The Scott Boras All Star Team

This Valentine’s Day thousands of husbands bought their wives and girlfriends diamond necklaces. Los Angeles Angels’ first baseman Kendry Morales took his wife to a meeting with super agent Scott Boras and promised that next season (after either arbitration or a massive contract extension) he will be making enough to buy her a diamond encrusted house in Orange County.

Yes, the dark side has claimed another to the ire of general managers everywhere. It seems to many that each year Boras finds another all star to sign to his agency and now Morales has been added to his stable of superstars, up-and-comers, washed out veterans, and minor league hopefuls. Once I heard about the Morales signing I began thinking: what if Boras just fielded his own team, a sort of Harlem Globetrotters of MLB baseball? Who would be on his 25-man roster?

I looked over the most accurate list I could find and this is the team I decided to put on the road, entertaining (and costing) many millions.


David Newhan (Player-coach for the Phillies Triple-A teams, the Lehugh Valley IronPigs)


Starting Rotation:

RHP Jered Weaver (Los Angeles Angels, 27, $465,000)
RHP Jair Jurrjens (Atlanta Braves, 24, $450,000)
RHP Derek Lowe (Atlanta Braves, 36, $15 million)
RHP Kevin Millwood (Baltimore Orioles, 35, $12.9 million)
RHP Edwin Jackson (Arizona Diamondbacks, 26, $2.2 million)


Middle Relief:

RHP Micah Owings (Cincinnati Reds, 27, $420,000)
LHP Bobby Seay (Detroit Tigers, 31, $1.3 million)
LHP Ron Villone (Free Agent, 40, $500,000)
RHP Zach Miner (Detroit Tigers, 27, $437,500)
RHP Ryan Madson (Philidelphia Phillies, 29, $2.3 million)


LHP Mike Gonzalez (Baltimore Orioles, 31, $3.5 million)

Thoughts: The first impressions are not good. There is not a southpaw in sight in the starting rotation because and the bullpen is a mess without a true closer.

Taken individually the starters are not bad at all, the issue is that without a left hander in the mix all a team has to do is load up on players that bat on the left side of the plate to do some major damage.

The bullpen lacks any signs of decent middle relief. There is not a player in this stable that posted an ERA less 4.00 and the closer is only listed as such because he has been penciled in as such for the Orioles. Gonzalez has one season under his belt as full time closer and that season came three years ago before middle relief with occasional spot duty at the end of games became his accepted role.

For this team to do anything but finish in last place it sure better have some hitting.


Catchers: (S) Matt Weiters (Baltimore Orioles, 23, $400,000)
First Base: (S) Mark Teixeira (New York Yankees, 29, $20.7 million)
Second Base: (R) Willie Bloomquist (Kansas City Royals, 32, $1.4 million)
Third Base: (R) Adrian Beltre (Boston Red Sox, 30, $13.4 million)
Shortstop: (L) Stephen Drew (Arizona Diamondbacks, 26, $1.5 million)


C: (R) Ivan Rodriguez (Washington Nationals, 38, $1.5 million)
1B/DH: (L) Prince Fielder (Milwaukee Brewers, 25, $7 million)
3B: (R) Joe Crede (Free Agent, 32, $2.5 million)
UT: (L) Alex Cora (New York Mets, 34, $2 million)


Left Field: (R) Manny Ramirez (Los Angeles Dodgers, 37, $23.9 million)
Centerfield: (L) Jacoby Ellsbury (Boston Red Sox, 26, $450,000)
Right Field: (S) Carlos Beltran (New York Mets, 32, $19.2 million)


(R) Matt Holliday (St. Louis Cardinals, 30, N/A)
(L) Chris Coghlan (Florida Marlins, 24, N/A)

Thoughts: This team needs hitting to counteract the ominous look of the pitching. Of course this is a Scott Boras team, so if they could somehow start four first baseman they would be in great shape; however, that is not the case, but the team still has some more than decent fire power.

First baseman Mark Teixeira, left fielder Manny Rameriz, right fielder Carlos Beltran, and center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury are offensive studs. If the team has a DH then the Boras All Stars get to choose between Prince Fielder, Matt Holliday, and Chris Coghlan, not bad at all.

