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What To Expect At A Professional Baseball Tryout

First Things First

Get to the park early but not necessarily too early. Nothing happens until everyone is signed in and usually they don’t begin sign in until the exact start time (Still being there early is always a good idea). Tryouts usually begin around 9am so getting to the park around 8:40 would be ideal.

Those in charge then call out positions. You have to pick one position for tryout. Everyone gets into a big single file line and they hand you a small index card that you fill out. Things to fill out on the card are fields like name, year of graduation, age, contact info, contacts/glasses, and team; nothing you don’t know off the top of your head. On each card is a number. That’s your identity for the rest of the tryout so remember it. During the tryout you will go in order of your number so if you don't like to go first, turn in your card after a couple people in front of you. Most tryouts also have liability releases that you can print off before the tryout to make everything go quicker.

After everyone is signed in. Just hang out and relax. The head scout will eventually call everyone together and give a rundown of the day.

Pitchers: Relax

Pitchers don’t do anything for a long time. Pitchers sit through position players’ sprints and fielding. This can take hours depending on the size of the tryout, so just sit back and relax. There is no need to start throwing or stretching or running yet. Realistically you're going to be sitting around for hours, but don't leave just in case something rapidly changes.


60 Yard Dash

First up for position players is the 60 yard dash. Before you start, you'll be given about 5 minutes to stretch and get some warm up runs in. Again, you're order will be based upon the number you were given in signing up, so if you're one of the higher numbers don't tire yourself out.

Each player will run two sprints. You will run with a partner but timed separately so don't despair if you fall behind, you may actually have a quicker time. You are allowed to start in any position so get in your fastest stance.

A good time is anything below 6.7 seconds. If the tryout is very full sometimes the scout will cut people based on their 60 times. An example would be "everyone who ran slower than 7.0 can go home". Catchers are immune to this cut so that they stick around and catch pitchers.

After you run, get some water and relax. The scout will tell you when to get ready for the next part of the tryout.


After everyone has finished both of their 60 yard sprints, the scout in charge will tell everyone that the next step is to work outfielders. If you are an outfielder you will be given time to warm up your arms. If you are not an outfielder you may rest until the outfielders are almost done, then warm up your arms.

Outfielders will line up in right field according to their numbers. Each player will receive a mixture of 3 to 5 grounders/fly balls and will throw them to the plate. First baseman will sometimes be asked to act as cut off men.

The scouts are mainly looking for arm strength so really air it out. Sometimes they'll even have a radar gun on you. Try to throw it all the way to home but only if you can do it on a line through your cut off man.

After you finish, relax, its now time for infielders.


After the outfielders go and you've been given time to warm up your arms, all infielders besides first basemen will line up between 3rd and short stop. First baseman will line up at first.

In order of number, each infielder will receive between 3 to 5 ground balls which they will field and throw to first. This will happen rapid fire so you only go through the line once. Scouts are looking at a variety of things but arm strength and quick hands and feet are the main ones.

After all the non-first basemen have gone, the first basemen will receive between 3 to 5 ground balls which they will throw to 3rd base. This will happen rapid fire so you only go through the line once.

After everyone's gone, middle infielders will go to second base to receive throws from catchers.


After infield, catchers will gather around home plate. In order of number, each catcher will be thrown a ball and they will throw out a pretend runner at second base. Scouts will be recording the time the ball hits the catcher's mitt to the time the ball hits infielders mitt at second. This is your pop time. Each catcher will go through the line about 3 times or will be given 3 to 5 throws rapid fire depending on the preference of the tryout.

After you throw, get some water and get ready for batting practice.

Batting Practice

After all the defense, the scout will bring you together and let you know whats next (batting practice). If the tryout is large he may only call out the numbers of players who are going to hit batting practice. If your number is not called you can go home.

There will then be an order as to who hits. Catchers go first and according to their numbers. After catchers, each position or position group will be called and will hit in order of their numbers. For example, an order might be: Catchers, Infielders, Outfielders.

When you aren't hitting you will be in the outfield shagging balls.

Catchers, after you hit you will be asked to gear up and catch bullpens.

