Due to all the camps and showcases in the country and with the Major League Scouting Bureau dissolved, Major League Baseball teams hold a limited the number of professional tryouts. Only a handful of teams still hold open tryouts, usually during the summer and after the annual draft. Scouts conduct a “pro-style” workout defined below; remember, these tryouts are held after the draft for a reason… what can you do for me know… not for instruction, not for a future look, but now! Remember, Scouts are looking for the five tools of baseball.Most Area Scouts will have invitee only tryouts, just to get additional or missing information and data on potential draft picks or free agents.
NOTE: If you play for an American Legion baseball team, you need to have the commander sign a relief form prior to participating. Also, if you are an independent league, contracted (professional), baseball player, you are not allowed to participate in any Major League Baseball tryout.
Get to the park early but not necessarily too early. Nothing happens until everyone is signed in and usually they don’t begin sign in until the exact start time (being there early is always a good idea). Tryouts usually begin at 9am so getting to the park around 8:45 would be ideal.
You have to pick one position for tryout; yes, only one. Everyone gets into a big single file line and they hand you a small index card that you fill out. Things to fill out on the card are fields like name, year of graduation, age, contact info, contacts/glasses, and high school, college, city and state; nothing you don’t know off the top of your head. On each card is a number, usually identified by position and that is your identity for the rest of the tryout so remember it. Most tryouts also have liability releases that you can print off before the tryout to make everything go quicker. After everyone is signed-in, stretch in place until everyone is directed to a designated bleacher or sitting area for the brief and rundown for the day.
Pitchers do not do much and will watch position players’ sprints and fielding. This can take hours depending on the size of the tryout, so sit back and relax. There is no need to start throwing or stretching or running yet. Realistically you're going to be sitting around for hours. When your number is up you will have 12-16 pitches to show off your velocity, ball movement and types of pitches.
60 YARD DASH
First up for position players is the 60 yard dash. Before you start, you'll be given about five minutes to stretch and run a couple sprints. Again, your order will be based upon the number you were given during registration, so if you're one of the higher numbers don't tire yourself out. Each player will run two sprints and will run with a partner, but timed separately so don't despair if you fall behind. You are allowed to start in any position so get in your fastest stance.
A good time is anything below 6.7 seconds. If the tryout is very full sometimes the scout will cut people based on their 60 times. An example would be "everyone who ran slower than 7.0 can go home". Catchers are immune to this cut so that they stick around and catch pitchers. After you run, get some water and relax; get prepared for the next part of the tryout.
After everyone has finished their 60 yard sprints, the next step is to work outfielders. If you are an outfielder you will be given time to warm up your arms. If you are not an outfielder you may rest until the outfielders are almost done, then warm up your arms. Outfielders will line up in right field according to their numbers. Each player will receive a mixture of 3 to 5 grounders/fly balls and will throw them to home plate. First baseman will sometimes be asked to act as cut off, but told not to cut-off any throws. You may also be told to throw the last one to third base from right field. The goal is to show your arm strength, so let air it out! After you finish, relax, it is now time for infielders.
After the outfielders and you have been given time to warm up your arms, all infielders besides first basemen will line up between 3rd base and short stop. First baseman will line up at first.
In order of number, each infielder will receive between three to five ground balls, which they will field and throw to first. This will happen rapid fire so you only go through the line once. Scouts are looking at a variety of things but arm strength and quick hands and feet are the main points. Good setup and follow through with your throws. After all the non-first basemen have gone, the first basemen will receive between three to five ground balls which they will throw to 3rd base. This will happen rapid fire so you only go through the line once. After everyone's gone, middle infielders will go to second base to receive throws from catchers.
After infield, catchers will gather around home plate. In order of number, each catcher will be thrown a ball and they will throw out a pretend runner at second base. Time is recorded from the time the ball hits the catcher's mitt to the time the ball hits infielders mitt at second, glove to glove. This is your pop time, each catcher will go through the line about three times or will be given three to five throws rapid fire depending on the preference of the tryout. You may also be asked to show off your foot work with throws to third from inside and outside the plate. After you throw, get some water and get ready for batting practice.
After all the defense, the scout will bring you together and let you know what is next (batting practice). If the tryout is large he may only call out the numbers of players who are going to hit batting practice. If your number is not called you can go home. There is an order as to who hits. Catchers go first, according to their numbers. After catchers, each position or position group will be called and will hit in order of their numbers. When you are not hitting, you will be in the outfield shagging balls. Catchers, after you hit you will be told to gear up and catch bullpens.
Pitchers will throw bullpens in order of their number. So know your number and what number is currently throwing a bullpen to know when you should start getting loose. You will then play catch with either a catcher or just another pitcher. You should be hot when it is your turn to throw a bullpen, but time it so you are not already spent.
When it is your time to throw a bullpen, you will get on the mound and usually only get about 15 pitches, so make it count. Throw hard while staying true to your mechanics, but truth is if you light up the gun that will garner a lot of attention. The scout recording your pitch speeds may be the one who calls your pitches. In this case, you will usually throw six fastballs, three change ups, three breaking balls, then asked if you have anything else, then you will finish with two good fastballs.
Once you are done with your bullpen, you will again sit around waiting for everyone to finish. Even if you light up the gun and your breaking stuff falls off the plate, no scout is going to talk to you on the field, but you may want to hang out around the parking lot until everyone leaves; they have your contact information!
THE END OR SCRIMMAGE
Once the tryout is complete, the scouts will bring everyone together and depending on the tryout, this will either be the end or there will be a scrimmage. If there is a scrimmage, a scout will announce by number who has been invited to stay and play in the scrimmage; everyone else is released to go home.
If you made it to the scrimmage you will be told when you will pitch or where you will play and hit in the game. If you are starting they will give you plenty of heads up in terms of time.
Pitchers make sure you are ready to go when it is your time to pitch. Most pitchers only get an inning of work or three batters. Throw hard and stay true to your mechanics; the hitters you are throwing against are eager to show the scouts they can hit rather than walk, so you can get swinging K’s with stuff off the plate.
Position players make sure you are ready to play the game of baseball. Attack every ball you can get to on defense. On offense, keep in mind that pitchers are going to try to light up the radar gun so you can capitalize on waiting for a fastball down the middle. Pitchers will be a little wild but remember that your trying out your hitting ability, so patience is not necessarily a virtue.
They may give you the opportunity to leave once you’re done, but you should stick around for the simple fact that leaving early looks bad. After the scrimmage, everyone will be brought together again, thanked, and released. Nobody is offered a contract at a tryout so do not feel you are left empty handed. The goal of the tryout is to record names in the system with a scouting report. If they liked you and want to sign you, you may get a call later in the week. Most farm system are full and cannot sign you, but if they have your name and liked you, they may call you when someone gets hurt or released.