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  • Writer's pictureWayne Mazzoni

Are College Coaches and Pro Scouts Looking for The Same Thing?

As a college coach I have been fortunate to get to know a lot of scouts well over my coaching career. And quite frankly, I have not met a guy yet that I didn’t really like and didn’t think had his heart in the right place. After all, like us coaches, these are hard working guys, who love the game, and want to find good players. However, when it comes to evaluating high school players, it’s very likely we are looking at kids with two different view points.


The Highly Skilled Player

When it comes to the highly skilled player, that is the hard throwing pitcher, the power hitter, the great fielder who runs well, it’s not all that difficult for either the scout or college coach to know an elite player. However, while that type of rare player will become someone who all the scouts follow, the majority of college coaches know they aren’t going to be able to get a player like that to commit. Let’s take Matt Harvey for example. Every college coach knew about him, but even programs like UConn and BC didn’t have a shot at him. He went to North Carolina turning the draft. The best of the best in New England will get drafted and if they don’t sign, will go to places like Clemson, Vanderbilt, Virginia, etc. So again, while coaches will love to watch an elite player, the fact is, most of us don’t spend a ton of time recruiting a player like that as we know its highly unlikely to come to fruition.


The Mid Level Player

These are the players that are certainly going to play in college, whether it be DI, II, or III. They also likely have a tool or two that scouts will find interesting, but ultimately, are really not draftable. These are players who they will want to follow in college, but are really not a legitimate prospect at the current time. It could be they don’t run well enough, don’t have the needed velocity, lack arm strength, size, or just do not project in some way. However, these are the types of players that make up the rosters at most programs in the northeast. These are very talented, motivated kids, who while they would like to go play baseball down south at a big time program, just won’t get the attention to do so. In fact, often these are the types of kids that coaches and scouts often communicate about. Many a scout has put me on the trail of a kid they liked as a player, but knew was just not a prospect at that time. Then if that kid comes into the program, the scout will keep tabs on him and if they develop have a shot to be taken down the road. For our team at Sacred Heart, we have two current seniors that were players like this. Troy Scribner, came to our program never having lifted a weight and topping at 82 miles per hour. Now as a senior he is 25 pounds stronger, and sits in the upper 80’s, getting to 90 when he needs it. And he is still growing. John Murphy has developed each year and put himself on the map with a great summer in the Cape League. Now as a leading position player in the northeast, he is likely to be our programs highest drafted player ever.


Finesse Level Players

I don’t think it’s fit to call these players lower level players, as lower level players don’t play at any level of college. Finesse players are guys that simply compete, get the job done, without the type of tools that get scouts interested, and even at first glance may not excite a college coach. However, by watching them often enough, talking to their coaches ,you realize this is a college level player. They know the game, they can bunt, run the bases well, make all the routine plays, the pitcher that doesn’t throw that hard, but has either movement or great location or throws any pitch at any time. These are the backbone guys of college teams that do well because of their consistency. But again, they are unlikely to ever get on a scouts radar because they just don’t have the flat out skill to do so. In the big leagues these are the Jamie Moyer, Shaun Markham types. Guys that even when their fastballs no longer topped above 85 still got guys out. However, they were not drafted as softer throwers, both threw 90’s prior to getting drafted. With limited money to draft and sign players and limited spots in the farm system, scouts and teams basically can’t afford to risk a draft pick on a finesse type player. They are in search of the best on the planet.


Wayne Mazzoni has been a college coach since 1992 and his baseball recruiting book can be purchased at www.CollegeBaseballCoachesCamp.com or on amazon.com.

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