Speed. Power. Contact. Arm strength. Defense.
For years, these five skills, known as the “five tools,” have remained the primary criteria that scouts have used to discuss baseball players. To be a successful baseball player, you must possess multiple tools — for example, Gary Sánchez checks off the boxes for power (91st percentile in barrel percentage) and arm strength (his pop time to second base is tied for fourth-best in baseball), while DJ LeMahieu is known primarily for his contact and defense. Players who rank among the top rankings in three or four tools, like Aaron Judge — who combines arguably the best power bat in baseball with elite defensive ability, fantastic arm strength, and above-average speed — tend to be perennial All-Stars, the types of franchise players that every team looks to build around.