Diamond Notes Part I: What is Make-Up?

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Compiled by: Austin Alexander - May 15, 2006

dp logo1A term often used among coaches and scouts is “make-up”. With the MLB draft less than a month away, organizations everywhere are doing last minute tests, additional research and constant probing on players on that exist on draft boards. College coaches are forever asking questions about players to determine his “make-up.”

But what exactly is it, how do you measure it and is it important?

Well, Diamond Prospects surveyed college coaches and pro scouts in the Carolina’s before the season to assist us. In a three-part series over the next three weeks, we will provide for you what make-up is, examples of good and bad make-up, and how much stock is actually placed on it.

According to one junior college coach: Make-up consists of a number of factors. It involves attitude, effort, being a good teammate and being “coachable.” It is best defined by “what are you doing when nobody is watching”…in the classroom, study halls, weight room, batting cage, etc…Make-up and character go hand in hand.

According to one Division I recruiting coordinator: Make-up can be defined in a couple of ways, but we feel it is how a player handles the pressure of the game. (Success/Failures/Preparation/Toughness)

According to one American League scout: Make-up is tough to define and quantify but a very important aspect of evaluating a player. They say tools and talent get you to the Big Leagues, but make-up keeps you there. I look at make-up as some of the intangibles that make a guy a good baseball player and a good kid. Does he have respect for the game and for his teammates and coach? Is he a leader, does he want the ball or does he want to be in the box when the game is on the line? Is he intelligent, does he have some baseball instincts, can he make adjustments? More importantly, how does he handle adversity? Does he melt out on the mound when things are not going his way or when he’s in a slump, or does he suck it up and find a way to get it done. The games are much easier when things are going your way. The mental aspect of the game is the hardest part and that can be difficult to evaluate because we often only see a player for one game here or there. Once in the minors, it’s a grind and a player has to be strong mentally to handle the ebb and flow of the game. I want guys who hustle and work hard, who pick up their teammates and who prepare for success. Of course, having talent sure helps too.

A National League scout responded this way: Someone I respect a great deal in baseball once said to me ‘Everybody in the big leagues has a little bit of asshole in them.’ It makes sense when you think about it.

According to one Division I recruiting coordinator: What is make-up? It is a program guy, who puts the team first. It is your stud who does not have a big head and wants to work hard. It is all the little things, some are noticeable and others are not. It is a good kid.

According to one Division I assistant: To me it starts with body language. Good body language gives me the impression that the kid is confident in what he is doing. He is prepared and has an approach. He gives me the confidence that he can succeed. I can’t stand a hitter getting upset after missing a pitch in BP or a game situation. He will never be as prepared mentally or ready physically if he is thinking negative. This also gives the opponents confidence in getting you out because they think you are weak.

According to one Division I head coach: I would define “make-up” as the inner strength of an individual. His toughness, his ability to recover from failure. How does he handle success? Is the “team first” expression really his mindset or just a cliché? Kids either have make-up or they don’t. It is not a trait you can install in an 18-year old kid.

Regardless of who you ask, everyone has their own definition and interpretation of make-up. Stay tuned to Diamond Prospects next week as we get examples of good and bad make-up from the coaches and scouts who should know best.


Part II: Some Examples of Make-up

Part III: Is Make-up Important?