Scouts discuss players’ makeup at PRO-DAY event

Danny Watkins, Hugh Walker and Bill Earnhart all talked about makeup at some point during their respective speeches on Wednesday night in the Pine Bluff Convention Center Auditorium.

No, they didn’t talk about that kind of makeup.

The three baseball scouts who have made a career out of projecting how players will be a few years down the road had a message for those in attendance about character.

Makeup as they all referred to it.

Watkins, a Boston Red Sox scout, opened the evening that served as a precursor to the PRO-DAY World Series, which will take place Thursday through Sunday at Taylor Field.

He started by addressing the five tools of baseball. These are the five main skills scouts look for in prospects — running, fielding, throwing, hitting for average and hitting for power.

Then Watkins, who has World Series rings with Boston from 2007 and ’13, spoke about what became the underlying theme of the event.

“The hardest thing for us to scout is makeup,” he said. “What kind of guy are you?

“Because we don’t bring you in to play three days. Baseball is a job that is seven days a week.”

Walker, a scout for the San Francisco Giants, took the podium next and built on Watkins’ point.

“As scouts, we’re almost like a private eye,” Walker said. “I’ll talk to your principal. I’ll go to your middle school. I’ll even find out who your first grade teacher was.

“I want to find out what type of individual you are. I want to find out how you are in the classroom.”

Walker, who is originally from Jacksonville, said his favorite “sources” to go to for inside information are found at the baseball park.

“My favorite people to talk to are the little kids that come to the game,” said the former first-round pick of the Kansas City Royals. “They have the best seat in the house. They know what kind of player they are.

“You find that little brother there and ask him who the best player is. He knows. I was that little brother, so I know, too.”

Walker, who has World Series rings from the Giants’ triumphs in 2010 and ’12, emphasized that there is a social aspect to makeup, too.

“Makeup is an indication of who you are,” he said, “and part of it is being able to interact socially.

“Do you have some sort of barrier?”

The evening’s final speaker was Earnhart, who has scouted with the Royals, Montreal Expos (now Washington Nationals), Los Angeles Dodgers, California Angels, San Diego Padres, Texas Rangers and Arizona Diamondbacks.

Earnhart works with PRO-DAY as a national coordinator and helps coach the PRO-DAY Elite team, which is playing in this weekend’s tournament. He was with the Diamondbacks organization when the team won its first, and so far only, World Series title in 2001.

Earnhart, who along with Watkins and Walker stressed the importance of education, followed the others in emphasizing the tricky nature of scouting character.

“Makeup is so important,” he said, “and there are just so many areas. It is tough to scout what your makeup is.

“We can’t cut you open and see what’s inside.”