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The Five Tools in Baseball

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  • The Five Tools in Baseball

    The Five Tools in Baseball Are:​

    1. Speed
    2. Arm Strength
    3. Fielding Ability
    4. Hitting for Average
    5. Hitting for Power
    My son attended a showcase and one of the college coaches said something I had never heard before. He said that if you are strong in one tool, develop that tool, it will help you stand out. I just wanted to share that, since prior to hearing this, I was always under the impression that you need to work on your weak tools (and of course you have to do this as well, but make sure you can really show off your strength, don't focus on your weaknesses at the cost of letting your strength become only above average).

    Okay, here is the challenge. For college recruiters, order the 5 tools above in order of importance. I realize it differs for each position so you'll need to take an average of all positions minus P and C. If you must, you can categorize by corners, middles and OF's.

    One reason I ask is because even though speed is listed first above, I've heard that college recruiters don't really worry about speed as long as you are average or better. Looking to cut through the rumors and hear from those that have experience through the process.
    Never played baseball, just a dad of someone that loves to play. So take any advice I post with a grain of salt.

  • #2
    If you hit and/or hit for power you play. Then speed, field, throw.

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    • #3
      Based on the rosters I've seen, pitching is first then hitting metrics. I know p/c was listed and intentionally disregarded for this discussion. But I would persuade my kid to pitch to increase his chance of playing up.
      Last edited by sparkny2; 08-28-2019, 03:40 AM.

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      • #4
        Like Jett said, hit. Everything else is secondary, at least for position players.

        Don't forget the 6th tool(s), VERY important. Attitude, mentality, toughness, being coachable, being a good teammate. Very important to college coaches, it can simply set you apart from other potential recruits.
        Ty Cobb-"Every great batter works on the theory that the pitcher is more afraid of him than he is of the pitcher."

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        • #5
          Originally posted by sparkny2 View Post
          Based on the rosters I've seen, pitching is first then hitting metrics. I know p/c was listed and intentionally disregarded for this discussion. But I would persuade my kid to pitch to increase his chance of playing up.
          Pitching is not a "tool" however...

          Along with the five tools, good pitching is generally considered to consist of:

          Velocity
          Location
          Movement
          Deception

          These four attributes are also not tools, but I think it's similar to the idea of five tools, in that you must develop your strengths and overcome your weaknesses to be effective, and that velocity opens a lot more doors than anything else on the list.

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          • #6
            In pitching it’s velocity and size. A college program will have sixteen to eighteen pitchers rotating through with the idea eight ten will produce.

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            • #7
              Better to have 1 elite tool than 5 above average tools.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by pthawaii View Post
                I was always under the impression that you need to work on your weak tools (and of course you have to do this as well, but make sure you can really show off your strength, don't focus on your weaknesses at the cost of letting your strength become only above average).
                You might recall that I've talked about having classroom sessions with my HS players when we got the occasional rainout practices days when they thought they were going home right away (at our school, baseball is their PE class, so just like any other "class", the first 50 minutes of practice we can't just release them), so many times it was a motivational topic or other such thing to at least having something to talk about, and give them more to their time there than just baseball, or sitting around watching the hands on the clock move.

                This is one of the videos I had on a flash drive that I'd show that talked about the make up of a "team", and how we as coaches want not only well rounded players to an extent, but also have specific needs from some of them (POs), and why we don't always include everyone in everything, but sometimes look to focus on some's specific strengths (pitching), and not spend so much time on what we might consider their weaknesses (hitting).

                Here's the video I'd show the team....

                ...the discussions afterwards were always fun, and interesting.
                Last edited by mudvnine; 08-28-2019, 10:01 AM.
                In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

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                • #9
                  I tell my players to act on the field, whether it be in practice or games, in a way that if a head college coach is watching he thinks to himself, "Would I rather have that kid playing for me or against me?" If you can get him thinking that then he has already conceded that you belong there.

                  That means that they have to stand out with the thing they are best so that he doesn't want them playing against him. They have to help their teammates be good at what they are good at, which helps the coach visualize them fitting in on his college team.

                  We do however work on all 5 tools. These are the order of work for our position players:
                  1. Hitting for power and average
                  2. Speed and strength
                  3. Defense
                  4. Arm Strength
                  If I went and calculated the time spent on the activities, I think that order is the order you would find my practice time over the years was spent on. If you are looking at pitchers then the whole order would be flipped with control added in and hitting almost removed.

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                  • #10
                    Tools are Not equal. For hitters hit tool comes first by a lot then power, speed and arm.

                    and for pitchers definitely velo is the big thing.

                    but yeah an elite tool will impress more than being ok at anything. A good example is billy Hamilton. He can't hit but still teams never gave up on him until his late 20s because they hoped the bat would catch up. Or joey gallo hit like 200 for several years but team held on because he has huge pop and finally this year he hit some.

