), all the pitches they threw, arm strengths of the outfielders, infielders’ range, etc.  The more the better.  However, I began to realize that most of what I was getting in the form of information was pretty much irrelevant when all was said and done.  Looking back, I also felt that the more info about the other team I passed on to my players the more my players tended to “analyze” the game instead of just “playing” the game.  I also felt that the ability levels of high school players often prevented players from taking advantage of scouting reports.  A report might say that a batter on the other team has trouble hitting inside pitches but if the high school pitcher cannot throw strikes inside (and many consistently cannot), that information becomes meaningless.

As the years went by I began to just try to get my team playing at their peak and didn’t worry so much about the other teams.  When my team was in the state tournament in 2009, I did virtually no scouting whatsoever and we ended up winning it all!

Most of what I needed to know about the opposing team I could see during pre-game infield/outfield.  Arm strengths, range, hands, etc. can all be seen in that 10-15 minute process.

If there was one thing I wanted to know prior to showing up at the field it was who the top two or three hitters in their line-up were.  The reason is simple.  Take these guys out of the game as much as possible and you will probably win.  Pitch around them.  Walk them.  Whatever you have to do.  Prevent these guys from beating you and you’ll win most of the time.  In essence, put the game in the hands of the less-talented hitters in their line-up.  If those guys beat you, tip your hat to them.  It’s not always possible but do everything you can to keep their best players from impacting the game.

If you feel you, your players, or your team as a whole get an advantage by scouting, by all means do it.  I just found over the years that scouting at the high school level and below really wasn’t worth the time.  But that’s just me.

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!