To the baseball purist, there is no greater test than the “Eye” test when evaluating hitters. Scouts, coaches, fans… it all boils down to what the eyes tell them. If a player is good, bad, has potential, or has no clue. When evaluating hitters, I believe they can be broken up into two categories: “Youth” and “Advanced” these categories are not used to describe the level the player is currently playing at, but simply to note their age.
Youth Hitters: Ages 7 to 13 or Non High School
In this group, we look for THREE fundamental qualities: Etiquette, Mechanics, and Results.
Etiquette: Here we look for things like, how the player stands in the box, awareness of their environment (Are they standing in the box the whole time or do they leave to take signs, practice swing, etc..), and pitch selection.
Mechanics: Can we see some sort of formal mechanical training, or is the player just up there swinging the same way at every pitch.
Results: Is the player making contact, the type of contact, are they hitting the ball solid, where the ball is going, etc…
Advanced Hitters: High School and Above
In this group we still apply the 3 fundamental qualities from the first group, but not dive deeper into the hitter. The next 3 qualities we look for: Approach, Productivity, Toughness.
Approach: Does the hitter get to the plate with a plan or goal, or are they simply applying the same swing no matter the count, situation, or tendencies of the pitcher.
Productivity: Is the player applying the approach they set forth in the first quality. In a 3-1 count are they looking for a pitch they can drive or simply hit, are they looking to go the other way with a pitcher painting the outside corner, do they have a good 2-Strike Approach.
Toughness: Are they a hitter that is going to challenge the pitcher? We look for players being offensive minded and not giving in on bad calls, “pitchers pitches”, or offspeed pitches.
When you get into the “Advanced Hitters” range, there are many more key traits to be looking for, but these are the fundamental aspects next level coaches seek when looking for recruitable players. These qualities on the field, we as coaches look and hope that they transfer to life off the field.
Coach Taylor Bargiacchi