Chet Lauer excelled in high school baseball as a Rawlings All-American, Division 3 Catcher. He then played overseas in France and Austria until deciding to join the coaching ranks. As a grade school, high school, and college level coach, Chet Lauer has seen many ways an athlete has grown to reach their full potential.
Scouting for draftable talent must be a part of a coach or assistant coach’s skill set. And, as a baseball talent scout, there is only one job to do – to evaluate the athletic potential of high school baseball talent.
Here are the five big skill sets that a high school or college-level baseball coach should look for when evaluating potential players.
Key Attributes Scouts Look For With Baseball Talent
A player’s hitting ability is a skill, but the tool they must have and use is arm strength. With swing mechanics and hand-to-eye coordination, home runs are gained by players who are strong.
There are ways to gauge a player’s arm strength besides verifying their power-lifting abilities. Measure the velocity and the carry of the player’s throw using a radar gun – especially for catchers. With other in-game factors considered, such as the players’ position, arm strength can also be demonstrated in how well the player executes short, quick actions that are fluid.
Fielding skills are essential for defense, but their prowess will be critical depending on the player’s position. A middle infielder must be able to perform almost acrobatic maneuvers, while a third baseman must react quickly and smoothly.
Scouting for fielding skills will look for many attributes such as throwing range, sure-handedness when catching and throwing, and how well the player uses their instincts to make plays.
Since all players must eventually run the bases, sprint speed demonstrating full-effort strides can be judged with 10 test runs of the top home-to-first base times, along with two-base runs. Even more critical than timed speed is when a player can maintain their sprint speed for over a full second or about 7 to 10 full strides.
In softball, speed is often an individual judgment that must consider the players’ weight and agility. After all, you would want to avoid tossing out your power hitter simply because they demonstrated slower sprint speeds.
Hitting power is how well a player transfers energy from their arm, upper body, and core muscles through the bat swing, impacting the ball. The power needed to hit home runs can also be affected by the player’s grip, stance, and swing mechanics. As any baseball or softball player matures, his hitting power should increase with good coaching, technique, and physical training.
As a coach himself, Chet Lauer knows the excitement of finding a player with an excellent hitting average. While batting average statistics can get a player noticed, it doesn’t tell the whole story. Looking at the ratio of walks to strikeouts in high school, scouting may be better. This shows how well a player stays cool under pressure. It is also better to look for poor hitting mechanics, which can likely be worked out with the right batting coach.