What is a Baseball Scout?

Each season, the MLB draft receives far less attention than the NFL draft. Good MLB scouts can set up an MLB team for future success by finding great baseball players locally and internationally. How does a baseball scout work, what do they look for, etc.? Here are the answers to these questions and more.

What is the Purpose of a Major League Baseball Scout?

A Major League Baseball scout is responsible for finding untapped baseball players who can help an organization win games. To find players, baseball scouts visit high school and college games, independent leagues, international games, and more. As well as Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball can also conduct scouting.

What are Baseball Scouts Looking for in Baseball Players?

Professional scouts look for a number of things in a player’s potential to play in the Major Leagues. Scouts usually have an assignment from the General Manager of a professional baseball team telling them what they are looking for in players. An organization looking to rebuild its pitching staff in the minors might focus on finding pitching talent, while another is seeking a specific position player. Here is a breakdown of generic things baseball scouts look for when scouting players.

  • Scouts sometimes watch batting practice to gauge a hitter’s potential if the pitching talent in the hitters’ league isn’t sharp).
  • High school or college age of the player
  • The strength and accuracy of a fielder’s arms 
  • Radar guns are used to measure the arm strength of pitchers
  • A pitcher’s fastball, curveball, slider, and more spin rates
  • Awareness and mechanics of fielding
  • Bat speed and mechanics of a hitter at the plate.
  • A hitter’s speed at which the ball leaves the bat
  • An athlete’s athletic ability and their overall enjoyment of the game
  • The speed at which a baserunner can move from first to third after a single

How Do you Become a Major League Scout?

As an MLB associate scout volunteer, you will need to network with high school players and their coaches. With time, you join a paid program with a baseball team to collect additional scouting reports. Consider following certain college players in a given area and making sure your analysis remains consistent. As a last resort, MLB organizations can promote you to a national cross-checker role or an international job to help them discover top talent.

On MLB.com, you can learn more about the qualifications of a Major League Scout.

What is an MLB Associate Scout?

An MLB-associated scout assists an MLB scout without being paid. Baseball associations play a variety of roles, but they typically keep volunteers at a specific location to gather data for baseball scouts. A volunteer will usually work only in the area around where they live.

How Much Money Does a Baseball Scout Make?

According to eCityworks.com, the average salary for a full-time baseball scout is $30k to $50k. Among the factors influencing a baseball scout’s pay are his or her experience and the team he or she works for. As well as working directly with the General Manager and data analytics team, scout salaries can be influenced by other factors.

Where Do Scouts Sit During a Ballgame?

Scouts usually sit directly behind home plate during baseball games taking notes. Scouts may use a notebook or radar gun to record metrics, while others may use a stopwatch or radar gun. Sometimes, scouts show up discretely to gather insight into players without attracting too much attention. 

Do Scouts Scout out Different Teams?

It is possible for scouts of one organization to watch teams outside of their own during a season. Throughout the season, a New York Yankees scout may only attend the games of their competitors’ MLB or minor league teams. Having a scout follow a different team or teams can provide valuable information to your General Manager regarding what players would complement your squad well. 


In summary, baseball scouts are the eyes and ears on the ground for finding the best talent for MLB organizations to draft or acquire. It is not uncommon for scouts to gain insight that data analytics might overlook, for example. Unlike analysts, scouts can combine their years of experience with data to give General Managers their best estimation of how effective a player could be for their team in the future.

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