Scott Boras is one of the top sports agents in the world – and he’s now representing one of the premier closers in the game in K-Rod, Francisco Rodriguez of the New York Mets. He’s also got some exciting young players in his arsenal. I caught up with Scott Boras this week in Long Beach, where he was the keynote speaker, addressing more than 400 baseball enthusiasts at the Society for American Baseball Research.
Scott grew up in Elk Grove, California where he worked on his dad’s dairy farm. Scott was a hot baseball prospect ( a lifetime .288 hitter he adds) – but his dad insisted that he milk the cows every day before he could head to the ballpark. And when you’ve got 2oo cows to milk, that can be a problem – especially when the star cow was also the slowest bovine in the barn. And that, Boras stated, is where he learned how to manage talent. Somehow he motivated his top cow to produce milk faster so he could get to the diamond on time. He’s been using those motivational techniques ever since in winning some of the most lucrative contracts for his clients.
After the speech, I talked with Scott Boras and asked him about two of his star clients – we’ll start first with Bryce Harper, the 18 year old phenom who’s considered by many scouts and seasoned baseball experts to be the top prospect in all of Major League Baseball. He’s moving up fast in the minors – he was hitting .314 in single A ball with 14 HRs and 46 RBI – but will soon be playing for the Washington Nationals – perhaps as early as next year. Here’s the transcript of my one-on-one interview with Scott Boras.
ML: “Bryce Harper has just been promoted to AA. Everybody’s very pumped up about this kid. What do you like best about Bryce Harper?
SB: Bryce is a very bright person. I had to develop a plan for him where we had to put him – he couldn’t play in high school because he was too skilled and they just walked him all the time – so we put him into a junior college when he should have been a junior in high school, to take on the academics, to really qualify to do that by taking on a GED when he’s not even taking the classes that are covering the exams.”
“Bryce’s skills extend far beyond the playing field,” Boras explained. He added, “In his whole life he’s always been playing with players who are 3-4 years his senior. Now he’s in AA and he again is the youngest player in the league and everybody is far older than him, so he’s in very familiar territory.
Nothing Bryce does as a talent surprises me,” Boras told me. “He’s a very, very driven young man, talented, with the greatest power I’ve ever seen in a player at high school age – I’m talking Griffey, A-Rod, you can go down the list of all the players I’ve seen in high school. So he’s a very extraordinary talent.
ML: What impact do you see him having on the game say, five years down the road – where do you see him?
SB: I’m very excited because Bryce is going to bring with him a generation. He will be ‘The’ player for all those people that were born in the ’90s – and that may go back to the ’80s and it may transfer to those born in the 2000s. So he’s going to be somebody who’s going to be a very important part of Major League Baseball, a very important part of a franchise and I think he’s going to really, really handle it well because he’s such a bright person and he has such a passion for the game.”
Next up: we’ll hear Scott Boras’s take on another star client, Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals. Find out why Scott Boras says Strasburg will come back from Tommy John surgery, even stronger than before he was injured. Look for it in my next blog, later this week.