Professional baseball scouts evaluate players on a 20-80 scale on the 5 tools of baseball - hit, hit for power, throw, run and field. When MLB evaluators give a player a rating, it is based on how that particular player's tools compare to current MLB players.
At Hard 90 Baseball, we have worked with our team of advisors that include professionals from Stanford Baseball, Rocklin High School, and the Los Angeles Dodgers to develop objective and quantitative measurements to assess each one of the 5 tools. The good news is that you can train each of the tools and see how you progress over time.
The Hit Tool
The elements to the hit tool include hitting the ball hard, making contact often, hitting the ball on a line and using all fields. The results a player will see with a good hit tool are a high batting average and a low strike out to plate appearance ratio.
While it is no secret that common trainable elements to the hit tool include - approach, mechanics and timing, many miss one of the top elements that affect the hit tool: vision. Red Sox, ophthalmology consultant Daniel Laby, has been quoted as saying that the average MLB player's "vision measures around 20-12 or has been corrected to 20-12." As famed pitcher Walter Johnson once said - "you cannot hit what you cannot see."
At Hard 90, we have developed a core curriculum that emphasizes a situational approach to hitting, mechanics to meet individuals body type and athleticism, and triggers to maximize a players ability to be on time. That said, we also believe that vision is extremely important. We recommend that our top players have their vision checked and enlist the help of software applications to train and improve their vision.
The Hit for Power Tool
The elements of hitting for power include hitting the ball hard and hitting it a great distance. The results a player will see with a good hit for power tool include a high number of extra base hits.
Like in the hit tool, the trainable elements in the hit for power tool include approach, mechanics and timing. Additional trainable elements in the hit for power tool include batted ball exit speed and launch angle.
At Hard 90 Baseball, we use a state of the art technology called The HitTrax to measure both batted ball exit speed and launch angle. The team at Hard 90 Baseball has developed an approach, mechanics and drills to train for optimal batted ball exit speed and launch angles.
The Throw Tool
The throw tool is the strength of your arm - how hard you throw the baseball. The measurement for this tool is throwing velocity from either the pitcher's mound or from the player's position.
The trainable elements in the throw tool include mechanics and strength. Hard 90 has developed an approach to mechanics and drills to maximize arm strength and health. These drills include the Jaeger Banding and the Driveline Program.
The Run Tool
The run tool is the speed of the player. The two most commons measures of speed are the 60 yard dash (the distance from 2nd base to home plate) and the 30 yard dash (the distance from home plate to 1st base.)
They say the way to run fast is to practice running fast. Hard 90 has worked with strength and conditioning coaches to develop stretching and running drills to increase overall speed.
The Field Tool
The field tool is how well a particular player plays the field. The number one indicator of the field tool is athleticism. This encompasses a players ability to get to a baseball on the field and that hand eye coordination and body awareness to field the ball cleanly.
The number one measure of athleticism is vertical jump. In addition to the vertical jump, the 5-10-5 shuttle is also a good measure of the field tool.
In addition to traditional baseball drills that include posture, footwork and fielding, Hard 90 Baseball has worked with strength and conditioning trainers to develop drills that improve both the vertical and the 5-10-5 shuttle.
It is very important for athletes that aspire to play baseball at the highest possible level that they train and develop all 5 of the baseball tools (with the exception of pitcher only). As we have found through our research, the higher level of baseball yields the higher level of athlete that sets a very high bar for each tool. As we have proven since our founding in 2005, you can develop and specifically train each one of the 5 tools.
The 6th tool - which encompasses Baseball IQ, approach to the game and mental makeup is also very important to performing at a high level.