Pitchers: Bullpens

Eventually a scout will come over and tell everyone how the bullpen sessions are going to work. This usually occurs during or after batting practice. Basically pitchers will throw bullpens in order of their number. So know your number and what number is currently throwing a bullpen to know when you should start getting loose. You will then play catch with either a catcher or just another pitcher. You should be hot when its your turn to throw a bullpen but time it so you aren’t already spent.

When its your time to throw a bullpen, you will get on the mound and depending the scout will announce your number. Now is your time to shine. You usually only get about 15 pitches so make it count. Throw hard while staying true to your mechanics, but truth is if you light up the gun that will garner a lot of attention. Be sure to mix in your breaking stuff. You should probably throw about 8 fastballs and 7 breaking balls. The scout recording your pitch speeds may be the one who calls your pitches. In this case, you will usually throw about 6 fastballs, then 3 change ups, then 3 breaking balls, then asked if you have anything else, and then you'll finish with 2 good fastballs.

Once your done with your bullpen. You again sit around waiting for everyone to finish. If you impressed you may have a scout come talk to you.

Stay Or Go Home

Once everyone is finished the scouts will bring everyone together. Depending on the tryout, this will either be the end or there will be a scrimmage.

If there is a scrimmage the scouts sequester themselves for anywhere from 5 minutes to about an hour. You can eat during this time if you brought a lunch or just hang out. Either way, don’t leave the park. The head scout will then emerge and they will announce who has been invited to stay and play a scrimmage. Everyone else is released to go home.


If you made it to the scrimmage you will be told when you will pitch or where you will play/hit in the game. If you are starting they will give you plenty of heads up in terms of time.

Pitching. Make sure you are ready to go when its your time to pitch. Most pitchers only get an inning of work in. This is where you pitch. Throw hard and stay within yourself again. Remember the guys you’re throwing against are eager to show the scouts they can hit rather than walk, so you can get swinging k’s with stuff off the plate.

Position Players. Make sure you are ready to play. You may be playing out of position but your athleticism is what really matters. Attack every ball you can get to on defense. On offense, keep in mind that pitchers are going to try to light up the radar gun so you can capitalize on waiting for a fastball down the middle. Pitchers will be a little wild but remember that your trying out your hitting ability so patience is not necessarily a virtue.


The Aftermath

They may give you the opportunity to leave once you’re done pitching but you should stick around for the simple fact that leaving early looks bad and doesn’t give scouts a chance to talk to you if they liked your performance. Again, if you did well someone may come talk to you. After the scrimmage, everyone will be brought together again, thanked, and released. Only the really really dominating players are offered contracts at a tryout so don’t fret if you leave empty handed. As one scout put it, "the chance of anyone being signed at a tryout is almost zero". The goal of the tryout is get names in the system with a scouting report. If they liked you and want to sign you, you may get a call later in the week. A lot of times the farm system is full so they cannot sign you, but if they have your name and liked you, they may call you when someone gets hurt or released.

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Comment by HENRY WALTHAM on October 17, 2011 at 7:50pm
Comment by pw on October 18, 2011 at 1:35pm

Players do get signed at open MLB Tryout Camps, but it is rare, to be honest most of the players who attend are not very good. Just think of American Idol. How many people think they are good and really are not.  For pitchers if you are throwing  mid 90's and can throw strikes, they will sign you on the spot. Position players need to  run  60 yd 6.50 seconds or better, throw 91 mph from the outfield or 87 in the infield and hit tape mesure home runs in BP. Players rarely do it, that is why not many players get signed out of open tryout camps. Most of the players that are signed directly from the tryout camp are invited to attend.

Comment by Tom Schwindy on August 8, 2012 at 11:39pm

Nice Dave:

Here in the Lehigh Valley home of the Phillies AAA team they had an open try out just a little while a go. They MOWED through MANY QUICKLY. Just like you said above! My very good friend had two of his sons there and after it was all over they both were asked to stick around and they both are being looked at CURRENTLY! One throws 94 pitches and plays outfield. The younger one is only going to be a junior in HS. He is a catcher with a POP TIME of 1.8! They were 2 of 5 only asked to stick around. and they got there personal info.



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