At least look the part!

At least look the part! Diamond Prospects is often praised, or criticized, for our honesty on certain baseball topics…today we introduce an excerpt from Perfect Games scout David Rawnsley. While on his soapbox, Rawnsley touches on some subjects that echo that of most college and pro evaluators:

These are all pretty basic things that apply pretty much across the board when you’re going on a baseball field, especially when you’re going to be evaluated by scouts or coaches and we talk about them frequently. But with more than 500 players on hand at a given event, those that abuse the basic rules tend to stand out for some reason. 

1. Shave before the Event.

Scouts/coaches want players to look young, especially at an Underclass event. Beards translate to “the player is physically mature and not likely to improve as much as another player.” Many coaches and even many private high schools have rules against facial hair anyway (remember the old Cincinnati Reds). You’re a teenager, look like one.

2. Wear your hat properly. 

Cleveland’s C.C. Sabathia won the Cy Young Award; he can wear his hat off to the side and get away with it. When a 16-year-old does it at a showcase, it says “I have no respect for the game or the people who are watching me, I just care about me.” That goes for backwards, flat bills, etc. as well.

3. Buy a pair of baseball pants that fit properly. 

Scouts/coaches want to see what your lower half looks like and moves like as part of their evaluation. Wearing baggy pants may be cool with jeans at school but it makes no sense at a baseball event. Also, and this is my own personal peeve (see No. 4 below), absolutely, under no circumstances, put your uniform pants under your heel. You look like an idiot to the people who have watched you; plus, you are ruining a perfectly good pair of pants.

4. Every scout and every coach has something that really annoys them. Don’t tempt it by trying to stand out. 

Mine is hooking the pants under the spikes. I have a good friend who is a crosschecker with an American League team who will not write an evaluation on a player wearing an earring. Just won’t do it, even if it is a first-round talent. Hats and hustle are popular items to get right or risk being immediately written off. The vast majority of people who make a living in baseball are conservative people who respect the uniform and the proper way to play the game. To them, a player makes himself stand out by doing things right rather than by doing things differently. Don’t risk hitting a particular person’s sore spot by trying to stand out another way.

5. Punctuality means being early.

There really is no excuse—and this lies mostly on the parents—for being late to batting practice or registration or games. The excuse is usually, “We got lost trying to find the field,” or “We went to get something to eat and it took longer than we thought.” It happens more than you would think at showcases.

Big leaguers usually get to a 7:30 pm game at around 3:30 in the afternoon. That obviously doesn’t apply for a 16-year old at a showcase. But being an hour early enables a player to get physically and mentally prepared to show what he can do on the field. There is also another important consideration. If you, as a player, get bored sitting around at a baseball field waiting for things to happen and would rather show up as late as possible, you have a problem. Baseball is a game of patience and waiting, whether you are a player, scout, coach or fan.