Whenever top prospects are discussed, the term “5-Tool Prospect” seems to come up often with the best of them. But what exactly are they talking about when the term is used?
The 5 Tools
Hit for Average – Essentially whether or not a player can hit and reach base on a consistent basis.
Hit for Power – This is not necessarily limited to home run power, but can also include the ability to hit doubles and triples as well.
Run – Not always necessarily viewed as the speed of a player, although this seems most common. This can also include a players ability to be a good baserunner, including taking extra bases, and not getting caught in rundowns, etc.
Throw – This one is pretty self explanatory. This is the player’s ability to throw, both distance as well as velocity (quickness really), and accuracy.
Field – Another one that’s self-explanatory. This one helps to gauge the player’s ability to make the plays required for their position. This can also include their ability to position themselves, both before the play and during the play as well.
Generally, a lot of the top hitting prospects are considered to be 5 tool players. In an ideal world, you would want a player at every position that does all of these things well. Obviously, that would come with a price to be sure. Some recent examples of 5-tool prospects include new Braves RF Jason Heyward, Diamondbacks RF Justin Upton, and Rangers 1B Justin Smoak.
Now, the 5 tools also don’t tell the whole story, as players are being evaluated on some other topics as well, many of which help to tell the story of the 5 tools. These can include a player’s ability to draw a walk, their ability to hit to all fields, and their range out in the field.