We talked to Oklahoma State head baseball coach Josh Holliday last week about a variety of topics, and he talked to us about what he looks for in recruits. I’m fascinated by baseball recruiting because we hear almost nothing about it.
So we asked Holliday what he looks for in high school stars and superstars who could turn pro if they decide not to come to Stillwater.
“You’re always looking for program-changing players,” said Holliday. “Kids that have great ability or great makeup, great leadership, in rare cases a little bit of everything. From there you just have to cultivate a relationship and a belief system about education where a player looks at Oklahoma State for three years as a better place to invest in himself than taking (MLB Draft) money out of school and signing.
“I see in football recruiting, if you can get three- and four-star players and elevate them to five-star performers, I think you have a chance to have a great team. In baseball we want to target three- and four-star talents that we can get here and then coach them and develop them into outstanding performers.”
We also asked him about what kind of qualities he searches for in juniors and seniors trying to play college baseball.
“The thing you’re looking to figure out if a kid has is you want to know if they have it. Do they have depth of personality? Are they motivated to be great? Are they inquisitive? Are they the kind of young man who every time he gets offered a task or challenge, he wants to master it. Is he driven to be great at something? Is he focused?
“Sometimes when you get around young people, when they have some unique qualities that jump off the page, you walk away from that encounter and say, ‘That’s a neat kid. That guy is really different. He’s got his act together. He looks you in the eye. He listens to everything you’re talking about. He asks questions. He’s thoughtful. He’s mature.’ The parents are usually a reflection of how the kid has been raised. Normally the way they handle themselves tells you a lot about what they taught kid to believe in.”
So good. If you haven’t listened to it yet, you really should. It will make you want to contact the National Student Clearinghouse to check on your eligibility to see whether you can maybe be a backup bullpen catcher for Holliday. I want to see him and Gundy on the road tag-teaming a recruit based on his parents’ DNA (mom’s real tall, great genes!) and how curious he is about life (didn’t see any New Yorker magazines in that living room, we’re out!)
But really, OSU baseball is going to be good for a long time because Josh Holliday intuitively understands that to be a success in his (and any) industry, you have to be great with other people. And he is very much elite.