I posted this yesterday in College Recruiting under 'What Scouts are looking for...', but I think it deserves its own posting. Primarily, because I think it is a little hidden and would enjoy hearing what you folks have to say about this topic.
Here's the post:
I recently went to a MLB scout team tryout in Arizona where over 200 kids of various age groups tried out (2010, 2011, 2012). When it came to pitching I wanted to closely observe the scouts as they evaluated the pitchers because I am a HS coach and wanted to see how they rated each pitcher so I could share this information with players. Since this is the first of this kind of event I have ever attended I wanted to get as much information as I possibly could gather. I spent about 90 minutes in the bullpen standing just a few feet away from two scouts doing the observations occasionally chatting with them between pitching changes.
There were four mounds where they would have four pitchers throw various pitches one after another with just enough time for one of the scouts/coaches to get behind the catcher to radar the pitches. The pitchers threw a total of 8 pitches. They would throw in this order...5 FB's, 1 change, 1 CB and finish with 1 FB. Radared velocities were recorded on each pitch.
From what I could see there was not any observations or even a care of 'movement of pitch', 'type of spin', 'deception of release' and so on. They did not see or care if a pitcher threw a strike. In fact, some threw right over the top of the backstop, which did not seem to get the attention of any scout/coach, which again, I was standing just a few feet away from...
The number one thing that would get the scout/coach interested was when a pitcher was recorded at 85 mph or faster. Now, this got the scout's attention and he would look up from his clipboard. After the 8 pitch sequence was over for the four pitchers he would on every occasion call over to chat with the one who recorded a FB over 85. Every time without exception...
From what I could see they did not care about anything but velocity, not mechanics, movement, deception, location or whether it was a strike or a ball...nada...just velocity. I wish I could have seen something else, but I didn't. Velocity ruled the day...Period. I then followed up by checking the web site of this ‘elite’ scout team and discovered the pitchers who threw the highest velocities were selected for the various teams. Again, confirming my initial observations.
I understand the time constraints on such events and the amount of players that need to be evaluated, but I honestly, and I guess naively thought I would see thorough evaluations of each pitcher for those things you mentioned in your posting by professional scouts.
I guess it could have been the venue with the time constraints, but I have to admit I was surprised at the lack of technical evaluations.