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Showcase  | Story  | 12/15/2021

FAQ Showcase Questions: Part 2

Pre-Showcase FAQs Part 1

For many heading into their first Perfect Game showcase, there’s an element of the unknown for players and families as they simply haven’t experienced an event in a showcase setting before. On Monday we looked to answer some frequently asked questions and provide players and families as much information as possible heading into the event. In today's installment, we take a look at what to expect once the showcase is underway, what our scouts are looking for, and how to maximize your exposure throughout the weekend among your peers. The final piece, which will be posted on Friday, will break down the metrics every player will accumulate throughout the weekend from all parts of the showcase. 

With the addition of 13u showcases to the Perfect Game showcase schedule, players now have the opportunity to attend at a younger age, post a baseline of numbers and watch their progress over the years. Whether it’s a 13u or 14u showcase or the National Showcase with 300 of the top rising seniors, the structure of a Perfect Game showcase remains the same, providing continuity from one event to the next. Each segment of a Perfect Game showcase is used in each player's evaluation by our scouts, from the 60-yard time to their performance throughout drills and the live action portion of the event.

This article will answer the most popular question, “what are scouts looking for?” It’s a rather simple question but the answer is not. Scouts are looking at a variety of factors throughout the showcase.

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to scouts as “talent is in the eye of the beholder” and two seasoned scouts may see different things evaluating the same process. Below is a brief process of what goes into every aspect of a Perfect Game showcase and what we have seen and been asked many times by players and parents. 

All players start by running the 60-yard dash and while notes may not be taken, every time is recorded along with their 10-yard split time, allowing a quick snapshot of their athleticism and twitch. From there we move into the workout portion of the event and that’s where we can begin to break down “what scouts are looking for.” 

It’s worth noting that a player’s overall potential and what our scouts project long term is factored into all aspects of a player’s performance and evaluation. 

Starting in right field, players will make two throws to third base and three throws to home plate, putting their arm strength on display. One of the first things we notice is how a player fields, moves to the baseball and whether they have proper footwork on the approach, while working through their release. Both their arm speed, arm action, the release point, accuracy and carry on flight are evaluated. All of these traits, along with arm strength, can result in a beautiful throw to the intended target, checking a lot of boxes in this drill setting. 

Infielders: The PG showcase method: One ground ball at the player, two to the backhand, one forehand up the middle and a charge play on a slow roller, all from shortstop. That means we want to see your footwork, moving to the backhand, how you maintain balance and if you can turn the glove over cleanly. Does this player show lateral range, can they throw on the run or off balance? One thing we see throughout the country during showcases are players who take a few extra steps to load up for the radar gun and while that can help post a big number on your profile and show your raw arm strength, it’s not how you’d play in a game setting and takes away from your true actions. That said, still show off your arm strength as it’s a critical tool in the evaluation process, just don’t sacrifice your actions in doing so! Like any position on the field, accuracy is important. While big arm strength is impressive, without accuracy it isn’t very usable in a game setting. 

First Basemen: While the attention is on the infielders at shortstop during their drills, their throws across also allow us a quick look at the first basemen with how they adjust to throws mid-flight, their flexibility, as well as their glove skill when it comes to picking balls out of the dirt. When it comes time to fully evaluate the first basemen, we get a further look into what we already saw while adding a couple pieces to the puzzle. We look to see how they move on their feet away from the base, how they pivot when making the throw to second base and of course their arm strength, carry and accuracy to the intended base. First basemen will work through a sequence of five ground balls: the first two they play deep and showcase their arm strength to third base, then play one deep to turn a double play, hold the runner on and start a double play before standing even with the base on a slow roller charge play. 

Catchers: The drills provide our first look at catchers and an important one as we get to see their mechanical profile for five throws down to second base whereas in live action we may only see one or two at best. That means game-like actions, pace, and mechanics are important in evaluating. Setting up behind the plate as one would in a game during drills is critical in the evaluation process. While starting with a higher set behind the plate or partially turned with shoulders and hips pre-pitch will help quicken your pop time, the prospect isn’t showcasing their true actions which our scouts make note of. Non-game actions can result in having a higher pop time during drills but that is factored into the evaluation process by our scouts and thus the defensive grade may not fall in line with the recorded pop time. Within those five throws scouts are looking how the ball is received, the cleanliness and quickness of the transfer into throwing hand, footwork, athleticism and overall flexibility, as well as their release, arm quickness and of course arm strength, carry and accuracy down to second base. 

When it comes to working out at a position, showcase where you envision yourself playing at the next level. Don’t tire your arm out at a secondary position just to show arm strength and ultimately take away from your performance at your primary position.

What do scouts look for in pitchers?
The first thing associated with pitchers more often than not is velocity but that’s just one piece of the puzzle in the total evaluation process. Our scouts look at everything from body type, to mechanical operation and arm action, ability to replicate movement patterns and release point, mound presence, command and control, feel for secondary pitches, overall pitchability and much more. Just because a pitcher doesn’t light up the radar guns yet doesn’t mean the player won’t catch our attention, especially at the 13u and 14u Showcases, as no two pitchers are the same in terms of development, both physically and on the diamond. 

We’ve seen players who are near physical maturity working upper-80s or better but don’t have the ability to harness within the strike zone and they may get the same overall PG Grade as a long and loose, projectable arm working in the low-80s but shows command of the zone and the makings of quality off-speed pitches.

If you’re a two-way prospect but a primary pitcher first and want to work out from a position during the drills portion, you can request to pitch on Sunday so that you aren’t getting your arm hot for drills and then cooling down until game time. 

What are the Perfect Game scouts looking at in batting practice?
Every player will get 10 swings during their round of batting practice while switch-hitters will get six swings from each side. Just like pitchers, there are a variety of things we look at for every batter aside from the obvious, which in this case is the result off the barrel. The mechanics are evaluated during batting practice, looking at whether they can repeat them, how their balance is, and how will it translate against live pitching?

All the components of a swing are broken down as well, from the hand load to timing trigger, length of swing and overall bat speed, whether there’s extension out front and the ability to square the ball up regularly. Of course, these are just some examples before getting into the overall results. In a wood bat setting, especially at the 13u and 14u levels, it’s understood that some players may not be able to impact the ball yet. They can still show ability to the barrel while squaring up eight of their ten balls and as the player grows stronger, it’s only a matter of time before the ball starts jumping. 

How does the ball jump off of the barrel? Can the player work to all fields with authority or intent? Is there present power and do the swing mechanics foreshadow power to come?

Why is your Perfect Game profile important? 
Think of your PG profile as a baseball resume of sorts with college coaches being the job interviewer. Often when a name is passed to a college coach the first thing they do is pull up a player’s profile, review the metrics, and watch the video. This is another reason why showing your true actions, fundamentals and arm strength are important as they will be on your profile for all to see. SHOW YOUR ACTIONS, SHOW YOUR ARM, PLAY YOUR GAME! 

What are things Perfect Game scouts are looking at during live game play?
        Live play is important as we get to see how the drills portion translate into game play. How’s the first step quickness of the infielder, can they adjust to the ball, how are their overall instincts, how does an outfielder track off the bat, can the catcher frame and present pitches all around the zone, how are their throws down to second base with a batter in the box? It also gives us plenty of looks at a player’s game swing, how they can adjust to off speed, do they have an approach/plan at the plate? While players get to showcase their speed at the start of the showcase during the 60-yard dash, scouts also mark down times from home to first, seeing how the speed translates down the line for 90 feet, so run out those ground balls!