You may have encountered the phrase “five tool player” and wondered “what are the 5 tools in baseball?” The five tools are hitting for average, hitting for power, arm strength, speed, and fielding ability.
A player with these qualities stands out as a team’s most central, strategic, and valuable member.
Most certainly, mastering any of them can improve the ability of a fledgling player. A player, in turn, can advance in his career. Read on to learn more.
The Five Tools in Baseball
The five crucial tools in baseball are as follows (including the five tool meaning):
1. Hitting for Average
Hitting for average is the ability to make the bat contact the ball, and may be measured by the batting average.
Batting average (BA) equals the player’s hits divided by at-bats, and the higher it is, the better.
In totality, hitting for average equates to:
- Utilizing the expanse of the field
- Hitting the ball with exceptional power
- Batting the ball within a boundary (accuracy)
- Maintaining a consistent contact
2. Hitting for Power
Home runs are important, as they can change the result of a game. And once power is improved, the batter’s chances of securing a home run increases. Who does not like that?
The good news is that one can learn to hit with power. Some tips like rotating the hips and raising your front leg can increase momentum while batting the baseball.
If you master this, you’ll be closer to becoming a 5 tool baseball player.
3. Arm Strength
While power enables the ball to reach its maximum velocity, arm strength ensures that power (kinetic energy) is smoothly transferred from the arm to the ball.
The arm strength, as a tool, cannot solely function on its own. It requires the correct physics, coordination, and genetics from the player’s end.
While the prospects of developing exceptional arm strength seem a matter of chance, the odds are more in favor of the person than they appear.
Here are some ways a player can develop arm strength:
- Executing a proper body rotation technique
- Maintaining a balanced stance and position
- Studying arm-ball physics
- Achieving a well-calculated release point of the ball
- Practicing flexibility in the arm
- Completing a smooth follow-through phase
- Doing long toss exercises
- Maintaining a good physical condition
If practiced, honed, and partnered with the knowledge of base running, a high speed rate can turn a runner’s fate around in multiple scenarios.
A runner’s speed, in turn, can seal his team’s fate (either to winning or losing) within a brief period.
The speed should also help secure the runner’s career as a 5 tool player in baseball history.
Although speed does not gather the most amount of attention among the 5 tools of baseball, it still ranks as a highly pivotal and essential quality in securing bases.
Here are some significant upshots a fast runner can cause:
- A double play is avoided
- A base is stolen/ a chance to advance is secured
- The pitcher is kept guessing
- Outfielders can cover more ground
- It takes less time to catch balls and throwing them to the pitcher
5. Fielding Ability
Fielding ability translates to defending the team and making sure that the team can bat right before the end of the half-inning.
The fielding ability of the team members importantly covers up the team, as it can frustrate and confuse the opposing team.
A fielder must be agile and strategic enough to get an opposing player out. In addition, he must be well-built to keep runs from taking place.
Best Five-tool Players in Baseball
Here are some of the best 5-tool baseball players of all time (not in order):
- Barry Bonds: The 1990s saw how outstanding a player Bonds was. His MVP status, including his 400 home runs and steals, had all his basic tools on full display.
- Ichiro Suzuki: Suzuki completed his career with over 3,058 hits. And that does not even include the hits he earned at any Japan tournament.
- Suzuki, with his five-tool power, won the Gold Glove award.
- Ty Cobb: Cobb’s reputation as a five-tool player is without question, given his title as the player with the highest batting average in history.
- He also holds the record for the highest number of home steals in the 1970s.
- Willie Mays: Mays importantly exemplifies the perfect mix of power and flexibility.
- Experts believe that right when he entered the field, he immediately assumed the status as the player with the most number of best hits.
- Vladimir Guerrero: In Guerrero’s prime, he exhibited an unquestionable capacity as a five-tool player.
In his career, Guerrero has made a total of 140 OPS+, one award for his status as a most valuable player, nine occasions of attending an All-Star game, and 449 home runs.
Other five-tool players in MLB history:
- Alex Rodriguez
- Mickey Mantle
- Dave Winfield
- Hank Aaron
- Ken Griffey, Jr.
What are the 5 tools in baseball? We hope you now know the answer.
As seen from the five-tool players in MLB history, we know that playing baseball requires the balance of power and flexibility to perform well and ultimately win.
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