NEW YORK NY - JANUARY 19: Rafael Soriano (C) of the New York Yankees poses for a photograph during his press conference with (L-R) assistant general manager Jean Afterman manager Joe Girardi agent Scott Boras president Randy Levine general manager Brian Cashman and COO Lonn Trost on January 19 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Yankees signed Soriano to a three year contract. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Today, I thought that we could kick things off by looking at the best of the sick, selfish and greedy players that are willing to call themselves Boras Corporation clients these days. An All Star team of excessive indulgence, you might even say.
... except not really. In fact, I'd be willing to argue that Boras clients are simply prudent guys- they opted to be represented by an agent that manages to get player-friendly deals for his clients more than possibly any other agent or agency out there. Boras isn't greedy; he's capitalistic. And once you see the kind of team that his agency could field, you'll realize that he's simply doing his job, and doing it really, really, really well. You don't land a client list like this otherwise. And you wanna know what's even crazier? I'm going to follow up this MLB list with an All Boras, All Future Team later this week. Not only is he loaded with stars of today; he's loaded with the stars of tomorrow, too.
Catcher: Matt Wieters, Baltimore
One of the weaker positions among Boras clients. Wieters stands out for pedigree and potential, and he's clearly better than guys like Taylor Teagarden and Gerald Laird even if he doesn't reach his ultimate ceiling.
First Base: Kendrys Morales, Los Angeles (AL)
Even after missing a good deal of last season, he's still at the top of the heap here. Carlos Pena is an intriguing alternative, but there's more to like about Morales at this point. Mark Teixeira likely would've filled this spot if he didn't leave Boras over the winter. And if you're wondering where Prince is, well, patience my friend.
Second Base: Robinson Cano, New York (AL)
A monster offseason acquisition by Boras Corp, Cano has proven to be an elite second baseman, with 6.4 WAR last year and 10.8 WAR in the past two seasons. He might be able to sustain most of the improvements he made last season, too, which is scary.
Third Base: Adrian Beltre, Texas
Boras managed to land Beltre an $80 million contract before this season, pushing the third baseman's career earnings over $160 million by the end of the deal. That's what happens when you're really good, your numbers play up in contract years, and Boras is your agent.
Shortstop: Stephen Drew, Arizona
Went back and forth between Drew and Elvis Andrus, but I can't ignore that Drew's WAR was 3.6 wins higher last season. And even if you switch UZR for ADR, which is kinder to Andrus, the difference is still 2.6 wins. J.D.'s little brother has quietly become a pretty damn good shortstop.
Left Field: Matt Holliday, St. Louis
I suppose I don't always think of him when pondering elite players, but I should. Only Albert Pujols and Chase Utley have posted more WAR among position players since 2007. Just think about that one for a second.
Center Field: Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado
He just signed an $80 million extension, an uncharacteristic move for the typical Boras client. He's due to regress in a variety of ways next season, but even so he's an stellar outfielder.
Right Field: Shin-Soo Choo, Cleveland
He's obviously underrated by the mainstream media, but that's what happens when you don't do any particular thing well (other than get on base) and your team isn't good. But elite on-base skills combined with good batting averages, good power, good base-running and good defense leaves you with a pretty great player.
Designated Hitter: Prince Fielder, Milwaukee
And there's the big guy. He's due for a big power season based on the pattern he's established so far (2007-2010 isolated power marks: .330, .231, .303, .209), and he's an absolute on-base machine. But he's a very poor defender at first base, and people aren't optimistic about his long-term prognosis for a variety of reasons. Even so, expect him to cash in big-time next season; power's always a premium on the free agent market.
C Ivan Rodriguez, Washington
SS Elvis Andrus, Texas
UTIL Chris Coghlan, Florida
OF Jayson Werth, Philadelphia
The bench has a couple of leftovers that couldn't quite fit into the everyday lineup, although Boras isn't loaded with quality catchers among his client list. That's explains Ivan Rodriguez's presence. But Andrus gives them a premium infield glove off the bench and Werth is obviously a quality outfielder all-around at this point.
SP No. 1: RHP Jered Weaver, Los Angeles (AL)
Finally had a breakout last season although his improvements were gradual for a while, as his WAR mark has improved every season so far in his career: 2.6, 3.1, 3.4, 3.9, 5.9. The primary catalyst for last season's big improvement? Increased ability to miss bats; his whiff rate rose from 9.6% in 2009 to 11.2% in 2010.
SP No. 2: RHP Tommy Hanson, Atlanta
He hasn't had a Weaver-like breakout yet, but it shouldn't surprise anybody if that happens in 2011. And even if it doesn't, he's still a solid No. 2 starter, so complaints should be minimal.
SP No. 3: RHP Max Scherzer, Detroit
You'll notice that pretty much all of these starters have the potential to breakout in 2011. Scherzer is no different, but durability and efficiency are at the center of his issues. He's proven that he can be dominant when he's on the mound, though, as evidenced by his second-half numbers from last season.
SP No. 4: LHP Jonathan Sanchez, San Francisco
His ERA's have dropped from 5.01 to 4.24 to 3.07 over the past three seasons, but his actual improvement hasn't been nearly as substantial. He's still got the raw talent to take a step forward, but after three years you wonder if he simply he who he is.
SP No. 5: RHP Edwin Jackson, Chicago (AL)
Took Jackson over the three guys in long relief below. I'd like to Jurrjens back at full health, and I like Jackson's upside compared to Lowe or Pelfrey. You can't ignore the Don Cooper Factor, either.
Closer: RHP Rafael Soriano, New York (AL)
The only elite reliever that Boras has as a client depending on your perception of Madson, so he's the closer here even though he couldn't land a closer role this winter. Luckily, he's got $35 million to console himself with.
Middle Relief: RHP Ryan Madson, Philadelphia; LHP Mike Gonzalez, Baltimore; RHP Tony Pena, Chicago (AL)
As you can probably tell, relievers haven't been a major strength for Boras. He doesn't have a ton of clients that work in relief, although I'm guessing that some of the prospects that he represents will eventually have to move to the bullpen. Until then, you're banking on Philly's set-up man, Baltimore's closer-turned-middle reliever and a piece from Chicago's long relief crew.
Long Relief: RHP Derek Lowe, Atlanta; Mike Pelfrey, New York (NL); RHP Jair Jurrjens, Atlanta
The best of the guys that couldn't make it in the rotation. Boras represents three-fifths of Atlanta's quality rotation, a solid portion of the Boras clients that reside in starting rotations. I wasn't planning on slotting this many starters into the bullpen, but Boras just doesn't represent that many good relievers.