How to Become a Five-Tool Player

Regular position players are judged by their tools, consisting of: Hitting for average, hitting for power, running ability, fielding ability, and arm strength.

Here are some tips to help you become a well-rounded player and a scout's dream -- a rare five-tool athlete.

What Scouts Look for

Depending on the organization, baseball teams generally use a 20-80 rating scale when evaluating talent. The point system ranges from 2 (poor) up to 8 (outstanding), and every skill, or "tool" is closely examined.

Add them up, multiply by two, and you arrive at what is referred to as OFP, or "Overall Future Potential", which labels players as future stars when above 65, a regular player over 50, or little more than organizational depth at 49 points or below

Hitting for Average

Even the great ones like Tony Gwynn and Ichiro Suzuki are not considered five-tool players, but they a couple of the game's best all-time pure hitters.

One simple tip to hit for a high average is to hold the bat with the proper grip. When held in the fingers, with middle knuckles closely aligned, this allows the hands to more easily react to the pitch.

Tip: Keep knuckles aligned for quick reactions.

Hitting for Power

Although it is obvious Albert Pujols hits the gym on a regular basis, the main thing power hitters possess is attitude.

When an animal is most likely to attack, it usually holds a steady position with the head slightly turned and eyes clearly focused on the target. The power comes when the hitter is still, balanced, and ready to attack the incoming pitch.

Tip: Keep your head still and your swing fluid.

Running

Sure, it helps to have blazing speed, because it is the only tool that makes each of the other tools more dangerous. B not everyone can make it up the line in 4.1 seconds or less.

Everyone can, however, work to be excellent base runners by studying situational running techniques, reading and reacting to fly balls, and taking good routes to the ball as a fielder.

Tip: Study successful baserunners to improve your speed game.

Fielding

Hitting is glamorized to a certain extent, while fielding takes a bit of a backseat. Believe me when I say "every team wants great defensive players".

Hall-of-Famer Ozzie Smith was an adequate hitter, but what he lacked offensively, "The Wizard" more than made up for on the diamond. Great defenders can save runs as much as hitters can generate them.

Tip: Work on your glove skills and footwork to make you a more agile defender

Arm Strength

The name Raul Mondesi always comes to mind when speaking of arm strength, because his right field arm made it difficult for opposing teams to go from first to third on a hit or for runners to score on sacrifice flies.

Having a strong arm is one way to compensate for lack of speed, where it may take longer to get to the ball, but still keeps runners on alert.

Tip: Use strength training to develop your arm strength and make yourself a more valuable player.

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