Saturday, November 14, 2015

Hitters: Getting Drafted

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Nearly every little leaguer dreams of playing Major League Baseball. The president of Little League, Stephen Keener, notes that "for the 5,000,000 children playing baseball in the United States, 400,000 will play high school baseball. Of those, 1,500 will eventually be drafted by a Major League team (out of high school or college)."

To be drafted, a player must obviously have significant talent. He must possess electric speed, first class hitting ability, gorilla power, and/or outstanding defensive abilities. He must be projectable: his ceiling must be much higher than his current ability. 

Major League scouts are looking for ballplayers whom they believe can become big leaguers one day. They aren't looking for minor league fillers. Every scout wants to draft big leaguers, but they aren't looking for just one thing or another. Scouting is a complex web of evaluating talent, skill, work ethic, success, competition, character and signability. Those who are drafted possess most of those facets, not necessarily in that order.

There exists 30 MLB clubs with different general managers, scouting directors, advanced scouts, major league scouts, area scouts, cross checkers, special assistants to the GM and each of those 30 clubs has a different perspective on what they need, want, desire and actually draft. And each of those clubs may change their identity from time to time; baseball is as fluid as society. It is ever-evolving, hopefully for the better.

So what can a young man do to get drafted?

A hitter wanting to get drafted can control, in my estimation, about 10 % of the process. Here are a few controllables: 

The best hitters hit every day. They study their swings. They compete with resiliency and relentlessness. 

The highest drafted players are also consistent people. They are well spoken, can communicate their thoughts clearly, and have consistent control of their emotions. Usually, the highest drafted players are more mature. 

Big leaguers are professionals at nearly everything they do. Time management skills and the ability to focus are important for a big leaguer. These are skills that can be acquired for a young man.

Professional hitters are strong. They lift weights 4-6 days/week. They take care of their bodies by eating well and avoiding foods and substances that make them inconsistent or unpredictable. 

The best hitters know how to slow their minds down. They practice with laser like focus. They can consistently control their process, and thus, have consistently high results.

Finally, the best players focus on the team's success. If your number one goal this year is to get drafted, you're headed for a major let down. Selfishness is at the root of destruction. If you want to get drafted, focus on doing what you can do to help your team win. Make your team better. Make your teammates better.