Monday, February 9, 2009

Five Tools (DL Style)

Baseball season is close...kind of. Pitchers and catchers report soon, though, to the numerous spring training facilities across the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues, so what better time to talk prospect evaluation? Ah, spring is it...

Prospects are evaluated on a five tool system with a 20-80 scale. For the couple of you who read this who do not know the five tools, they are:

  • hitting for average
  • hitting for power
  • foot speed
  • glove
  • arm strength.

As for the 20-80 scale a guy who has a crappy arm (Juan Pierre) is nearer 20, and a guy who has a hose (Vladimir Guerrero) is up toward the 80 range. There are also the intangibles (coachability, leadership, etc.) which all play into organizational decisions along the way.

These aren't the kinds of prospects I'm talking about, though.

This is about the five tools I look for in females. With equivalents drawn, they look something like this:
  • hitting for average = face
  • hitting for power = body
  • foot speed = sense of humor
  • glove = intelligence
  • arm strength = general personality
Face and body and self-explanatory physical traits. Sense of humor is essentially whether she takes herself too seriously or she can relax and laugh at herself. Also she will be a gigantic failure in this category if she can't handle getting ragged a little. Don't get butt hurt. Just get even, and be savvy about it. I will.

Intelligence is also fairly self-explanatory, but I do believe in the concept of multiple intelligences and therefore, hers have to measure up at least somewhat favorably with mine. (If they don't, it doesn't necessarily mean she's stupid. It could just mean we're incompatible. could be that she's stupid...anywayyyyyyy....) General personality is the kind of catch-all last category.

First of all, the physical traits: face and body. Much like in baseball scouting, the first impression someone gets is the physical appearance test. Right, wrong or indifferent, this is the truth. With a female prospect, there has to be a baseline level of attractiveness, or the evaluation goes no further. Different guys see different things, but there has to be something in that first look. I'm big on face...gotta be a .300 hitter, which, in fairness, is not THAT difficult. Please note, that foot speed can help the average. If she has a sense of humor, she probably smiles a lot, which adds points.

Body-wise, I don't need a great deal, but I do need to see some power potential. I don't mean she has to show me 30+ bombs kind of power potential, but I have to know she can gap some doubles for me. Again, I do not feel this is unreasonable at all.

Now that we've taken care of the baseline analysis, it's time to start evaluating the differentiators.

The first is foot speed. Part of the sense of humor requirement I have is a quick wit. I need someone who is able to be a smartass to me. Plain and simple. I'm not brutal, cutting and evil with my ragging, but I'm the kind of person who will call others out on dumb things they do and expect them to do the same to me. I don't want or need to be coddled at all times. I will never (again) be involved with a girl who does.

Next is the glove. I liken intelligence to defense, because like my glove in my playing days, intelligence is probably my best tool and is certainly the one I lean on the most. Thus, it's easily paramount in my mind, but it's not always as readily obvious as the others. It does tie closely to foot speed, as part of it is being quick enough to cover ground (or witty enough fire back at me with a counterpoint). This is absolutely crucial. Once I'm to the point of looking critically at this, I have to see it quickly, or it's game over.

Rounding out the tools evaluation is arm strength, or catch-all category I called general personality. Obviously, this is another one that ties closely to defense. The kinds of characteristics I look for here are, primarily, the interpersonal skills. She doesn't have to be out running for office and chatting up anyone and everyone, but there has to be some extroversion. Additionally (and this should really go without saying), she has to care about herself and about others, while balancing the two. This category is really important, since it's about authenticity. I really don't believe this can be least not for an extended period of time.

There you have the tools evaluation with each of these on the 20-80 scale. (Why the scale is 20-80, I don't know, but it is.) Just when you thought the evaluation process was over, there are the more qualitative intangibles to consider. Basically, these are the little extra traits that separate great prospects from future franchise players.

For me, a big one is drive. This is the competitive nature that pushes people to be the best. I don't necessarily care what she's the best at, but there has to be some passion and some fire.

Another is adaptability. A lot of brilliant people plan down to the most minute details, but reality has demonstrated time and time again, that best made plans don't always go off without a hitch, and we all need to have the ability to call the audible and get through it.

Finally, (as with any scouting process in any sport/context) there is gut feeling, which starts at the first impression and builds as I go through this eval process. My own quick and dirty litmus test is whether or not I want to envision any kind of a future.

So there it is. The evaluation process. Right, wrong or indifferent, this is how I make determinations. Feedback welcome.


  1. *applause* Bravo. Bravo. That's the best comparison for the 5 tools I've ever heard. Simply put, genius.

  2. I'm that guy--very lucky. Your Mom is a 5-tool player and I love her for it!

  3. that's why you franchise tagged her a few decades ago.....DOOOOOOOOODE