The deadline to sign draft picks is upon us, and yet again we are reminded of the effect of Scott Boras. Boras controls six players who were drafted in the first round this year, and all remain unsigned. It is no surprise that several teams have decided not to draft Boras’s clients by choice. Other small market teams are not able to draft his clients due to financial reasons, often allowing a player that would have been drafted higher to drop to a large market team.
Drafting a Boras Client comes with significant risk; a team will be investing a large amount of money in a completely unproven player. In 1996 Scott Boras found a loophole that gave free agency to four first round picks. One never reached the majors; another was the Diamondbacks first big draft pick, Travis Lee, who featured career batting average of .256 in his eight year career that spanned four different teams.
In 2004 the Diamondbacks drafted another Boras client, shortstop Stephen Drew, and again in 2007 with pitcher Max Scherzer. Both were signed literally minutes before they would have missed the signing deadline and reentered the next year’s draft. That shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone as Stephen’s brother and fellow Boras player, JD Drew, refused to sign with the Phillies a few years prior and reentered the draft the following year.
Not only are Boras draft picks signing at very high figures, but also his free agent clients. Looking at the past few years and several notable signings it appears that more often than not the team that signs his clients is overpaying. Many of his clients either immediately under perform when they get their contract or never live up to the hype that Boras creates. Below are a few examples of his clients along with their salaries and recent achievements to earn those salaries.
Rick Ankiel: 2009 salary, $2.8 million, current batting average .234
Adrian Beltre: 2009 salary $13.4 million, has never hit above .290 except 2004, his free agent year.
Johnny Damon: 2009 salary $13 million, current batting average .283. Since 2006, the year that he signed with the Yankees, he has hit over .300 only once.
J.D. Drew: 2009 salary $14 million, since 2005 when his salary jumped from $4.2 million to $9.4 million he has not hit over .300
Daisuke Matsuzaka: 2009 salary $8.3 million, career ERA 4.11.
Oliver Perez: $12 million career ERA 4.48
Jeff Weaver 2007 salary 8.3 million (2009 salary unknown), career ERA 4.68
Barry Zito 2009 salary $18.5 million, since 2007 has not had an ERA under 4.
The lack of success of so many of his clients begs the question, why would anyone even bother signing a Boras guy? The player you get most likely won’t earn the money he’s being paid. Sure there are a few players that he represents that are among the best in baseball, such as Mark Texeira and Prince Fielder, but for the most part they are mediocre players with inflated salaries. The money that he gets for his players show that he is probably the best at what he does, it’s too bad the players he represents can’t say the same.