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MLB Lifts Ban On In-Person Scouting Ahead Of Key Summer Events



For the first time since Major League Baseball shut down in March because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, scouts can hit the road to do in-person scouting.

MLB informed teams the ban on in-person scouting has been lifted, just in time for the Perfect Game’s National showcase in Hoover, Ala., which is scheduled to begin on June 17.

Teams will be limited to no more than three scouts per event to limit travel—cutting the number of scouts teams can send to some of the larger events of the summer—but with showcases and travel ball tournaments happening all around the country, such a limitation will not be a big hurdle in keeping scouts from scouting as they usually do all summer.

Scouts will have to adjust their schedules significantly, however, because of the dramatically altered summer schedule, which will significantly reduce the number of scouting events for top collegians.

The USA Baseball College National Team, usually one of the key scouting stops of the summer, is not playing. Similarly, the Cape Cod League has announced it will not play in 2020. The Northwoods League has announced that it has a group of teams playing in Bismarck, N.D. beginning today (June 15) as well as six teams playing in a Wisconsin pod beginning on July 1.

On the high school circuit, most of the major events of the summer have remained on the schedule.

NCAA coaches will not be joining scouts on the road. The NCAA has extended its ban on in-person recruiting through July 31. In addition to health and safety reasons, multiple coaches said they believed cost savings played a significant factor in the decision as athletic directors are looking at very difficult budgets in light of the effects of the pandemic.

While teams are allowed to scout again, the Angels and Athletics have furloughed most of their amateur scouting staff, and there are questions among scouts as to how much some teams will want to spend on travel during a time when teams are cutting back on expenses.

While amateur baseball is getting back to work this summer, there remain health and safety concerns, especially for scouts in high-risk categories. Alabama, site of the PG National showcase, has recorded its three highest number of new cases in each of the past three days. Alabama’s total hospitalizations for coronavirus is also trending upward as is the percentage of tests that come back positive, which is an indication the larger numbers are not simply a result of increased testing.

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