TAMPA - So the kid plays multiple sports...so what?
So the kid is QB on the football team...how does that mean he's any good at BASEBALL?
People are often-times confused as to how multi-sport athletes get all of the love from scouts. Well one recent e-mail from a parent inspired me to share a classic example of why multi-sport athletes are so coveted.
I think it's important to start by defining an athlete from a scout's perspective. The first premise is just because someone plays sports, doesn't make them athletic. An extreme example of this is professional bowlers. Tough to classify some of those beer guts as athletes. Let's take this concept to the diamond. Pitchers tend to be some of the most unathletic guys on the field (think David Wells, Bartolo Colon, and my personal favorite Ray King). If those guys had to run a 60, get tested for vertical jump, or go play another sport like basketball....how do you think they'd fare? Those guys were born to be pitcher's, and if they had to do anything else, I don't think it would be pretty.
While hitting a 90mph fastball is possibly the toughest thing to do in all of sports, some position players are unathletic. They just have real good hand eye coordination, quick bats, and/or power. Scouts would prefer to have guys that are athletic and the game comes easy to them because they are able to adjust athletically to anything that happens on the field.
Why? Because as you climb the pro ball ladder and begin in rookie ball, low A, high A, double A, triple A, and Big Leagues - the game gets tougher. Athletes can adjust quicker - if at all - as the levels get more difficult. Athletes can make plays that you didn't project them to make. Athletes can do things that put people in the seats.
A good example of this is Texas Catcher/Quarterback and 2011 grad Wayne Taylor.
After missing the first 4 weeks of the season due to injury, the Houston-Memorial catcher (Stanford signee) has played in 9 games and has had a homerun in each of those 9 games. Since returning from injury, he is 16 for 31 with 9 HRs, 4 doubles, and 3 singles. Avg. .516, Slugging 1.452. He is among the South Texas HR leaders even though he missed 18 games.
Defensively, he has thrown out 4 of 5 attempted base stealers at 2nd base, and he’s picked off 2 runners at 1st base.
But scouts are perhaps even more dazzled by his football recruiting video of him playing quarterback. You can view that video here on Youtube.
Let's break down this video, and show 7 reasons why Taylor's football video has scouts just as excited as his baseball performance:
1. First of all, when you compare him to other muscular football players in this video, he still looks like a man-child.
2. He displays strength that you can't see on the baseball field when he runs through and over would-be tacklers.
3. He displays good ability to change direction and accelerate. If he was an outfielder, and misjudged a flyball, he shows he has the ability to start, stop, and start again quickly.
4. He runs a read/option offense where he has to make quick decisions based on a read of a defensive end crashing. You think he'd be able to make good decisions of what to do with the baseball on defense in the heat of a 1-run baseball game?
5. He had an idea of where the goalline was in the first minute of the video, and ran over a defender to get there. This tells me he is willing to sacrifice his body to win. He'll take a hit by pitch to get on base, and he will dive and get his uniform dirty to keep a ball in the infield.
6. Being a quarterback takes leadership, focus, and ability to perform when all sets of eyes are on you. Sounds a lot like pitching or hitting.
7. The video highlights him making a key audible, changing the play and turning it into 6 points. Simple ability to read defenses means he may have the presence of mind on the baseball field to read the defensive alignment and drop a bunt, or use the whole field offensively.
There are plenty of other things to take away from this video, but you can see a glimpse as to why a multi-sport athlete is coveted by scouts and colleges. Wayne Taylor is a classic example of how watching someone else play another sport can help you project what they can do on the diamond.