                    With an elite tool you can dream, but with "ok at everything" there isn't much upside.
                    I now have my own non commercial blog about training for batspeed and power using my training experience in baseball and track and field.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by dominik View Post
                      Tools are Not equal. For hitters hit tool comes first by a lot then power, speed and arm.
                      Do you think that hitting for average comes before hitting for power? I would think that hitting for power is the #1 tool, but maybe I'm thinking more from an MLB fan perspective.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by bbrages View Post

                        Do you think that hitting for average comes before hitting for power? I would think that hitting for power is the #1 tool, but maybe I'm thinking more from an MLB fan perspective.
                        From a MLB perspective hitting for average is becoming irrelevant. It’s about hitting for OPS. In terms of becoming a college prospect contact still matters. Many college players don’t start hitting for power until junior year.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by bbrages View Post

                          Do you think that hitting for average comes before hitting for power? I would think that hitting for power is the #1 tool, but maybe I'm thinking more from an MLB fan perspective.
                          Definitely. A 270 hitter who hits 2 bombs per year can play in pro ball but a 130 hitter who hits 20 bombs can't.

                          at the pro level they say now power is more important but this is assuming a baseline level of hitting skill (say .230 or so).

                          don't forget that the lowest averages in mlb for a full year are low 200s but it is easily possible to hit .050 if you are bad enough, some NL pitchers are doing it, so the baseline for hitting really isn't. 200, it is getting hits at all.

                          so in mlb power might be more important but that is because guys who can't hit 230 flame out in high A ball or earlier.

                          I mean the sabermetric guys say power is more important by stating 250 with 30 bombs is better than 300 with 0 bombs but the baseline for hitting isnt 250, it is .000. Now those guys don't exist is mlb because there is a selection but put an average joe in mlb and he hits .000 with no homers or maybe .010 if he gets a couple lucky hits.

                          Yeah at mlb power is the difference maker and at other high levels it is important too but the vast majority of baseball careers end because you don't hit because few HS coaches would sit a 300 hitter with no power but they will sit a 140 hitter with pop who Ks 60% of the time who occasionally runs into one in a game. And even in A ball rarely a player who hits will get released since you can hope the power comes (although if you don't project for power you might not get drafted at all)

                          however still power is very important especially since at higher levels to hit you do need a certain power and batspeed to hit against good defenses so just contact ability of course doesn't make a good hit tool - in the end you can't devide power and hit completely because with a 60 mph max EV you won't hit in D1 and even a 100 mph batspeed guy needs to make some contact to produce game power.
                          Last edited by dominik; 08-28-2019, 04:21 PM.
                          I now have my own non commercial blog about training for batspeed and power using my training experience in baseball and track and field.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by andre8 View Post
                            Better to have 1 elite tool than 5 above average tools.
                            This was the light bulb moment for me hearing the coach talk. He used a Hawaii player, Shane Victorino starting he only had one tool, speed. The rest was average, but being exceptional in the one tool kept him in the game. What's better, slightly above average in all 5 tools or average in 4 tools and exceptional in one tool. This particular coach suggested to work on your strength and be the latter. This is in contrast to the idea that hitting is the most important tool, if you can hit they will find a spot for you, if you cant, you're out of luck.
                            Never played baseball, just a dad of someone that loves to play. So take any advice I post with a grain of salt.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by pthawaii View Post

                              This was the light bulb moment for me hearing the coach talk. He used a Hawaii player, Shane Victorino starting he only had one tool, speed. The rest was average, but being exceptional in the one tool kept him in the game. What's better, slightly above average in all 5 tools or average in 4 tools and exceptional in one tool. This particular coach suggested to work on your strength and be the latter. This is in contrast to the idea that hitting is the most important tool, if you can hit they will find a spot for you, if you cant, you're out of luck.
                              If you don’t hit you don’t play. You can’t steal first (except in the Atlantic League). Someone was blowing smoke up your rear about Victorino. Yes, speed was his top asset. He was a state champion sprinter in high school. He was also all state in five sports. He pitched in the upper 80’s. He was heavily scouted. In workouts for MLB teams he drove the ball all over the park. He attended a MLB tryout camp at Dodger Stadium and hit several bombs. The guy was offered a baseball and football ride to a D1, Hawaii. The WAC had some very good baseball programs. You don’t get drafted in the 6th round because all you can do is run. The only reservation was his size (5’9” 170). I found this information in excerpts from his biography online.

                              This Victorino only had one tool story reminds me of the delusion some people had about Pete Rose claiming he wasn’t a top athlete.Pete Rose claimed he wasn’t an athlete. He was all state in baseball and football. When he said he wasn’t an athlete he meant relative to other major league athletes.

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