There is even a possibility that Adrian Beltre could return to his form from two years ago and add 20-plus homeruns to this lineup. I would put Alex Rodriguez at third base but I am not surehow civil the relationship is between the agent and the superstar (remember, ARod negotiated his own massive contract with the Yankees). The issues for this team are quite similar to issues for other teams, the middle of the infield and catcher may be good defensively, but they offer nothing at the plate.

Let’s put it this way, the starting second baseman is a utility player in Kansas City, which is a nice way of saying he could not even start for the Royals. The shortstop is the Drew offspring that was never supposed to amount to much (J.D. is J.D. and Tim was a top pitching prospect). The catching situation is not much better with a career backup calling signals.

Final Analysis: The Scott Boras All Stars would not be much of a traveling road show. They may have plenty of fire power but have major weaknesses throughout the pitching staff. This would be a team that would most likely finish near .500 if they were lucky over a full MLB baseball schedule, which is not good for a team with the fourth highest payroll in the league ($134,625,500).

MLB MVP Discussion

The first half of the baseball season is over and after Tuesday night’s All Star game the pennant race really begins. Well, as the pennant race begins, so must the quest for the MVP award and like the first place teams in each division, certain players already have a huge advantage.

American League

Joe Mauer, C, Minnesota Twins

.373 BA, 15 HR, 49 RBI, 49 R, .447 OBP, 622 SLG

Joe Mauer’s raw numbers may not seem overly impressive. His homerun, RBI, and run totals do not fall even close to the top ten in the AL. However, these numbers do not account for his absence for the entire first month of baseball. He missed at least 100 at bats. His percentage numbers tell the whole truth about his performance this year and those numbers (batting average, on base percentage, and slugging percentage) are the best in the league. Only recently did his at bat numbers qualify, so now he can officially be referred to as the best hitter in the American League.

He still has not qualified for defensive considerations though. His unqualified numbers have him catching .303 of runners and he has a fielding percentage of .994. Those numbers will be good enough to be deemed an average defensive catcher if gets enough time behind the plate to qualify by the end of the season.

The only real knock on Mauer is that the Twins are in third place in the AL Central with a 45-44 record. The record without Mauer in the lineup is 11-11, so his reinsertion into the batting lineup has not changed the fortune of the Twins. Furthermore, MVP awards are given to players from the top teams and being in third place in the AL Central does not make a team a top tier ball club. Heck, finishing first place in the AL Central does not mean that the team is that good. His MVP numbers may be squandered by a team that hardly plays MVP ball.

Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Detroit Tigers

.321 BA, 18 HR, 50 RBI, 52 R, .384 OBP, .542 SLG

Miguel Cabrera has phenomenal all-around offensive numbers for a team that struggles a little bit offensively. He makes solid contact as well as hits for power. He can be counted on to drive in run as well as simply get on base. He can do everything a manager can ask from the number three slot. He is also a decent fielder and plays on a first place team. All these things are in his favor.

The problem is twofold. First he plays in Detroit. Detroit will not get much mention beyond their place in the standings until the postseason. There will be no poetic columns read nationally singing praises for Cabrera. Despite the city newspaper, the Detroit Free Press, traditionally having one of the best sports sections in the country, it is hardly referenced when discussing sports anywhere but in Detroit.

Second the only major stat where he places in the top 10 is for batting average, for which he is tied for third. He is just outside the top 10 for on base percentage, slugging percentage, and home runs and is just in the top 30 for runs scored and RBI.

He is great at just about everything, but particularly excels at nothing. Mauer overshadows his best stat, so he has nothing to hook voters. I fear that he will go unnoticed. Then again, Dustin Pedroia won the award last year with a .326 batting average, 17 HR, 83 RBI, 118 R, 20 SB, and a .376 OBP, which are hardly drop dead gorgeous numbers to the average fan, so perhaps the voters will recognize Cabrera.

Mark Teixeira, 1B, New York Yankees

.275 BA, 21 HR, 63 RBI, 56 R, .378 OBP, .535 SLG

One player that has sexy numbers to spare is Mark Teixeria. He is tied for fourth in home runs, fifth in RBI, and ninth in walks. The rest of his numbers, apart from batting average are respectable (meaning good enough to make the top 20). That batting average is heating up as well, so it could reach an even more respectable place on the first page of ESPN’s AL stat page.

