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How Important is Makeup?

Compiled By: Austin Alexander-May 29, 2006

A term often used among coaches and scouts is “make-up”. With the MLB draft a week away, organizations everywhere are doing last minute tests, additional research and constant probing on players on that exist on draft boards. College coaches are forever asking questions about players to determine his “make-up.”

But what exactly is it, how do you measure it and is it important?

Well, Diamond Prospects surveyed college coaches and pro scouts in the Carolina’s before the season to assist us. In the conclusion of a three-part series, we will provide for you just how much emphasis is actually placed on “make-up.”

You often hear this term when deep discussions abound surrounding a quality player. For many evaluators, a players “make-up” can often make or break whether an opportunity is extended to an individual, how much money is attached to scholarship amounts or signing bonuses and line-up cards often reflect the players that possess it.

Last week we explored examples of good and bad make-up, now it’s time to find out what evaluators do with the information they accumulate.

Diamond Prospects put this question to the experts.

According to one Junior College coach:

Make-up is extremely important to us here....We might not be the most talented team in Region X but I want people to think that we play the game hard and we play the right way. Make-up has a lot to do with that. I want guys that can handle adversity…if they can't deal with adversity, then they are going to have a hard time being successful. We also look for guys that have good make-up because that usually means they are self-motivated.

According to one Division I recruiting coordinator:

Talent doesn't matter without make-up.

According to one American League scout:

Starting out I will look for these things when I am evaluating the players. Also when I sit down and talk to the players, I will look to see how he handles the questions, how he treats his parents and family, whether he looks me in the eye, etc.

According to another Division I recruiting coordinator:

Make-up is a big factor but you do not always find out what kind of make-up a guy has until you get him in the program and away from his parents. Coaches tell you a kid is a good kid, he hustles, he gets good grades, so on. He gets to your school and he has freedom. Now he likes to party, he puts that ahead of school and baseball. We try to get as much info as we can about kids because we want team guys, and good make-up guys but you do not always know until you get them on campus.

According to one National League scout:

My boss has told me not to bother turning a kid in who lacks make-up. We do a ton of tests on each player we are seriously considering in the draft, and that helps, but ultimately you have to go with your gut. If my gut tells me that a kid has questionable make-up, I move on down my list. I cannot risk my career putting my name beside a kid that does not possess make-up.

According to one Division I assistant:

When you get to see a prospect play, you want as many questions answered as you can that first time you see him. Sometimes I may only see the prospect once. I do not want to leave thinking, "Yeah he got a couple hits but he carried himself in a lazy and unprofessional manner out there." You can tell a guy who plays the game "easy" and with fluidity and then the guy who lacks desire and has bad body language.

According to another Division I assistant:

Make-up for me is very big. However, does this mean that a kid cannot play just because he has bad make-up, of course not, but as my dad would say, "it breaks the ties." If you have two kids of equal talent and one is always out early and is getting his arm loose before everyone, he is talking to everyone on the team, he has the ability to effect the game just by getting everyone on the same level, he is moving his feet to receive thrown balls...this is who I want on my team. So “Kid A” only went 1-for-4 and “Kid B” was 3-for-4, it is worth me taking “Kid A” because he will be there for the long haul.

The toughest part is that kids today are salesman they know how to be pseudo-respectful and they know how to give the answers that you want. However, true make-up comes when know one is looking and then you see if he has it or not.

According to one Division I head coach:

The more I do this, the more I realize it’s everything. If a player lacks it, it’s likely he’ll be useless to you and your program. If your teams lack make-up, they can’t win and you become leery of staying in hotels and entering restaurants! Surrounding yourself with kids that have character makes coming to work everyday an enjoyable experience.

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Regardless of who you ask, everyone has their own idea of what make-up actually is. Few, however will ever dispute its importance in the evaluation process or its presence in winning programs or organizations. We hope you have enjoyed Diamond Prospects’ three-part series and have benefited from the feedback we received from coaches and scouts.