With the high school season in the meat of its season, and teams fully engaged in conference play I have noticed that something is missing with a lot of teams and certain players. Personally I have seen close to 25 games this season, and our staff as a whole has seen close to 100 Indiana high school games ranging from 4A all the way down to 1A. My question to all of you is; can you compete?
I talk to college coaches throughout the country every day regarding certain high school players and teams, but my most consistent conversations lately have been about the freshman college baseball player currently on college baseball rosters. The most common phrase I hear from these college coaches is; “I just don’t have enough mentally tough kids on my roster!”
At this time of year college freshman begin to tire out both mentally and physically. A lot of them have played nearly 30-40 games already, and are not used to the daily grind of being a college baseball player. My response to college coaches is tough, because all of us fall in love with the 6’7 high school player chucking it at 87-89 mph and most of us believe we have the knowledge to teach them to throw a college level breaking ball. We all fall in love with the unteachable tools like speed, arm strength, raw power at the plate, quick hands, and body size. But what’s hard to project or teach players is the desire to compete.
After watching my fair share of high school games this year, I’m beginning to realize more and more that the desire to compete is unteachable. If it was recognized as an unteachable tool, can you imagine how it would change the landscape of recruiting and scouting? If this was the case, the 5’10 righty with good arm strength that competes is now a sure fire Division 1 player. Compare competitiveness to speed; if a scout sees a kid run a 6.5 sixty he instantly becomes a “must follow” in the eyes of scouts and college recruiters. However, the kid that competes harder than anyone else on the field, but is undersized with “little to no projectability”, the scout simply says he will win a lot of games, but not for me. My argument is quickly becoming, and this is the first time I have voiced this, that if a kid does not get any better than he currently is, could he get outs at your level? My answer now is that 95% of the time, yes I believe he can.
Some schools and scouts have already begun to factor in the 6th tool of competitiveness. I hope that more and more schools continue to go this route. Our rankings will begin to account for more competitiveness, and not just projectability. This does not mean every kid that is a hard competitor is a top 25 kid, but maybe the kid gets the nod over the “toolsy” kid who projects well.
Until Next Time
No Two out Walks