Teixeira also has a terrific fielding percentage of .999 with just a single error in 82 games. I have not watched him play much since I live in Chicago, but I have read an article or two praising his defense. (On a side note, there has to be a better stat for defense than range factor. I have watched Paul Konerko play and he is nowhere quick enough to have a range in the top three in the AL.)

Teixeira also has the advantage of playing in the media capital of the sports world and the advantage of playing in a power-hitter friendly ballpark. If the experts look at his splits that ballpark advantage could become a disadvantage though. He has a .300 average and .613 slugging percentage at New Yankee Stadium but only a .251 average and .462 slugging percentage on the road. Those numbers, the great gulf between them, may end up tarnishing his chances of winning the AL MVP, but I highly doubt it.

Kevin Youkilis, 1B/3B, Boston Red Sox

.298 BA, 16 HR, 53 RBI, 56 R, .419 OBP, .566 SLG

The Boston Red Sox have the best record in the American League along with one of the best offenses so someone has to be mentioned in the MVP race. Just a month ago Kevin Youkilis was that player without question. Since then his numbers have seen enough of a drop to give him competition from Jason Bay.

Bay has an abysmal average (.260) and a decent slugging percentage (.527), but a great home run number (20) and RBI number (72). Still Youkilis has great all around numbers. His on base percentage and slugging percentage are in the top six in the league. The reality is that Youkilis missed enough time with an injury to fall about 60 at bats behind the rest of the stat leaders.

Considering that he has had fewer at bats, his home run, run, and RBI totals are good, but still not great. If he can get his average over .300 again then he could be a major player for the MVP again. He appeared to have returned to that great hitting form in the five games before the All Star break, so who knows, he could be the second consecutive Boston Red Sox player to win the AL MVP.

Torii Hunter, CF, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

.305 BA, 17 HR, 65 RBI, 56 R, 13 SB, .380 OBP, .558 SLG

Torii Hunter is in the top 10 for RBI and slugging percentage; the top 15 for batting average, runs, and on base percentage; and the top 20 for homeruns and stolen bases. He plays for the first place Angels in the AL West. He is one of the best fielding center fielders as well, with no errors, a decent range factor (yes, I bemoaned this stat earlier, but I think this stat has some validity in the outfield). Torii Hunter is the complete five-tool baseball player.

He is having the best season of his career at the age of 33. Still I get the feeling that he is too far under the radar. I just do not hear enough talk about his great season because he does no one thing particularly well. He is also overshadowed by Manny Ramirez in Los Angeles, which means that he may not get enough local media support to seriously compete for the AL MVP.

National League

Albert Pujols, 1B, St. Louis Cardinals

.332 BA, 32 HR, 87 RBI, 73 R, .456 OBP, .723 SLG, 10 SB

There is simply no other player to consider in the National League. Pujols is playing not only for the NL MVP and the NL Central title, but for the Triple Crown. He leads the NL in homeruns, RBI, runs, on base percentage, and slugging percentage. These are not small leads. These are sizable leads. His batting average is good for fourth in the NL and is 17 points from first place and four points from second.

Hanley Ramirez, the current batting average leader, is the only player keeping Pujols from being the first player to win the Triple Crown (finishing first in batting average, homeruns, and RBI) in the majors since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967 and the first player in the National League to win the elusive honor since Joe Mewick of the Cardinals in 1937.

Even if Manny Ramirez has a torrid rest of the summer he could not overcome the steroid suspension. Raul Ibanez of the Philadelphia Phillies was competing for the crown and the MVP earlier but he began to make less and less contact and then was on the DL for nearly a month. Pujols is the unquestioned leader and only consideration for the MVP in the NL right now.

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The Baseball Worthiness of the American League All Stars

It now less than a month until the All Star teams are announced, something I realized this weekend when I received a ballot at my baseball game of the season. I looked at the ballot and realized that I really did not have a clue who to vote for (even though I get to vote 25 times according to the MLB website). My attention has been waning as my favorite team has been busy dashing all my delusional spring training hopes. The only stats I really know are those for the players on my fantasy team, so I took about an hour and looked at the list of names and decided who actually deserves to make an appearance at the game and contemplated who many players will get voted on just because of rabid fans and name recognition.

