Scouting Terms and Definitions Glossary

Scouts commonly use baseball terminology when talking or instructing players.  Some of these terms are complex and it can be embarrassing to ask what they mean.  To help you understand your evaluation, please review this glossary with some of the more difficult terms to understand.  

Please note:  strengths will be listed first, followed by weaknesses.

Strengths - Bold Type
Weaknesses - Italic Type

Good trigger mechanism
- Hands go back before they go forward. Also known as loading and cocking.
No Trigger or loading mechanism - Hands do not push back toward the catcher before hitting.

Lead arm soft - When triggering/loading hands, player keeps lead arm soft, or in a flex position, to maximize bat speed.
Bars lead arm - When triggering hands, player bars lead arm (locks arm or stiffens) causing player to be out and around the ball.

Hands inside the ball - Short, compact swing, where the hitter takes hands directly to the ball.
Out and around the ball - Player gets extension too early causing long swing.

Stays back well - Hitter waits for ball to get into zone, keeps his weight back.
Lunges Forward - Hitter is out in front, weight is shifted forward too early, and player loses power.

Good extension at point of contact - Hitter gets arms fully extended upon contact of baseball.
Doesn't get extended - Hitter doesn't get arms extended in front of plate.

Rotates hips - Hitter will pivot on back foot to maximize hip rotation.
No hip rotation - Hitter does not pivot on back foot, causing all power to be generated by upper body alone.

Hits off firm rigid front side - Hitters front leg is rigid when hands and hips are firing through the zone.
Collapses front side - Hitters front leg has too much bend or flex when hands and hips are firing through the zone, which inhibits proper weight transfer.

Fluid/smooth swing - Hitter's swing is graceful and effortless.
Hits in part - Hitter is mechanical and needs to smooth out various hitting mechanics.

INFIELD (INF = Infield)
Good actions - Refers to player's smooth movements when fielding ground ball. Usually a polished player.
Not ready/stiff - Player is tentative or somewhat unsure of himself on approach and footwork.

Good Body control - Ability to slide feet on lateral movements and field ball off balance on slow rollers. Player with good body control can shift body on a dime and usually has quick hands and feet.
Poor Body control - Player has trouble gathering himself on routine balls, struggles to throw off balance on slow rollers, and has trouble moving feet on lateral movements.

Fields out in front - INF fields ball out in front of body so he can watch ball into glove.
Fields ball to close to body - INF fields ball with glove too close to body. Difficult to see ball into glove.

Flows through the ball - (Most important for shortstops) - Round ball slightly to get momentum toward first base and keep feet moving when fielding the ball. You then gather body and throw to first base.
Fields ball on heels - INF fields ball with weight on heels (falling slightly backward)

Glove open and ready - INF takes glove directly to the ball with open glove.
Flips glove late - When INF is approaching ground ball, glove is not open. INF then flips wrist and glove late at the ball.

Catches ball slightly left of center - INF catches GB slightly left of center to help speed up release and keep ball in front.
Catches ball off of right side - This causes weight to be on heels and loses momentum toward first base. This can also allow for bad hop GB to get by INF, instead of keeping it in front.

Has great feet - This means INF can move feet quickly and react to GB. Usually has good first step.
Work on feet - INF feet are heavy and he has trouble moving them quickly to get the best hop.

Feeds are smooth and in one motion - When an INF delivers the ball to 2nd base on a double play, he is delivering the ball quickly, accurately, and with no wasted motion.
Needs to work on feeds - INF stands up after fielding ball or delivers the ball too hard or too soft to 2nd base. Needs better rhythm and mechanics on feeds.

OUTFIELD (OF = Outfield)
Gets good jumps - OF does a good job of reading the ball of the bat and anticipating location of ball.
Slow to react - OF has trouble reading ball off the bat and picking up location.

Tracks fly balls well - OF takes appropriate angles to fly balls.
Drifts/backpedals - OF does not sprint to the ball, but runs about half speed or so, trying to time flight of ball - instead of getting to the spot and "waiting" for the ball.

Runs on balls of feet - OF runs with weight closer to his toes.
Runs on his heels - OF runs with weight closer to back of foot causing fly ball to "jump around" in air.

Gets behind fly balls well - OF gets his body behind the fly ball before he catches it so he can run through the fly ball and gain momentum for throw.
Get body in better position on fly balls - OF catches fly ball flat footed with no momentum.

Catches ball on throwing side - OF catches ball on arm side with two hands for quicker release.
Catches ball on glove side - OF catches ball on glove side, taking more time to release the ball.

Comes through ground balls well - OF fields GB off of left foot if right handed, right foot if left handed, with momentum toward home plate. This approach is taken with men on base.
Fields ball like INF - OF fields ball with two hands in front of him when he should be fielding ball off to the side to gain momentum for throw.

