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Monday, January 12, 2009

Baseball - The 5 Tool Player

Baseball - The 5 Tool Player

Expert Author: Michael Russell

You hear talk about somebody being a 5 tool baseball player. These athletes are very few and far in between. Five tool players are the highest paid players in the game if you can even find them. But what exactly is meant by a 5 tool player? How do you know when somebody actually fits this description? We're going to present the basic definition of what a 5 tool player is and why these are such a rare breed.

A 5 tool player is one that has great speed, can hit for average, hit for power, a great throwing arm and is excellent defensively. Let's take a look at each of these separately. Players with great speed are hard enough to find. Most of these are usually lead off hitters because they are needed to get on base and steel bases in order to get into scoring positions. Most lead off hitters are mostly contact hitters and don't hit for much power.

So right there, finding somebody with great speed and somebody with power is already hard enough. But then we get to somebody who can hit for average. This is something that can easily be linked together with just about any of the other tools but one, hitting for power. In order to hit for power, you have to either be incredibly strong or swing the bat very hard.

When you do this, it is hard to hit for average because you are more prone to striking out a lot. Most power hitters strike out over 100 times a year. These people usually don't hit for a high average. Then of course there is the person who just hits for power alone. This is not very common by itself. Take a look at the list of home run leaders in the major leagues and you'll see that out of the hundreds of players that play the game the list isn't any more than a dozen or so.

Therefor, finding somebody who hits for power by itself is not an easy task. Finding speed, power and the ability to hit for average is very rare. And that's only 3 tools. Then we come to fielding. Defense is something that requires a lot of practice. They talk about somebody having soft hands. That's a person who catches just about anything hit to him no matter how hard. The great fielders in the game defensively are a select few by themselves.

Now add that to the other 3 tools and the list narrows even more. But we're still not done. Then there is the matter of a player's throwing arm. Most of your best throwing arms are actually pitchers because they need to be able to throw hard to get hitters out. Pitchers certainly don't hit for power. Many short stops and third basemen have good arms but very few of them hit for power, let alone have all 5 tools.

So as you can see, a 5 tool player is indeed a rare breed. So many power hitters are very big and therefore very slow. Tall, thin, fast players don't usually hit for power. And yet, there have been a number of 5 tool players in the game of baseball, including Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds.

Michael Russell
Your Independent guide to Baseball Has a Great Selection of Youth Baseball Training Aids

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Hello Baseball Friend,
I welcome any comments or suggestions. If you have a question or a topic that you would like to read about, please leave a comment and I will try to address that topic as soon as I can. Good luck in the coming season!
Have a great day, Nick