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My blog upon how kids rely too much upon talent and never truly address the skills required to take talent to the top.

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So now that I understand the definitions. Will a 5'8", 170lbs. kid who has "skills" and has honed his craft fielding and hitting. Be passed over by a 6'3", 215lbs kid who has "talent" just because of that "talent"? It sounds like "skills" don't matter until after the "talent" has already been chosen. Which to me seems like a half assed way to scout or recruit.

Are you born with talent but no skill?  Can you only improve your skill but your talent is finite?  What if someone has a lot of skill and a little bit of talent and has the same stats as someone with a lot of talent and a little bit of skill, which one do you choose?  If skill means one thing and talent means another, we need a word to describe those that have both.  Maybe that is what SKILLZ means.  Or MAD SKILLZ.  How about raw talent?  I have heard this used to describe athletes but they were usually the best players already.  Can you have "raw skills"?  I never heard anyone say that so I guess not.  What about other sports?  Golf.  Golf is a skill game so how would you describe a golfer that has talent?  Does a guy that can drive the ball 400 yards have talent but no skill if he can't keep it on the fairway?  I wouldn't call that talent.  To me talent is a good thing.  So is skill.

That is correct. For the "talent" portion of things, a player must have enough talent to compete within the system requirements, which gives him the potential to execute.....but not be successful. The "skills" will give him the ability to execute consistently. Additionally, previous skills do not always transfer into the new system, as the game gets quicker, stronger, and faster as you move up. Therefore, new skills or quicker, stronger, and faster skills must be established.....all of which are backed by athletic talent.

Remember that athleticism is natural, defines tools, and creates potential. Skills establish consistency, execution rate....which are quantified by stats.

In any system, execution is a byproduct of talent and skill working together, as just about anyone could execute a few times in a higher level (than they currently are in). The question is simple - "Can this player execute as much when they enter a new system that is quicker, stronger, and faster?" This points to evaluating talent. After the player enters the system (due to talent), they are now required to become skillful to increase execution rates.

As for talent requirements, wherein a 6'3", 215 lb player will be taken over a 5'8", 160 lb player.....

1. The bigger body provides more durability, power, and increased athletic prowess that will benefit execution prowess (how one executes - i.e. hitting doubles instead of singles or having more velo to be less fine, instead of having to be more fine).

2. There are more places to place a bigger bodies player on the field and in the line up - all of which provide statistical advantage towards power. Lineup provides bigger bodies (with power) to be in the 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 slot. In the field, bigger bodies are at 3rd, 1st, catcher, pitchers, LF, RF, and in most cases SS. Smaller bodies have less places in the line up or field, as speed and quickness are limited to 2nd, CF.

If we just look at talent, take the following example and you will understand why scouts and evaluations are based upon talent POTENTIALS that meet system requirements......rather than raw skill BEFORE a player enters the "system". "Talent" is based upon raw tools that provide execution potential.

 1. If a pitcher's velocity (tool) over matches a hitter's hand speed (tool), before the first pitch is thrown, the pitcher already has the hitter beat. He does not have to throw inside....just throw hard. Once the hitter cheats - as he cannot catch up to the velo, the pitcher can use location to increase tool oppression. To get this hitter out, he potentially does not even have to use a different pitch. He can save this for a pressure situation.

2. If a hitter's power over matches the defensive speed and range, before the first pitch, the hitter is already increasing BA potential and statistical advantage - as the defense cannot match the velocity or length of batted balls, in regards to range and speed, respectively.

3. If a runner is faster than arm strength of fielders, he is increasing BA and statistical advantage before the first pitch because he can leg out would be outs and turn them into base hits. Once at first, if the catcher's POP time is too slow, he is at second (and then at third). And all the coach has to do is put on the "green light", wait until the speed over matches the arm strength, and then he has runner on third and can score with no hit.