Crow-hop - OF fields ball and then takes a hop to gain momentum (also called a bicycle).
Flat-footed throw - OF's feet are stationary and weight is usually on heels.

Stays square to target - OF steps in the direction that he is throwing, lining up feet and front shoulder with target.
Opens early/across body - OF opens front shoulder early (shoulder is not pointed at target) or steps across his body (cuts himself off). In either case OF loses velocity and carry on throws.

Good OF arm action - Generally OFs throw ball with longer arm arc to gain more velocity and carry on throws.
Short arms throws from OF - Delivers throws with short INF type arm arc. Can sometimes hurt carry on throws depending upon players body type and mechanics.

CATCHING (C = Catcher)
Comes out of the chute well - Keeps body flexed and knees bent when delivering throw to 2nd base.
Stands straight up - Catcher loses valuable time by standing straight up before throwing ball to 2nd base.

Good footwork - C shows the ability to put feet in correct path toward 2nd base. Usually refers to quick feet as well.
Needs to work on footwork - C either is slow with feet, steps across his body, or opens feet early, where he never gets feet square with 2nd base.

Good arm action - C shows nice short arm arc from ear. This helps with quick release.
Long arm action - C winds up and has long arm action, more like an OF or Pitcher.

Quick release - C is able to "pop" feet quickly as well as take ball quickly out of glove.
Work on exchange/release - C needs to work on glove to hand exchange.

Presents ball well/frames - C uses soft hands and catches ball out in front with proper glove angle to win strikes for his pitcher.
Overframes/snatches ball - C is demonstrative instead of smooth and soft.

Blocks off daylight - C is able to block off the open area between his legs with ball in the dirt.
Needs to lead with glove - When blocking, catcher needs to lead with glove and block off daylight.

PITCHING (P = Pitching)
Good, controlled leg lift - Before P gets to balance point, he lifts leg in a controlled manner.
Violent leg lift - P picks up front leg in a "jerky" manner.

Gathers well at balance point - P has slight pause after leg is lifted and gains balance before delivering the ball to home plate. This keeps body behind ball and maximizes velocity and control.
Rushes to the plate - P never achieves balance in delivery. This can cause a variety of problems since arm has to catch up with body.

Stays tall and falls - P maintains his height in his delivery and throws down at the hitter.
Drops and Drives - P bends back leg dramatically before delivering ball to the plate.

Drives directly toward target - P steps in straight line toward home plate to maximize velocity and control.
Rotational/opens early/or across body - P steps open with lead leg or steps across his body cutting himself off. In either case, P may struggle with command and can lose some velocity.

Loose arm/free and easy - P arm is able to go the full arm arc in an effortless manner. P has good flexibility creating "whip" in arm.
Stiff - P arm needs to gain more elasticity to create more arm speed.

Effortless - P arm works easy. Minimum effort when delivering the ball.
Max effort - P arm and body are working as hard as they can to deliver baseball. Usually P who are max effort are those pitchers that could possibly put tremendous amounts of stress on their body.

Good plane - Pitcher maintains good downward plane when delivering the ball.
Throws uphill - P drops back shoulder causing front shoulder to be elevated.

Gets out over front leg - P brings back leg around (the leg toeing the rubber) to maximize follow through.
Doesn't bend back - P doesn't fully bend back and follow through. This can cause pitches to be up in the zone.

Fastball has boring action - Fastball has good arm side movement. A right-handed pitcher with good boring action, his FB will run inside to a right-handed hitter.
Fastball is straight - Ball is thrown to the plate with no movement.

Fastball has late life - When FB gets to about 70% of the way to the catcher, the ball appears to take off and pick up a little extra speed and sometimes movement.
Fastball is flat - No movement on FB.

12 to 6 curveball - CB breaks straight down like the numbers 12 and 6 on the clock.
Curve is flat/get on top of CB - CB lacks break, P needs to have hand on top of the ball, not on the side.

Maintains his arm speed on Change-up - P chokes ball in his hand, but otherwise uses same mechanics as FB to create deception to the hitter.
Slows arm and body on change-up - P slows his arm and body down letting everyone in the ballpark, including the hitter, know that he is throwing a change-up.


Knows how to play - Player has baseball savvy and is polished.

Gets after it - Player is aggressive and plays the game hard.

Tools - There are five major tools in baseball: arm strength, footspeed, fielding ability, hitting ability and hitting for power.

Blue-Collar type player - Player might not have the best "tools," but plays the game hard and will do anything to help his team.

Spark-Plug type player - Usually a smaller sized player who plays with lots of energy and emotion. Player might also be referred to as a "Pepper Pot."

Good bat control - The ability of to hit the ball where it is pitched, and move runners along in certain situations.