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How Hard Is It to Earn MLB Scout’s Salary?
Professional baseball teams rely on networks of experienced scouts to discover talented young players that could one day turn into major league stars. This job looks very exciting, as scouts spend a lot of their time traveling and watching baseball for a living. On the flip side, the grind can last for months at a time and be very demanding in a personal sense, and it’s fair to say that an MLB scout’s salary doesn’t justify the amount of effort needed to be a great scout. All of this work is done in the shadows, far from the limelight and fanfare of MLB games and TV broadcasts.
Scouts contribute a great deal to the success of MLB teams, and they deserve to get some attention. We’ll try to explain the main requirements for this job and answer how much money baseball scouts can expect to make if they get to the big leagues.
What does a job of a baseball scout consist of?
Much like their army counterparts, baseball scouts are paid to survey the landscape and immediately report anything out of ordinary they notice. Of course, baseball scouts get to do their jobs in the safety and relative comfort of a baseball stadium, which isn’t to say they have it easy. Since most of the scouting takes place on the high school or college level, it’s a constant journey across small-town America that has little in common with the glamour of MLB competition. Scouts often work internationally as well and have to spend time in countries like Cuba, Venezuela, or even Japan.
MLB scouts typically focus on prospects that have the potential to eventually develop into valued members of a professional squad. They are less interested in their performance on the field per se and look for specific signs that a player might have a bright future ahead. In this sense, scouts are the primary talent evaluators who decide which young players will get noticed and possibly drafted or signed. They also have to communicate regularly with the main decision-makers within MLB clubs, so they need to be capable of mastering the corporate culture and present their findings in a way that general managers can understand.
How much do baseball scouts make per year?
The size of an MLB scout’s salary isn’t a widely known fact, and many people think that anyone associated with professional baseball is making huge money. That’s not accurate if we are talking about scouts, most of whom earn only a modest reimbursement for their services. While there is a difference in pay grade depending on the experience level and earlier accomplishments, scouts, in general, earn a lot less than baseball players or managers and are much closer to people holding regular jobs.
On average, a professional baseball scout in America earns between $35,000 and $45,000 per year. When this figure is broken down to hourly pay, this amounts to a little above $20 per hour. The top 10% of all scouts can expect to make more than $70,000 per year, and the most successful scouts that routinely discover diamonds in the rough could earn even more. On the other hand, scouts that are just starting out are typically paid less than $20,000 a year, and it may take years for them to reach the mean income for this profession, but only if they don’t give up before that.
Can being a baseball scout be a viable primary career?
The answer to this depends on one’s ambitions and tastes, as the MLB scout’s salary is barely enough for decent life but not much more. Those at the top of the earning bracket can get some sense of financial security, but a vast majority of baseball scouts are living paycheck to paycheck. While scouts get their travel costs reimbursed and often sleep at hotels for free and enjoy other perks, strictly speaking, the pay in this line of work is far from great. This is why only individuals who live and breathe baseball are willing to embark on a journey of a full-time scout.
It’s not rare for baseball scouts to hold another job so they can make ends meet, but it can be hard combining fixed employment with the crazy hours and traveling schedule typical for scouting work. Knowing how much (or how little) baseball scouts earn, it’s hard not to admire their hard work and dedication. The best scouts are valued by MLB organizations, which is why they can afford to focus fully on their talent-hunting responsibilities, but getting to this point is painstaking and could take a couple of decades, even for those who have a great eye for the game.
How to become a baseball scout?
Despite knowing that an MLB scout’s salary is far from rich, a lot of young baseball enthusiasts are still intrigued by this career opportunity. However, most of them don’t know how to become a baseball scout, especially if they never played baseball competitively at a high level. The best approach is to start gathering relevant knowledge and perhaps even attend a college course in sports management or another related field. Having a degree could give you the credentials and the confidence you need to land that elusive first scouting job, regardless of whether you have experience playing baseball.
Volunteering is another route that aspiring scouts can take. Accepting an unpaid internship from a low-level team is a way to put something on your resume and start meeting people from the business. Baseball is a close-knit family, and once you get a foot in the door, it becomes much easier to showcase your skills and work ethic. It’s also sometimes possible to start scouting on a freelance or part-time basis before eventually parlaying the results into a full-time gig with a big club. Much like the players they are evaluating, scouts crave any opportunity to impress, and they sometimes must wait for their turn to show what they can do.