I wrote a four-part series on the hit tool as an entirely-too-long breakdown of the things I look for when I scout a hitter, but I knew there would be things I forgot to mention. The one thing I forgot to bring up is something I mentioned in the also-entirely-too-long draft rankings; the different process I use to grade the current hit tool for amateur players. Quoting from those draft rankings:
The present hit grades for Rodgers and for all amateur players going forward is a peer grade…rather than just putting blanket 20s on everyone’s present hit tool. A peer grade means how the player performs currently in games relative to his peers: players the same age and general draft status or skill level. Some teams started using this system to avoid over-projecting a raw hitter; some use the rule that you can’t project over 10 points above the peer grade for the future grade. This helps you avoid saying players that can’t really hit now will become standout big league hitters. Obviously, some will, but it’s not very common and it’s probably smart to not bet millions on the rare one that will.
I said I would explain more about this, but I think I said basically everything here. All but maybe one or two hitters in each draft class will have present 20 hit grades, but the context and amount of evidence will vary greatly. The peer hitting grade helps tie this all together because, for a player with a short track record, scouts will find themselves projecting only on hitting tools when there isn’t much performance to grade. Using this system, it helps remind you to consider performance, but still weighing it appropriately given the sample size, competition level, etc. I’m sure I’ll talk more about this with more specific examples as the draft approaches and grading conundrums present themselves.