Baseball America Online
Dear Draft Prospects:
Many of you will have important decisions to make after the draft in June This is as good a time as any for some unsolicited advice.
Not that you haven't been getting any advice. In fact you have probably been getting too much advice. A lot of it is conflicting advice, too, unless the baseball world has changed recently.
There are probably three distinct groups of people you're hearing from. Each has particular motivations and tendencies.
Some scouts are outstanding at what they do; others aren't. Some are honest and hard-working, while others are often looking for shortcuts, even if that involves the truth. In this respect they are the same as coaches, teachers and every other slice of humanity.
Scouts work for clubs, and their employment is based on accurately evaluating your physical ability and your desire to play professional baseball. If you play hard and well, the first part of their job description is fairly easy. The problem comes with the second part.
The bottom line is that most scouts want an honest answer from you about your desire to play professional baseball, and the conditions under which you'll play. If you want to stay in school, tell them and be honest. If you want $100,000 tell them. If you want "round money", or money
commensurate with being drafted in a particular round, tell them. If you want to set a new bonus record, tell them.
If anybody associated with baseball, whether it's a scout, a coach or an agent, tells you to lie about something, take a step back and think; Do people advise you to lie have your best interests at heart? Do you respect anyone for their ability to lie?
One more thing about scouts. If a scout says that you are going to be drafted in a specific round, look him straight in the eye and tell him that he doesn't know what he is talking about. The only thing a scout can do is tell you what round he has you evaluated in. There are far too many factors at work for any scout to know where you will be drafted.
High school players, this is for you. By coaches, I mean college or junior college coaches. We're talking about your future here, not your past.
A coach's professional interest in you is simple. If you go to his school, his team can win more games. If he's successful, his career and his wages go up. If he isn't, his career and wages go down or out.
College is a great opportunity that many young people don't appreciate. To have someone pay for all or part of your higher education through a baseball scholarship makes it even better. Never be embarrassed or mad if you aren't drafted as high as you thought you would be and you "have" to continue with school.
But there are some myths about college baseball that you should keep in mind when talking to coaches:
Scholarships are for one year at a time. Period. There is no such thing as a four-year scholarship. A coach can cancel a scholarship at any time.
It is rare for freshman to play much at most major Division I programs. If a coach says you will play as a freshman, ask for the number of at-bats or innings each scholarship freshman has played at the school, in the past five years. Including the players who have transferred or dropped out, challenge him to prove it.
Major college baseball isn't equivalent to Double-A pro ball. It's the equivalent to nothing in professional baseball because of the aluminum bat. If it's the equivalent to Double-A then why do 95 percent of the college players start at A-ball or below?
The number of agents, or "advisers" as they are euphemistically called, has risen faster than the Dow Jones average. The reason is simple; There is a lot of money to be made on your talent, and people are willing to do just about anything to get on the gravy train.
Just like the scouts and the coaches, there are good agents and bad agents. The point is not to let anyone speak for you if you are not entirely
comfortable with him or her. Your parents wouldn't give a stranger their check book and tell them to go buy a house or car. Don't do the same with your baseball career.
Scouts, scouting directors, general managers and just about everyone else in baseball publicly dislike agents, though many have good relationships behind the scenes.
The reason for this dislike is pretty simple. Most agents are better business-men than are the baseball people, which is the chief reason bonuses and salaries keep skyrocketing.
Just as with scouts and coaches, agents demand the truth and demand that you are the most important part of the relationship. You can't ask for anything less.
A Final Thought
One final word about money. It doesn't matter at all what anyone else got compared to you. You don't spend their money, and they don't spend yours. Your value as a person and a player is in no way related to another person's value as a person or a player.
Sure you want "round money;" you'd be dumb not to. But when you start to say "So-and-so got that much and I am better than he is," you need to come back to reality.
When you are playing in Rookie ball, in Johnson City, Tennessee, and you haven't had a hit in five days, no one cares what your bonus was. If you're struggling in your classes and you haven't pitched in three weeks at State U., no one cares how much you turned down.
In short, it's your life. The scout, the coach, and the agent don't toe the rubber or dig into the box. Make your decision, make it honestly and give it your best shot.
BASEBALL AMERICA ONLINE