College baseball scouting a rough business

Matthew Clark

The life of a college baseball scout can be very difficult.

Constant travel, fast food, living out of a suitcase, and then there is the daily evaluation of numerous possible college baseball players.

This week’s Premier Junior World Series — held a sites in Missouri and Kansas — has been a hotbed of scouting action on the college and professional level.

Ryan Graves, assistant baseball coach for the University of Kansas, said this tournament is a prime place for scouts.

“I come out to this tournament every year, and Premier does a great job with it,” Graves said. “It is just traveling from field to field and trying to get as much done as possible but there is a lot of talent here.”

Graves was not the only Big 12 scout in attendance at one of the eight fields in action.

“All the Big 12 teams are here, Wichita State is here and just about every premier college baseball team is represented here,” Graves said. “When you get this many talented, young players in a location it is a perfect place for us to see those kids in one location rather than trying to track them down here or there.”

Someone outside the Big 12 but still looking for solid prospects is William Bradley, assistant baseball coach at St. Louis University.

Bradley also played in the outfield for Central Missouri in 2004 and 2005.

“It gets us talent from different states,” Bradley said. “We (St. Louis) have two guys here this weekend and we can see multiple teams but the only difficult thing is that there are eight sites to go to.”

The Premier tournament provides a bit of a break in the constant travel routine that college and pro scouts have to contend with over the summer months.

“It is pretty bad,” Bradley said. “You have to find tournaments like this where you can see kids all at the same time.”

The competition between schools and teams is one of the reasons why the summer months become so hectic for scouts.

“Summer is big travel throughout the country,” Graves said. “It is just one of those things that we have to do to keep up with everybody else in the Big 12.

“You have to do everything that you can to get in position to win a lot of games,” Graves said. “If you are not on the road, you almost feel bad that you are not getting anything done.”

Once a scout makes it to a ball park, that is when the work really begins.

“I try to get here early and talk to the coach and talk about what our needs are and if he may have those needs,” Bradley said. “From there on, I try to get a couple of reads on each pitcher and watch a couple of innings. I will watch them from the front then go and check them from the side.”

That keeps scouts like Bradley constantly working during a seven- or nine-inning game.

“I am always moving and trying to stay busy,” Bradley said.

But one piece of solace for scouts is that the summer baseball season for high school prospects is starting to wind down.

“I have been on the road a lot over the last four weeks,” Bradley said. “It is kind of winding down for the summer then we will get back to work for the fall after Labor Day.”

The Premier Junior World Series continues today through Sunday.

Morning Sun writer Matthew Clark can be reached at or at 620-231-2600, Ext. 140