As I stated in my introduction thread I had attended a mlb club tryout and was attending another for another club today.
The first tryout I went to was pretty large with about 60 pitchers total and overall involved a lot of sitting around waiting for our turns to go out and warm up. They only allowed a certain number to warm up in order to save space for the infielder\outfielder drills. They ran two pitchers side by side in the bullpen with one being scouted while the other was warming up more. I was pretty nervous but felt great physically and was really amazed at how comfortable I felt throwing. Unfortunately I topped out at 85mph 80 changeup and 79 curve, which wasn’t enough to get a call back, only a couple guys even topped 90mph, one kid even threw one at 91mph that would have laid out any batter and he got his number called for day two, so basically if you can throw 90+ your location isn’t top priority. Interaction with the scout was minimal, once pitchers were done with their pitching he told them the velocity on their pitches which ranged from 8-12. Pitchers were only allowed to tryout for one position, weren’t timed in running and didn’t hit. One plus side to the sitting around was the opportunity to talk to other players. This is how I found out about the 2nd tryout I attended, which wasn’t publicized very much and I was only able to find the location to because of the local newspaper where the tryout was being held (the middle of nowhere).
Since I didn’t get a callback for the game portions of the tryout on the second day I figured that since I only threw about 10 pitches there wouldn’t be any harm in going to the other tryout. I had to get up around 5am to drive approx 2 hours. A bit of a trek since the last one was 20 mins down the road. This tryout did not bring out as many players as the last one, probably due to the low press about it. In total there were only 15 players for all positions. Despite the low turn out I had an absolute blast. The scouts were really laid back and took the time to talk to players before going over the paperwork to start the tryout. I took, by far, way more away from this tryout than I did the first one. My nerves were less of a problem since I had just been under the gun the day before. I focused more on my mechanics and trying not to overthrow it and hit more strikes this time. My velocity took a bit of a decline, only hitting 83 on my fastball, 76 changeup and 71 curve. However, my location was spot on, only throwing a couple balls out of 20 pitches. Unlike the other camp, which had one scout evaluating, this one used all 4 in attendance to focus on different criteria on the pitchers. Since there were such a low number pitchers also ran 60 yrd dash and even got to hit. The scouts also let players tryout for as many positions as they wanted, each position getting just as many scout eyes on them as the other. The scouts were very encouraging and after pitching I spoke to one about where I was from and what kind of pitching situations I was use to (ie starting, relief, closing). One negative(though also positive) thing the scout said to me though was, after inquiring if i had just graduated high school, I responded, no I just graduated college. To which he replied “too bad, if you were in high school\just out of high school, i’d be signing you”. Though it’s a tough thing to hear, my age (22) is going to start holding me back more and more if i don’t start putting up bigger velocity numbers, without a doubt age is the one number that goes up every year no matter what. However, this boosted my confidence a little as well because it means I have something worth noticing and could be worked into something bigger and better; and if I can work at it more I’ll be able to throw closer to what scouts want to see out of somebody my age. But I still feel pretty good for somebody who after a 4 year hiatus picked up a ball and glove, threw for about a month and still showed potential to a scout.
One of the other scouts was helpful in bringing a mechanical error to my attention I would make every so often by arching my back too much causing me to release the ball up higher and throwing over the strikezone.
Overall it was a great experience and I would encourage other people interested in tryouts to dig around as much as possible and maybe get up a couple hours earlier than usual so you can make it to those tryouts that aren’t in heavily populated areas. If the turn outs are small you have a better chance of getting one on one time and advice from the scouts as well as trying out at other positions, since we all have off days at what we think we’re best at.