Look at TALENT shrinking dimensions (turn a 90' bag into a 110' bag, turn 60' 6" into 40' 6", or turn defensive coverage from 40' into 80'). That is how drafts, evals, potential, and moving on works......getting into each system. But once the player is in the system, he is required to execute and therefore, SKILL is required to increase execution consistency.

Sorry this is long, but this topic is THE number one most debated topic with youth and HS players (and parents) many just look at statistics and state they define the athlete. In reality, the statistics (execution rate) define the success at the current level, but have very little to do with success at the next level. Talent gives scouts the ability to peer into the future and project - which is potential. Once the player is accepted into the next level, new skills must be established in order to execute at the higher level of concentrated talent.

Take myself for example, went from throwing 92-95MPH to 83-87MPH (due to injury). When healthy, it was easier to execute and I did not have to be as perfect. After injury, I had to be picture perfect.....and we all know that is impossible. That is why I was no longer in the game (after injury). Same pitcher, same skills, different talent.

I had some success throwing slow, but that was because I increased skills - developed better command and more breaking pitches, but in the end.....the talent overwhelmed my skills. I had to have enough talent to support the skill.

I see so many 78-84MPH high school pitchers with big breaking pitches that throw shutout after shutout, but go nowhere. This is because the breaking pitch is nullified at the NCAA levels when you have no velocity behind it. Hand speed is too great, power is too much, and hitters turn these pitchers into one pitch pitchers.

Vise versa, you got all these HS hitters whom bat .400+, but did it by hitting the holes and dumping line drives over the infielders. At the next level, those grounders through the holes are now outs due to increased range, speed, arm strength, and reaction of defenses.

Hey Ralph,

Baseball scouts etc are unpredictable people when it comes to deciding who stays and goes, who they like and who they do not like.

 During my first spring training we had a particular player who certainly was doing much better than I was, yet they released him and told him he was too short at five foot ten inches tall, I am 5 ft./eleven.

Don Ervin

So when scouts and find talent on the HS level. Do scouts just dismiss kids with skills? Or does a kid with skills only get an opportunity when he has "heart and determination". And with baseball he may or may not get a ball hit in his direction, or a pitch to hit. So how is heart and determination determined. I guess my question is how did Dustin Pedroia and Craig Biggio ever move to the next level if a scout is predetermining athletes based on a precedence of talent over skills. 

Scouting is a complicated process that is heavily dependent upon organizational needs. Look at scouting from the stance that one builds a team of individuals.....not a team. Meaning, Select baseball takes the best athletes and puts them together to win. HS is given players and the coach must win. But at the NCAA or MLB levels, each position has a certain job to do in the field and in the line up. It is much more specialized.

Skill is definitely taken into account, but raw talent and tools are what attract. Body size is only one tool, as if you take a look at Pedroia and Biggio (as HSers), they were phenoms with skill and talent. I guess you could pose "talent" as ability and skill as "polish".

Another way of looking at it is to find a HS hitter batting over .400. Go watch him against the best pitcher in the league. How does he hit then? This comparison will give you invaluable insight into whether the hitter is batting .400 overall or .150 versus velocity and pitchability.

For pitchers, find the best ERA and watch him against the top hitters in the league. If he overmatches.....NOT FOOLS the hitters, he is a dude.

One must understand that the next level has everyone throwing hard. So what does the hitter do against velocity? Vise versa, every hitter can smash. What does the pitcher do against top hitters? Compare apples to apples and you will see why scouts look at talent requirements before they look at skills.

I think I get what you are saying. 

I can see some kids at lower levels who are good players because they have focused on developing their skills, but are maxed out on talent and won't get much further.  

And then the reverse, which is a player with tons of talent, but also much room for improvement by developing more sound technique/mechanics.

Is that what we're getting at here?  And I agree.  A player with natural talent may get pretty far on that alone, but someday they will realize the guys around them have just as much talent, and it's going to take some refining of their talent (ie developing the skills) if they want to continue to stay at the top.  The ones who refuse to work hard on getting better will not make it in the end.  That's why, if I were a scout, what you are pointing out would indeed be a red flag.  You make a good point.



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