Baseball Scouting is almost as old the game itself. The methods of finding a good baseball player have seemingly stayed pretty consistent over the years until the new millennium. For about a century, the credentials for being a scout would be to have “An eye” for a good baseball player. That hasn’t changed much. Many of us still use our gut to find a good player. It may be a good feeling about watching someone in person, or that a performance looked particularly impressive on a scouting report or a stat sheet, but the whole method of “going with your gut” is certainly not dead.
Moneyball disturbed this tradition in baseball of using your gut by negatively labeling those who don’t use numbers as their means of scouting. It made people pay a lot more attention to the numbers on the right side of the stat sheet such as OBP/Slugging. It made people consider things such as park factors and league adjustments.
Yet despite this shift towards using stats as the sole means of scouting, it certainly has not proved to be the principal way in evaluating talent. The term “tools” is still thrown around which is almost completely independent of numbers, and there is also plenty of weight still put on scouting reports in the baseball community—especially towards young players in low levels.
It seems as if, in general, there’s a very eclectic view of scouting. Sure people will look at the OBP or Slug or WHIP or K/9 but they will also check out the scouting report. I don’t think many people would be completely in favor of someone with an 86mph fastball regardless of performance in AA.
So I turn this to you, my fellow prospectors and baseball fans. What would you consider to be your means of evaluating talent/skill in baseball?