Prep Baseball Report

Florida Draft Insider: Projection In Scouting

By Nathan Rode and Rob Sidwell

One of the most common terms you hear in the scouting industry is projection. Scouts are looking at amateur players, usually ranging from 16 to 22 years old, and their job is to determine what kind of player someone will be when they are in their prime—generally 26 to 32 years old. Without being a psychic, that’s a tall task. So what is projection and what are scouts looking for? Florida scouting director Rob Sidwell offers his insight.

I do think it’s a skill that a lot of the old time scouts have developed over the years. It’s a skill they were brought up on, they were taught on. Back in the day, that’s how you scouted. It was almost to a negative if a scout was performance oriented, like much of the younger scouts are now. And scouting in general has changed that way. It’s more performance oriented now. When you’re talking about high school bats, it’s a little easier because we didn’t always worry about performance. The old saying was you don’t know who’s going to hit. So you have to get bodies that can run, that can throw, that are athletes and you teach them how to hit and you develop them. I think we developed more kids like that that didn’t necessarily have baseball skills, but they had athleticism, run and throw tools and maybe had some bat speed. That was about it. The bat always, and still is, the hardest thing to evaluate. It’s a little easier now because we’re seeing the top end of the draft compete in the summer against big time arms with wood bats. Nowadays a high school kid swings a wood bat more than he swings an aluminum bat.

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