How We Grade Junior College Baseball Prospects
In order to evaluate and categorize hundreds of junior college baseball players every year, we’ve produced a grading component that serves to rank JuCo prospects into a hierarchy based on current tools and future value. Broadly similar to professional baseball’s 20-80 scale, we refer to our grading system as Overall Future Potential, or OFP.
Every single JuCo prospect scouting report we publish on this website includes game video, scouting notes, and a numerical OFP rating between 0.00 and 5.00 (mid-point grades allowed; higher is better) that attempts to quantify each player’s skills and value relative to the rest of the JuCo prospects available. This, in turn, makes it easier for coaches to separate players by talent level, and quickly determine which prospects are worth pursuing with more resources or urgency.
Of course, scouting each player is far more nuanced than reducing his entire baseball future to a single number, and so our individual reports on each prospect are as specific as they can be. And, our scouting territory is purposely limited to southern California, too, in order to get as many looks as possible at a large group of players, in order to provide by far the most detailed, up-to-date evaluations for our college coach and MLB scout clients who need to know they are getting it right when evaluating prospects to play at the next level.
The OFP Grading Process
Scouting reports and tool grades are derived from our year-round observation at games, practices, and workouts, and further supplemented by conversations with coaches, extensive video review, and accumulation of various in-game notes and data points. These grades are our attempt to quantify how valuable a player might be in the future, whether as a four-year program contributor or a pro prospect. Objective, measurable data points like those found in the table below play a role in determining a player’s OFP grade — as you can see here with fastball velocity for pitchers, foot speed for position players, and catcher pop times on throws down to second base.
OFP Grade TableOur grading scale to determine Overall Future Potential (OFP) grades for junior college baseball prospects includes these measurable data points that can be lifted from in-game action and practices/workouts in order to help objectively analyze a player's skill set.
|OFP Grade||Called||Fastball||RHH to 1B||LHH to 1B||Pop Time||Value||Level||Risk|
|5.00||Elite||91 mph||4.10 sec||4.00 sec||1.96 sec||Elite|
|0.50||82||4.55||4.45||2.14||Depth||4th Tier||Very High|
Clearly, the numbers in that table alone will never come close to telling the entire story of a prospect’s ability and likely future value, though, so a full OFP grade takes into account five distinct categories, each individually graded out and analyzed for every player in our database. Each category is scored on its own 0.00 – 5.00 OFP scale for each prospect based on our in-person scouting work and observation. The final OFP grade comes from an equally-weighted average of the categories taken together along with the context of a player’s intangibles, which produces a fairly all-encompassing estimation of exactly where a player fits as a potential prospect for four-year programs and/or the MLB Draft.
For pitchers, the graded categories are: Velocity, Arsenal (Repertoire), Command (Control), Delivery (Mechanics), and Execution. For position players, those graded tools include: Hit, Power, Field, Throw, and Run.
With the scores of each of those categories taken together, weighted and averaged, the resulting number is a prospect’s OFP grade — our best broad estimation about the player’s current ability and future value based on all the scouting information available to us at the time. We purposely see players multiple times before writing them up and publishing their scouting reports here, too, so as to be certain about their abilities over a larger time-frame than just a one-time look that could ultimately skew one way or the other if a player is having a particularly good/bad day.
Obviously, we don’t suggest college coaches and MLB scouts recruit players off OFP grades alone; as is the case with scouting in general, the system itself is imperfect and based on (highly educated) estimates and guesses. We strongly recommend you read our detailed scouting reports, watch the game videos we produce, consult directly with us for more insight, reach out to the prospect’s coaching staff for behind-the-scenes information, and do all the rest of the due diligence you otherwise would with any prospect.
But OFP grades can and should be used in a similar way to how you’d use pro ball’s 20-80 scale — as a distilled estimation of value from which to separate players into broad categories, rather than a detailed, be-all and end-all final determination about each prospect. More than anything, OFP is a necessary over-simplification of talent level that represents a jumping-off point for recruiters, scouts, and evaluators to broadly quantify and organize prospects into class by quality. To that end, we believe it greatly simplifies the way in which scouts and recruiting coordinators can look through our database and track prospects.