Book Review: Five-Plus Tools by Dave Perkin


In Five-Plus Tools: The Past, Present, and Future of Baseball through the Eyes of a Scout, Dave Perkin shows us the game from a scout’s point of view.

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For baseball fans, a five-tool player is that rare and elite prospect with above average grades in the skill areas of: hitting, power, running, throwing, and fielding. They are the players likely to be selected early in the first round of the Major League Baseball draft held annually in June. Some live up to the hype and have a good chance of being inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Or they could just flame out and retire from the game.

The typical baseball fan is one who just critiques those players that are currently playing at the professional level. It’s the scouts who we turn to in order to get critiques of the high school and college baseball players. These scouts are in charge of finding the “future” in raw talent.

Currently a correspondent for Sports Illustrated, Perkin tells us not only what scouts are looking for but how they evaluate and recognize the amateur players. Perkin writes his book in two sections. One section describes “the basics of scouting amateur players in preparation of the annual June Draft.” A change of course is made in the second section as Perkin reports on those big league players that he encountered but also touches upon classic moments in baseball history. Finally, the third section “concentrates on critical issues within the baseball industry.”

He does all this by using the field reports on those athletes that he’s scouted over the years.

This is not a book in which Perkin looks to glorify or destroy baseball but he doesn’t aim to revolutionize or reinvent the game either. To put it simply, he just wants to “illuminate a profession the general public knows little about.”