What are MLB scouts doing without baseball? They’re filling time with film, meetings and even some cooking


In a typical year, many baseball scouts would currently be on their way to the next game, in the next town, where they would put eyes on the next prospect. This is, to understate the obvious, not a typical year. The spread of the novel coronavirus has (for now) delayed the Major League Baseball season, and has shuttered the opportunity to gain new in-person looks at collegiate and high school players. 

Scouts, who tend to sit behind home plate with their radar guns and their stopwatches, are now sitting at home. They’re no longer concerned with the five tools of player evaluation (hit, power, speed, defense, and arm) so much as the one tool of teleconferencing: Zoom, which is being used by countless departments across the league. 

What does a scout’s day look like right now, during these unprecedented times? Like many of us, they have online meetings. A seemingly never-ending parade of them. “We have meetings via conference calls regionally,” said a minor-league scout. “Having different discussions, scout-oriented. That’s really about it.”  

Recently, the league retracted some of the scouting restrictions put into place after the shutdown. As CBS Sports first reported, scouts can now contact prospects, as well as their families and advisers. They won’t be able to scout in person from now until the postponed 2020 MLB Draft (likely to happen sometime in July), barring conditions improving enough for MLB to schedule some workouts. But the league is building infrastructure that will allow scouts to upload videos for all teams to view. Video, then, has become the main scouting method.

“It’s just been watching video on players for amateur draft and writing reports off video,” said an MLB scout. “Really nothing else anyone in the game can do but watch video.”

When scouts aren’t doing the best they can to maintain a sense of normalcy with their jobs, they’re getting accustomed to the rigors of everyday life. That can mean setting healthier work-life boundaries; it can mean helping out with chores around the house (“A lot of garages and sheds are getting cleaned out”); and it can mean cooking. 

Yes, the same scouts who (by default) maintain a takeout-heavy diet during the draft season are now embracing their inner chefs. For evidence of that, check out ScoutsCooking on Twitter

Many are using the era of social distancing and staying home to ponder the big questions. Scouts are no exception — some of their questions just so happen to be about baseball. 

One longtime scout said he was spending his time watching older games as a means of gaining perspective. “Hear about their stories. Watch pitching where there were no high strikes. Could players from past eras even get an opportunity these days? How they played and performed. Just a good reflection on yesterday versus today’s players,” he wrote in a text. 

“Other than that, [just] waiting on what they decide.”





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