Every Major League team has a scouting staff. The area scout is the heart of this staff. This individual has a defined geographical region of the country that he is responsible for.
The Northern California scout is usually bound by the Oregon border to the north, Fresno or Bakersfield to the south, all of Nevada excluding Las Vegas to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. His primary responsibility is to provide the incoming talent for his organization from his area.
Every four year college, every junior college and every high school in this region are his talent pool to find and acquire this talent. The challenge an area scout has in front of him is truly daunting when it’s approached properly. The process is a never ending cycle of over-lapping information gathering that culminates in the free-agent draft in early June. The day after the draft the process renews. It starts by compiling a FOLLOW list. This a compilation of seniors to be in high school, all junior college players, and junior and senior members of the four year college class.
The area scout starts in early summer seeing everything from Connie Mack games to the high profile showcase events to find high school players for this list. Towards the end of summer and late into the fall he adds college and junior college events to his agenda.
The area scout needs a vast and informed resource group to help guide him towards the most talented player. This group has a wide background but the common denominator they have in common is the trust of the scout. College coaches are a group that is by far the most qualified and resourceful group a scout can interact with for an exchange of ideas. The area scout has to be careful to who he takes advice from otherwise he will never make any headway in completing a comprehensive list of players.
The college coach is as often as not more informed than the scout himself. His individual priority often gives a broader insight regarding the type of player he will or will not recruit. He is often not looking for the same things as an area scout.
At any rate the area scout needs to complete this list, from the sure-fire can’t-miss prospect down to the slightest chance prospect. This list, when completed is the area scouts road map for the upcoming spring. He puts this list in a kind of preferential order of importance to help him prioritize his springtime agenda. This is when the evaluation process starts in earnest.