Recap Show: John Kazanas

Welcome to The Baseball Awakening Podcast where we dive into the raw, unfiltered, unsexy side of player development.

Summary:

On this episode, Host, Geoff Rottmayer, recaps his conversation with John Kazanas. The biggest takeaways that he discussed on this show are:

  • Understanding what coaches and scouts are looking for.
  • It only takes one person to see you and believe you.
  • Scouts are looking for players that can be big leaguers and can help team win games.
  • What perceived as bad in baseball world is perceived as good in the eyes of a scout.
  • Getting deeper in understanding projecting.
  • The analytics part of the game.
  • Looking for in hitters.
  • Talk in depth on the saying behind, if you are good they will find you.
  • Seeing kids fail.
  • and many more.

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Email Address: geoff@baseballawakening.com

Transcribe: 

Hey guys Geoff Rottmayer here and this is The Baseball Awakening recap show where I share with you the biggest takeaways I got from my conversation the last couple of days with John Kazanas – as well as share How I plan to implement what I have learned with my players that I train at my academy in Tulsa Oklahoma.

Before I get started, one thing I want you to know, is that I want to hear from you because different things mean things things to different people so it would be interesting to see how you guys interpret something that Mr John Kazanas said the last couple of days or what I am going to say today. I will make a show reading off your emails because we cal all learn something from it, so my email is going to be geoff@baseballawakening.com, so send me your thoughts, comment, or feedback.

What do scouts and coaches look for is always a question that get ask, and even when they hear the answers to question that I asked Mr. John Kazanas – there is still a lack of understanding. We have to realize that it doesn’t matter, how good we think we are, the only thing that matter is how good they think you are – and all it takes is one person to see you and believe in you. Everyone has a different opinion.

So throughout the entire conversation John kept saying that scouts are looking for players they feel can make it to the big leagues and help their organization win. The odds of every player they turn in and every player they sign making it to the big leagues is very small, but they are looking at  a kid and see if he has the skills right now that can translate. So what are something that can help a guy understand what they are seeing: for example a hitter, they want to see you consistently get the barrel the the baseball and hit it hard regardless of whether they produce outs or not, you are showing the ability to get the barrel to the baseball, balls that are strike and they you swing at, you don’t miss it would be another example and another example would be having an approach and a plan at the plate. So it not just about the stats or its not about going 2-3 during games, it about whether get got the sweet spot to the baseball and hit the ball hard, its about when you swing at ball in the strike zone, not missing it, and it about having an understand of what you are trying to do at the plate.

I had asked John, what projecting means because they what they do, they are projecting what a kid might be in the future. And basically his is say you have a kid who has all the ability i explained earlier but the ball doesn’t carry as far or maybe with his pitching mechanics could use some tweaks and givin some better instruction and weight program a player could add some power behind the swing and the pitch could make a some tweak that make a difference in performance. You will hear that quite a bit in the scouting world. If a guy has a more mature frame they are trying to see if there is a room to keep growing – so while being mature physically is a horrible thing it isn’t the likely scenario. They want to see that there is still going to be room for growth. So, this is an honest conversation one has to have with  themselves as well, do I have room to grow and whats my plan to keep growing. Do you put in some extra work outside of team practice, do you put in some extra work in the weight room.

I went on to ask John about the scouts thoughts and feeling of analytics and he basically sad that is part of the game and you need to get on board with it. He also said it quantify a lot more of the same things they were scouting in the past. Now the analytic are changing the approach of guys which might not be the best thing but the being able to achieve numbers on an analytical side during games is doing to help projecting a guy. But at the end of the day, if you can do the things they are looking for, then they are going to follow your progress. But I think biggest thing is making sure you can repeat your mechanics and you can make great contact and get hitters out. So, analytics and achieving numbers matter but being able to compete and contribute on the field matters too.

When discussing what he is looking for with hitters, is say he is looking for guys with quick hands, hand eye coordination, guy who have a plan at the plate, guys who can handle adversity, and who understand themselves, guys that can make adjustments, as we said earlier, swings the bat and doesn’t miss the barrel when the ball is in the strike zone, guys who have confidence. Scouts and college coach and scout confidence as well as being able to scout kids who lack confidence. They can see it immediately.

So all good stuff, I went on to ask John about the saying behind if you are good they will find you. A lot of kids think they are bette than they really are, and thats where needing an honest evaluation and honest feedback come into play, because there is a world full of people who are pretty good at the game of baseball. Its bigger than your town or district. If you are the best in your town and district how do you compare to someone across the country or across the world. When you start thinking of it take way, it crazy to think how good you might have to be. These scout watch players for a living so they are pretty good at seeing who can play and who cant play – so if they are not showing up to your games and not asking your coaches about you then you might not be on the radar. As John said, if i saw a big leaguer, wold i walk away from you. So my recommendation is to get honest feedback but he also went on to say how easy the games looks to the big leaguers. They have the fluidity in movements, they have the vision and decision process ability to make great jumps. This is where the putting in extra work, working on being consistent in all area or fielding, or hitting, or pitching – whatever it may be. There is a lot more to it then just throwing the ball, or fielding the ball, or hitting the ball.

So this carries on in the conversation about the kid who is hitting 500 in high school and not getting the attention. Again its about having the right skill sets, and all the things i talked a little bit about earlier. Be focus on skill development over just trying to get the numbers. As john said, the guy that went 0-3 with three hard line drives that we caught is better then the guy to hit 2 duck farts for base hit.

John goes on to talk about loving to see kids fail. He said you have to learn to fail before you an learn to succeed. I love it and its true, you have to be able to handle adversity and more important how do you respond to it and how do you make adjustment. Making the adjustment is the big part. You got to put the emotions away and figure out what you plan is to make the adjustment and compete to contribute in help your team out. Now, kids are not perfect and they will make mistake and get emotional at times, but learning form it and more importantly not letting it carry over the next play or the next at bat. We all hear about the kid who strikeout in the first at bat and his done for the entire game. Cant have that.

So, the people that matter in the game – the coaches and scouts – understand the game. They understand whether you sacrifice your self to put your team in position to in, they understand the hard line drive you hit that got caught was out of your control, they understand the short stop making an error while your pitching isn’t your fault – they know these things so you cannot be selfish and not do the things that is going to help your team win games. Ground ball to second base to score runner on third is a positive thing and again the people that matter understand this. It not about now i am 0-2 for the day – its about doing the things that will help your team win, shows coach and scout that you understand the situation and the game and took an approach to help yourself.

We also talks about how the game has change in terms of max effort throws and max effort hitting and how this part of the game has changed. I love guy throwing hard and guy hitting hard but i think if you use your body efficiently they it will product those results. There needs to be some balance in approach for throwing and hitting. I want guys swing the bat hard but let it come from efficient body movement over muscling everything up and making the body over work. So it is interesting, time will tell. And to repeat, I am not aginst swinging hard and throwing hard – i just believe the body can move more efficiently to product the result.

We ended the conversation with John talking about what his recommendation is to becoming a scout. So i would hope on the his part 2 conversation and hear what he says on that front.

Biggest takeaways – for me is you have to be honest with a kid but you don’t want to kill the dream. Its tough to say to a kid that works hard as a freshman or sophomore that he can play D1 because you just don’t know. I have seen lots of kids work hard and end up going D1 and wasn’t on the radar, but you need to have an honest conversation about what it is going to take to play at the college na d professional ranks.