Scout (sport)

In professional sports, scouts are experienced talent evaluators who travel extensively for the purposes of watching athletes play their chosen sports and determining whether their set of skills and talents represent what is needed by the scout's organization. Some scouts are interested primarily in the selection of prospects, younger players who may require further development by the acquiring team but who are judged to be worthy of that effort and expense for the potential future payoff that it could bring, while others concentrate on players who are already polished professionals whose rights may be available soon, either through free agency or trading, and who are seen as filling a team's specific need at a certain position. Advance scouts watch the teams that their teams are going to play in order to help determine strategy.

Many scouts are former coaches or retired players, while others have made a career just of being scouts. Skilled scouts who help to determine which players will fit in well with an organization can be the major difference between success and failure for the team with regard to wins and losses, which often relates directly to the organization's financial success or lack thereof as well.

Kinds of scouts

Scouts tend to have to perform one of two tasks, either scouting opposition teams to research the opposition's players and tactics, or scouting individual players to identify their level of skill and to keep track of potential new signings.[1]

Contemporary Major League Baseball teams usually classify scouts and their differing responsibilities as follows:

  • Advance scouts follow the MLB clubs that their team is scheduled to play and file reports on trends and tendencies that influence pitching, defensive, offensive and game strategy.
  • Major League scouts and professional scouts (the most senior of whom are sometimes called "special assignment scouts" or "special assistants to the general manager") typically track active players under contract to other teams for potential acquisition. They also may support advance scouts or evaluate competing minor league organizations. Per their designation, the former follow players in MLB, while "pro scouts" work minor league and independent league baseball.
  • Amateur scouts evaluate high school and college baseball players and prepare their MLB teams for the June amateur draft. To ensure that players are seen by multiple evaluators, amateur scouts are usually divided into area scouts, regional cross-checkers and national cross-checkers.
  • International scouts cover players not from the United States, Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories, or Canada. These players are signed as international free agents and are not subject to the June draft, although bonus amounts and signing regulations are governed by the collective bargaining agreement between MLB and its players' union. In addition to the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Mexico, and other Latin American and Caribbean countries, where MLB teams have had a scouting presence since the mid-20th century, the growth in international baseball has compelled most teams to station scouts in Japan, Korea and other Asian countries, Australia, and Europe. International scouting also involves cross-checking to enable multiple evaluators to validate the reports of local scouts.

According to Tony Lucadello, considered by some to be the greatest scout ever,[2][3][4][5] the four kinds of scouts start with the letter 'P':

  • Poor – wastes time looking for games rather than having a planned itinerary
  • Picker – emphasizes a player's one weakness to the neglect of all strengths and ignores the potential within
  • Performance – bases his evaluation on what a player does in his presence
  • Projector – envisions what a player will be able to do in two or three years

Lucadello estimated that five percent of scouts were poor, five percent pickers, 85 percent performance scouts and five percent projectors.[6]

Computer-aided scouting

Modern day scouts are becoming more and more reliant on computer programs to aid and assist in the evaluation of talent being scouted. Many professional sport clubs now use computers to organize their collected information and data. Most sports still depend on human management to decide which players their organization will draft or sign.

Notable scouts


Baseball scouts at a game at Turner Field in 2008.

American football


Association football (soccer)

Ice hockey


  1. ^ Owen, Gareth (17 December 2011). "Scouting missions broaden horizons during injury absence". The Sentinel. Archived from the original on 5 May 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2011.
  2. ^ Robbins, Mike (2004). Ninety Feet from Fame: Close Calls With Baseball Immortality. Pp. 99–100.
  3. ^ Jordan, David M. (2004). Occasional Glory: The History of the Philadelphia Phillies. Pp. 163–164.
  4. ^ Spivak, Jeffrey (2005). Crowning the Kansas City Royals: Remembering the 1985 World Series Champs. P. 36.
  5. ^ Joyce, Gare. Wall of Dreams.
  6. ^ Winegardner, Mark (1990). Prophet of the Sandlots: Journeys with a Major League Scout. P. 97.
  7. ^ Bruce, Aubrey (February 11, 2010). "Incomplete journey". New Pittsburgh Courier. Retrieved 12 March 2010.


  • Jordan, David M. Occasional Glory: The History of the Philadelphia Phillies. McFarland & Company, 2003. ISBN 0-7864-1260-7
  • Robbins, Mike, Ninety Feet from Fame: Close Calls With Baseball Immortality. Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2004. ISBN 0-7867-1335-6
  • Spivak, Jeffrey. Crowning the Kansas City Royals: Remembering the 1985 World Series Champs. Sports Publishing LLC, 2005. ISBN 1-58261-826-7
  • Winegardner, Mark. Prophet of the Sandlots: Journeys with a Major League Scout. Prentice Hall Press, 1990. ISBN 0-13-726373-2

External links

Brian Abraham

Brian Patrick Abraham (born December 20, 1984) is an American professional baseball front-office executive and former coach. He was appointed assistant director of player development by the Boston Red Sox in November 2014.

Indian Scout (motorcycle)

The Indian Scout is a motorcycle built by the Indian Motocycle Company from 1920 to 1949. It rivaled the Chief as Indian's most important model. The 101 Scout, made from 1928 to 1931, has been called the best motorcycle Indian ever made. A second line of Scouts, with heavier frames, was introduced in 1932 alongside the Standard Scout, which replaced the 101 Scout and shared its frame with the Chief and the Four. The small-displacement Scout and the Sport Scout, introduced in 1934, were continued until the end of civilian production in 1942. Military versions of both models were used by US and other Allied forces during World War II.

Apart from fifty examples of the 648, a special racing version of the Sport Scout, the Scout was not continued after World War II. In 1949 an all-new motorcycle, with an overhead valve straight-twin engine, was called the Scout; it was enlarged and renamed the Warrior in 1950.

Between 2001 and 2003, the Indian Motorcycle Company of America, based in Gilroy, California, built a Scout model using proprietary engine and transmission parts.

The Hidden Game of Football

The Hidden Game of Football is an influential book on American football statistics published in 1988 and written by Bob Carroll, John Thorn, and Pete Palmer. It was the first systematic statistical approach to analyzing American football in a book and is still considered the seminal work on the topic.

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