Does Position Make a Difference to College Scouts?

Does the position you play matter to scouts? What are scouts looking for when they watch defense?

When you go to tournaments and play in front of scouts, does it matter to them whether you’re at shortstop or right field?  I’ve got your answer…

Outfield

First of all, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the outfield.  The only problem will come when you prove yourself to be a bad outfielder or you show just how much you don’t want to be in the outfield.

big train fielding
©2017 Jacqui South Photography

Here are two tips from me about the outfield.

  1. Do everything you can to get that center field spot.  Sometimes coaches assume the smaller guy is the center fielder because they think he is faster.  If you think you’re faster than the center fielder, tell the coach that.  The center fielder is the leader and when you’re in center it is assumed you are fast and at least slightly more athletic than the other two outfielders.
    • Sometimes simply telling the coach you want to play center is enough to make him think about it more.  Often times coaches will assume a lot of things just by your appearance and won’t second guess their decisions.  Make him second guess his decision.
  2. If you’re in the outfield, don’t treat it like a walk in the park.  Obviously, on routine balls which will be 90% of your outfield experience, you won’t be showcasing much by catching a lazy fly ball or ground ball.  So here’s a few things to focus on when you’re out there…
    • Make every single routine play – messing up routine plays shows a lack of focus more than a lack of ability… which is probably worse.
    • Do ALL the little things.  Back up bags, throws and fielding infielders.  This shows strong focus, baseball IQ, and hustle.
    • Make smart plays… know the situation.  Every time you get a ball you should already know where it’s going without having to listen to anybody else.  Also never miss your cutoff, letting runners get an extra bag does not (or should never) happen at the college level.

Infield

By showing that you play the infield, you’re showing you have a skill that the outfielder’s might not have – fielding a ground ball.  That being said, by playing the infield you’re going to be presented with the opportunity to prove that you CAN’T field a ground ball.

My #1 piece of advice for an infielder is to just make the routine plays.  That doesn’t sound like much, but picking up the ball and getting it over to first on time constantly is the first thing coaches look for.

It’s great making outstanding plays, but don’t be the guy that makes incredible plays but just can’t figure out how to field the ball right at him.

Shortstop vs the Other Positions…

In high school I had a friend who transferred schools because he wasn’t playing short stop.  Do I think it’s that important to play short stop?  No.  At second or third base you showcase the same exact skills.

At my college, all the second basemen played short, and all the short stops played both second and third.  The only difference between third basemen is that they sometimes are bigger and have less range, but just because you play third doesn’t mean that’s true.

Whether you play second, third or short, my advice stays the same.  Show that you can consistently make routine plays and coaches will be able to trust you playing the field for their school.

Catchers

If you’re a catcher and you really commit yourself to becoming a great defensive player, you’ll have a huge leg up on many other catchers.  There are a lot of decent catchers and not too many great ones.

If you’re a great catcher, then how you hit doesn’t really matter.  That being said, if you’re a great catcher and a pretty good hitter then you’re a premium player.

Most players have to attract college scouts on the offensive side first.  Catchers can attract offers on both sides of the field.  You can grab yourself a scholarship hitting .200 if you’re a top tier catcher.  I had a friend at school who got drafted as a catcher… he was top 20 in division 1 strikeouts…..

Yes, he had a ton of power, but he didn’t prove much on the offensive side of the ball.  Yet, he was given a lot of money by the Chicago White Sox.

I’m not going to do a section on pitchers because you’re not technically a position player.  I will write about pitchers in the near future though.

 

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Here are a few other posts you might be interested in:

5 Things You Can Change to Get a College Scholarship

My View on the Launch Angle Focused Swing

Choosing a Travel Ball Team

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