Scouts have their own lingo, and it often shows up in the reports they write and the conversations they have about players.
Here's a little taste of scout jargon:
The five tools - Overall hitting ability, power, throwing arm, fielding, running speed.
Toolsy - A way to describe a player with lots of tools.
Ceiling - How high a player's tools can take him.
High-ceiling player - A player with excellent tools, someone who can run, throw, hit, is athletic and moves well.
Projectable - A player who projects to be a major leaguer when his development is done. A player who has something a player-development staff can work with.
Max effort - Used to describe a pitcher who puts everything he has into every delivery. Think Brett Myers. Tom Glavine would be the opposite. Max-effort pitchers can sometimes be more susceptible to injury.
Loose, whippy arm - Scouts like these. Think Cole Hamels.
Pitch-ability - A pitcher with know-how. Someone who can change speeds and set up hitters.
A thrower - Someone with a big arm but no pitch-ability.
"For me, he's a guy" - Scouting shorthand for a player who will become an impact big leaguer.
"He's not a guy, for me" - Scouting shorthand for a prospect going nowhere.
Fringy - A player who may or may not make it to the majors. An on-the-bubble player.
V-lo - Velocity.
Hammer - A hard, downward breaking curveball.
A beast - A prospect you have to see.
Athletic - A player who can run and throw, but might need some time to develop his overall baseball skills. Sometimes called a project.
Average - A player with an "average" arm has what the scout deems an average major-league arm.
Plus - A standout tool, as in "this player has plus power."
Double plus - A little extra shine on a standout tool.
Makeup - A player's character. Is he a competitor, a gamer, or a soft makeup guy? Is he a good citizen or a problem? It all falls under the heading of makeup.
"He squares up the ball well." - A hitter who hits every ball on the barrel.
"He can rake." - An excellent hitter.
A profile guy - A prospect who will be drafted in the top eight rounds and get a nice signing bonus.
A senior sign - A player who has played four years of college ball and gets a $1,000 signing bonus and a chance to be on a rookie-league roster. How he plays dictates how long he stays in the organization.
Tough sign - A college-committed prospect who will require a large signing bonus and lots of schmoozing to sign.