How Scouting Pitchers is Like Baking Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies are filled. Not only with sugar, but with deeper meaning and moral. (Photo courtesy of Parchment.com) - Parchment.com

A look at the parallels between baking a classic type of cookie and scouting pitchers in the modern age.

People have been scouting pitchers and baking chocolate chip cookies for ages. In both fields, plenty of beliefs and values have changed, but both have the basic structures. The basic structure for scouting pitchers is the 20-80 scale and the thought process of grading them based on their physical appearance, their character off the field, their repertoire, their work ethic and potential, their command and control, as well as a few other essential ways to view the athlete. As for baking chocolate chip cookies, the basic structure has never varied from flour, butter, sugar, and chocolate chips. However, in both of these arts, the way the scout or chef sets themselves apart is not found in the basic structure, but in the individuality that follows.

First of all, there are so many different approaches to scouting pitchers. Just like baking cookies, everyone has a different way of scouting pitchers. The Marlins scouting department wants the same thing in pitchers that the Mets want: pitchers that will contribute to their Major League team and help lead them to the ultimate goal, a World Series. Similarly in baking cookies, all chefs, whether amateur or professional, want the pretty much same outcome: a delicious chocolate chip cookie that surpasses any other cookie the consumer has ever tasted. In both of these spheres, all scouts and chefs have to do things their own way in order to separate themselves for others.

For scouts to separate themselves from other scouts and be the best they can be, they need to be very opinionated and have their own special ways of doing things. Whether this be from carrying a different radar gun or placing more or less value on the pitcher's character off of the field, the way scouts value different aspects of pitchers always differs. In the past couple years, the Marlins scouting department has shown how they have value size in pitchers, based on some tendencies in recent drafts. Since 2008, only one Marlins pitcher drafted in the first or second round has been under 6'1. It's hard to grasp the distinctiveness of pitching scouts without talking to them in person, but tendencies in players they like can sometimes show how they value different aspects of athletes. Now, by bringing in scouting minds Mike Berger and Jeff McAvoy this offseason, the Marlins draft and scouting tendencies regarding pitchers will likely change. Just like baking, top minds such as Berger and McAvoy or star dessert Chef Roy Shvartzapel can influence their subservient scouts or amateur chefs.

I'm not much of a chef myself, but I know that baking chocolate chip cookies can be done in many different fashions, just like scouting pitchers. For instance, some chefs like to add ingredients such as caramel or nutmeg to their cookies and there is much variation as to how much of each ingredient they chef adds to the mix. If the reader could get anything out of this article, I would hope it would be a deeper appreciation for the art of scouting pitchers and the individualism found in this field, which is similar to baking, an art form.

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