What’s a five-tool player?

5 – Sometimes  baseball writers assume everyone knows what a five-tool player is. But of course that’s not, so for their benefit here’s what it means when we write, as I did today, that Jason Heyward is a five-tool player (while usually failing to explain myself at that time).

If a player is considered a five-tool player, it  means that scouts judge him to excel in hitting for average, hitting for power, baserunning, fielding and throwing.

To interact with DOB, see his main blog entry http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-braves-blog/2010/02/22/coxs-first-day…ly-be-his-last/

32 comments Add your comment


February 22nd, 2010
7:03 pm


February 22nd, 2010
7:06 pm

Thanks for the lesson. Next lesson: What is On-Base Percentage? Answer: Jeff Francoeur’s worst nightmare


February 22nd, 2010
7:08 pm

third is preffered

Ted Turned a corner

February 22nd, 2010
7:13 pm

“What’s a five-tool player?”

A big fat jerk.

chin music

February 22nd, 2010
7:14 pm

greg norton plus power, speed, defense, a good arm, and a high batting average. he sure could walk, though.


February 22nd, 2010
7:15 pm

Something the Braves haven’t had for a while…

That's MrGil 2U

February 22nd, 2010
7:26 pm

5 tool player——->Scott Boreas meal ticket

"Chef" Tim Dix

February 22nd, 2010
7:34 pm

death nell.

And Guru you’re out of bounds fella.

Chief Nocahoma

February 22nd, 2010
7:37 pm

The promise that once was Andruw Jones, Brad Komisk, Jeff Francour

Skip Caray T-Shirt

February 22nd, 2010
7:58 pm

The Grinch

February 22nd, 2010
9:04 pm

I know what a one tool beat writer is…just kidding, man.

Got some interesting observations from camp but limited internet access…stay tuned.


February 22nd, 2010
9:10 pm

You included base running as part of the 5 tools. So it’s not entirely about how fast the player can run. It becomes more of how smart the player runs. Right?


February 22nd, 2010
9:14 pm

Dave, when Andruw Jones first came up, he was considered a five tool player. Since Andruw, we really haven’t had one. Chipper, even in his prime years, couldn’t really be considered five tool, because he never stole a lot of bases.

Albert Pujols is probably the best example of a current day five tool player, although he doesn’t steal a ton of bases like Andruw used to. Albert hits for a much higher batting average, and usually hits more home runs.


February 22nd, 2010
9:19 pm

Please, can the baseball duru help with this question:

In the same at bat, can a switch hitter . .
(1) Switch from batting one side to the other between each pitch?
(2) While the pitcher is winding up, switch side of hitting (without stepping on the plate) ?

Thanks a bunch


February 22nd, 2010
10:07 pm

Wow, let’s slow down on Heyward here. This guy looks great. Seems to have a great attitude. I am afraid that he cannot match the build up that Bowman and especially O’Brien are giving him. If he does, then we have ourselves Albert Pujols with speed. That would be great. I think it is too early to jump the gun, though.


February 22nd, 2010
10:25 pm


Jeff Francouer was never a real 5 tool prospect. He hit for power, could catch the ball, and throw the ball. The guy never really hit for average and never will since he can’t get on base via anything other than a hit and we all saw the last two years what happens when the hits stop coming. And except for his first year in the majors he has not had much power. Andruw Jones is the ultimate 5 tool player. The guy had all the tools. Unfortunately he got fat.


February 22nd, 2010
10:26 pm


Yeah because Albert Pujols never got hype. Ken Griffey Jr. never got hype. Sorry if as Braves fans we are excited because we might actually have developed a true number 3 hitter to replace Chipper with. It’s been awhile, say 15 years, that we have had a legit number 3 hitter come through our system.


February 23rd, 2010
12:34 am

Hey AJC, I got an idea-

Maybe take it a step further, like putting these little part-blogs in different sections…20 words in the Travel section, a paragraph in the Business section…

Or you could even put partial blogs on other sites…the senseless possibilities are endless!

It begs the question, once again- ARE YOU PEOPLE SMOKING CRACK?


February 23rd, 2010
7:54 am

n the same at bat, can a switch hitter . .
(1) Switch from batting one side to the other between each pitch?
(2) While the pitcher is winding up, switch side of hitting (without stepping on the plate) ?


1. Yes. A batter can switch sides as much as he would like.
2. No. Once the pitcher is in a “position ready to pitch” (i.e. on the rubber), the batter cannot switch sides.

See Rule. 6.06 http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/official_info/official_rules/batter_6.jsp


February 23rd, 2010
8:35 am

6. Doesn’t get rattled or panic when in a slump.


February 23rd, 2010
8:59 am

I guess I’m not old enough (21) to remember when Andruw hit for avg. I love the guy but the last few years have probably erased my memory of his earlier years. I remember him having numbers like 30+ HR and a .260 BA… idk though


February 23rd, 2010
9:37 am


I agree with your analysis of Francoeur and A. Jones. I don’t know how old you are, but I am old enough that I saw Aaron, Mays and Clemente all play in person. Now those three were true 5 tool players!


February 23rd, 2010
10:45 am

Thanks Burdell

gary morrison

February 23rd, 2010
12:54 pm

Once the Pitcher was set, a player could call time, and if the Umpire allowed the time out. The Player could switch sides.Aaron,Mays,Clemente absolutely 5 tools how about adding Mantle.There is a guy in Texas as well, Hamilton has all the tools, but substance has eroded some of them

ARE you kidding me?

February 23rd, 2010
1:46 pm

I would say the poster boy for a 5 tool player would be Griffey Jr. in his prime in Seattle.


February 23rd, 2010
1:50 pm

“one tool beat writer”

seriously funny stuff

nothing but love for ya DOB. nothing but love


February 23rd, 2010
3:21 pm

Chipper was definitely a 5 tool player. He has stolen as many as 25 bases in a season, plus he was always a good base-runner, which doesn’t necessarily mean base-stealing.

MitchC said Andruw used to steal “a ton of bases.” LOL. The most he ever stole was 27. And he was a lot closer to a .265 hitter than a .300 hitter. Chipper was easily more of a 5-tool guy than Andruw was.


February 23rd, 2010
4:14 pm

If we’re talking about 5 tool players on a Braves’ blog, Hank Aaron’s name should be one of the first names mentioned. Had he been allowed to run more in the earlier part of his career, his SB numbers would have been even more impressive. That being said, Willie Mays was probably the ultimate five tool player.


February 23rd, 2010
4:29 pm

Shouldn’t we update the 5-tool designation a little bit since the explosion of Sabermetrics? Maybe change “Hit for average” to “Good on-skills” or add a sixth tool like “Strong plate discipline”?

Shot Thru the Lockhart

February 23rd, 2010
6:31 pm

Keep in mind that being a five-tool player is not necessary for a great career. Albert Pujols would only be considered a three tool player these days since he’s at first base because the Cardinals thought arm surgery was imminent if he kept having to throw from third. Even before that Pujols was never fleet afoot so at his best he only had “4 tools”.


February 23rd, 2010
10:07 pm

Cliff Pickett is the only true five-tool player in the state of Georgia. Just ask him. He’ll tell you all about it.

Braves Fan Since "80

February 24th, 2010
5:52 pm

Bobby Bonds, Gary Sheffield, Dale Murphy…….. I find it difficult to know where baserunning and power starts…….. 20-20 300 hitter with no defensive holds or is a 275 30-30 guy good enough

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