Every ball player wants a chance to be evaluated as a potential Major League Baseball player. It is a chance to chase a dream and the opportunity to put yourself out there hoping for the best.
The problem is the odds of becoming a Major League Baseball player is 1 out of 290,000. That is like winning the lottery. I am the last guy who wants to shoot down someones dream, especially someones dream to play Major League Baseball, because I had the same dream. Unfortunately, I didn't make it to the MLB but some of my friends did and I at least had the opportunity to play professional minor league baseball. This means I beat the odds of playing professional baseball which is 1 out of 3,700. Not as impressive as the MLB but still an amazing experience that changed my life forever.
What to expect at a MLB tryout!
If you are planning to attend a MLB Scouting Bureau tryout then you need an idea of what is expected of you. When you arrive at the tryout you will need to check in. Arrival times are usually early in the morning and it is good to be a little early. When you check in you will be asked to fill in a questionnaire. The information they will be requesting is basic contact information, what schools have you played for, have you been drafted before and if you are under the age of 18 you will need a legal guardian to sign for you. There is a number at the top of the sign up form that is your identity for the rest of the tryout. Do not forget your number. The scouts hate it when someone forgets their number.
After everyone has checked in you will then be asked to meet on the field and organized into lines based on position. YOU CAN ONLY TRYOUT FOR ONE POSITION. Do not ask if you can tryout for two or more positions. Once you are put into your lines based on your position you must remember your position in the line. This is the order you will tryout in for your position.
The first event of the tryout will be the 60 yard dash. This is for all positions except pitchers. Pitchers will not run the 60 yard dash. Pitchers will wait on the side while all positions run the 60 yard dash.
Two players at a time will be timed in the 60 yard dash. It goes pretty quick so make sure you are paying attention when your number is called. Do not ask for your times after you run. You can ask for them after the tryout is over. If you have a good time you may be asked to run again at the end of the event.
After the 60 yard dash is finished, this is when the pitchers will pitch off of the mound in the bullpen. You will be put into lines to warm up before entering the bullpen. You must be warm before entering the pen. They will clock your velocity on the first pitch and remember that first pitch is critical to your success in the tryout. You should get about 6-8 pitches and make sure every pitch is 100%. They will ask you to throw some off speed pitches at the end if they want to see it. The worst thing you can do is not be ready!
After your 6-8 pitches in the bullpen the pitchers are done until cuts are made for the simulated game in the afternoon. Find a comfortable place to sit and stay out of the sun.
While the pitchers were throwing in the pen the position players are hitting in the cages. They are looking for bat speed. You will not get many pitches to show your skills so make sure you are ready right out of the gate.
After hitting in the cages all position players will go to their position. They will start from the outfield and work into the infield evaluating your arm speed and quickness. Once again you will not get many throws so take advantage of what you get.
Once all players have been given their opportunities to show their talents the scouts will make their cuts. They will have you all meet together and give you a speech about how it is getting close to the end of the road in your career and you all have some decisions to make, blah blah blah. Then they will call out the names of those who they would like to see perform in the simulated game in the afternoon. If you do not make it, don't worry, because the odds of making it out of a Scouting Bureau tryout is poor. Just continue to attend any tryout you can find. I would also recommend independent minor league tryouts. If you do make the tryout then get some lunch and get ready to sit around again.
The simulated game is exactly that. Pitchers will pitch two or three batters and position players will face the pitchers and play the field. They are mainly looking at the pitcher and hitter at this point. They want to see how the pitchers perform against live hitting and vice versa. Pitchers make sure that your velocity is up and your location is on point. They are still recording your velocity and they want to see how effective your pitches are with the hitters.
The simulated game is your opportunity to show them more of what you can do. If you perform well they will stay in contact with you and if you perform poor they may not. It is really a crap shoot and if you are going to make it somewhere it will be determined on how well you persist. Just like I said to the guys who will not make the first cut, don't give up if you really want to play professional ball. I believe if you don't give up, something is bound to happen. Search the web and this site for more tryouts. Remember if it doesn't work out there is always next season.