Baseball Magazine

Don't Leave Scouts Guessing About Your Arm Strength

By Meachrm @BaseballBTYard
When I was in college, I was fortunate to play in front of a lot of professional scouts.  In my senior year we had four future major leaguers on our team roster so it was common to have many scouts there.  With my father's baseball background, he knew a few of those scouts.  After one game, I was talking with my father and he told me about a conversation he had with a scout friend who was watching the game.  During the conversation the scout said "What I really want to see is a ball hit deep into the hole at shortstop so I can see your son's arm."  I thought back to the game and realized that there was no such ball hit there.  It also occurred to me that at no point in the game, pre-game infield-outfield practice included, had I thrown a ball with 100% velocity.  I vowed that I would never allow that to happen again.
Fast forward to yesterday.

Don't leave scouts guessing about your arm strength

Troy Tulowitski doesn't need to show 
scouts his arm anymore. You do. 

I don't get to see many summer league games in my area mainly because my kids are young and go to bed too early to make it out after dinner to see local games.  Yesterday was a little different.  I found out that my former American Legion team was playing in a regional tournament near my house and decided to take my 4 year old son to see some of the game.  We got there before the game started and had a chance to see both teams take infield-outfield practice.  The moment the opposing team ran onto the field, my eyes zoned in on a very athletic looking kid who ran to shortstop.  He was tall (over 6') with a strong, athletic body that seemed to move pretty gracefully.  By the way he carried himself, he seemed to have a good idea of what he was doing out there.  Hands looked good.  Transitions were quick.  Footwork was solid.  This kid looked like a player.  With relay throws from the outfielders, around-the-horn throws prior to infield work, and the normal infield practice ground balls and throws, he probably made about 25 throws total.  Not one was at 100%.  He threw hard enough for each throw to just reach his target but it was clear he was not airing any out.  Not uncommon, of course, because many players would rather save their arm strength for the game.  Like the scout during my game, I found myself hoping he would get a grounder deep in the hole so I could see just how strong his arm was.  It never happened.  He got a couple ground balls during the game and showed a firm throw but I left the game unclear as too just how good of an arm he really had.
The point I'm making is that if you are a player who is at any level below the major leagues, you don't want a scout leaving the game not knowing how strong your arm is.  It is true that there is no way a scout is going to see all your skills in the course of just one game.  A great hitter may not get a pitch to hit all game.  A fast runner may never find himself with a chance to steal a base.  As a player, some things you just have no control over.  Arm strength is not one of them.  Fielders have a chance every time they play a game to show people how good their arm is.  They have pre-game infield-outfield practice and they have a number of pre-inning throws as well.  Giving 100% on every one of those throws would be unrealistic and counterproductive.  You do need to save a lot for the game.  However, every fielder should make it a point to air out a couple throws in their pre-game and/or pre-inning routine because there is no guarantee the player will get a play during the game that will require such a throw.
A scout may only get one chance to see you play.  He may not be able to see everything about you but he should be able to see everything you have control over.  Don't let a scout walk away from the game without knowing how good your arm is.

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