What is the No. 1 Factor when Recruiting a Pitcher
As the summer recruiting season is now upon us coaches from around the nation will be out at tournaments and showcases trying to find the next great weekend starter or the final piece to a bullpen that will carry them to Omaha. As coaches try to beat the bushes to find these prospects we wanted to evaluate what characteristics were most important to the coaches recruiting them. For this weeks balls and strikes we asked our panel of coaches to look at this process. While there are many factors that go into offering a pitcher a scholarship, we wanted to force our panel to narrow it down to one thing they felt was most important to them making a decision on a kid.
Arizona State University
For me the #1 attribute has to be pitchability/command. Regardless of a kids stuff or any other attribute the common denominator on why kids don’t pitch is their lack of ability to execute pitches and throw quality strikes. Pitchability might mean a kid is in the bullpen and can execute a great fastball and a wipe out slider or secondary pitch. He might be a kid who has a great change that he can throw anytime and be successful. Its not always about 3 or 4 pitches that he can throw effectively to have great pitchability. Sometimes I would consider his command of two or even one pitch enough, especially if they are plus pitches, to be considered as having good pitchability, if he is used properly. If you don’t have this attribute you probably aren’t going to be a positive contributor to a pitching staff.
University of Illinois
If I had only one attribute I could have it would be pitch-ability. With this I know I am getting someone who can throw strikes and understands how to pitch. This is what most pitchers at our level struggle with so I think this is the most important aspect. Throwing the ball hard is one thing, but knowing where it’s going is more important.
The Air Force Academy
This is a tough question to answer because there are several characteristics when identifying potential candidates for the United States Air Force Academy. You obviously want a athlete who can contribute to the success of your program, but at the Academy there is so more involved. These kids will serve our country and defend our freedom. It goes beyond his abilities on the baseball field, so if I had to pick one attribute in a potential student athlete it would be character. We will find the best athlete we can, but more importantly we need to find a young man that has integrity and a understanding of what it takes to commit to the United States of America.
University of Iowa
When considering a pitcher for recruitment the number factor for me would be pitch ability. Within that comes certain factors such as fastball command, the ability to throw one or two off-speed pitches for a strike, and the understanding of how to get hitters out. These factors determine whether or not a pitcher may be able to contribute earlier and more consistently throughout his career.
There are several factors that coaches look at when determining if they want to recruit a pitcher or not. If forced to narrow it down to one I would choose competitiveness. I think if a pitcher understands and enjoyed competing his stuff will play bigger than it is. Having the knack for tying it on with a hitter and winning that battle will transcend velocity or stuff issues. I have seen some guys with +stuff not get any hitters out and I have watched very average ability pitchers dominate good teams based on being a competitor. The issue you have with this is the fact that it is very hard to measure this trait. A radar gun will tell you velocity but there is no device to gauge how competitive a kid is. If I could design something that would measure this I would be a rich man!