First Base

Mark Teixeira of the New York Yankees is leading the voting with Kevin Youkilis of the Boston Red Sox not too far behind. Teixeira has definitely been earning his $20 million contract with numbers like a .284 batting average, 20 home runs (tied for first in the AL), and 54 RBI (third in the AL). Youkilis, when healthy, has been a different kind of phenomenal. He is hitting .331 (third in the AL), with good power (11 home runs in 49 games), and a .461 on base percentage (leading the majors).

Though it is not surprising that these two players, from two very popular baseball markets are leading the way, I cannot be too upset with their leading the way so far. Still, I think that the best first baseman so far may actually play in Minnesota for the Twins. Justin Morneau has an excellence balance of contact and power, hitting .329, 16 home runs, driving in 54 RBI, and having a very respectable on base percentage of .401(7th in the AL). Though none of his numbers are league leading numbers, many are in the top ten if not the top five, making the best all around offensive player at his position.

Second Base

This position has two clear favorites, Ian Kinsler from the Texas Rangers and Dustin Pedroia from the Red Sox. Neither is a defensive stud, but nor are they defensive liabilities. Both players have good speed along the base paths as well, with both players in double figures for stolen bases. Kinsler is leading the voting right now thanks to his 15 home runs and 44 RBI. His average (.260) and his on base percentage (.339) are lacking to say the least though. Pedroia is riding waves of support from a strong Red Sox fan base and name recognition (he won the AL MVP last season), but can be justified since he flourishes where Kinsler struggles. He has the best on base percentage among AL second basemen (.387) and decent average (.293). His power numbers are typical of a second baseman, with a mere two home runs.

I think that fans are forgetting a player north of the border though. Aaron Hill is the 27-year-old coming back from an injury with a .313 average, 14 home runs, 44 RBI, and a .351 on base percentage. He does not have the speed of Kinsler and Pedroia, and is a tad worse of a fielder, but his all around numbers make him the best dark horse with the Kansas City Royal’s Alberto Callaspo and the Cleveland Indians Asdrubal Cabrera getting honorable mentions for penchant for making contact.

Third Base

I was worried that fans would get this one wrong and thrust Alex Rodriguez into first place despite the fact that he missed 28 games with an injury (and becoming the latest star to taint the game). He is in second though, but about a million votes short of catching up to the Tampa Bay Rays Evan Longoria. Longoria is hitting .305, has 14 home runs, 58 RBI, 42 runs, a respectable on base percentage of .387, and a very good slugging percentage of .584. He is an average fielder too, so he is not going to embarrass anyone at third base.

I think he is the right choice as a starter. I hope that Chone Figgins of the Los Angeles Angels gets the respect he deserves and gets a bench spot since he is fifth in the AL in hitting with a .326 average and fourth in the AL in stolen bases with 22 steals.


Beloved Yankee Derek Jeter is by far the leader in votes for his position. He should be too. Jeter is the best qualified hitting player at shortstop with a .310 average, he leads his position in home runs with nine, he is tied for the lead in RBI with 30, he has good speed numbers with 13 steals, and he is still a phenomenal fielder.

The Rays Jason Bartlett is in second place and makes a very compelling case for himself. He is hitting .373 (but lacks the number of at bats to qualify for the league leader board since he only has 161 at bats thanks to an ankle injury), has seven home runs, 30 RBI, 32 runs, and 14 steals. He is not a terrible fielder either. If he had not been injured and he kept up his performance he should have been leading the votes, but he was and still deserves to be mentioned.


For the catcher position there are only two players to even consider, Victor Martinez from the Cleveland Indians and Joe Maurer from the Minnesota Twins. Martinez would be listed under DH, but this year the All Star game is in a National League ballpark, the St Louis Cardinals’ Busch Stadium, so he and his abysmal .100 caught stealing percentage is listed as a catcher. He is in fifth place probably because he plays in Cleveland, but should be higher on the list because of his .335 batting average and 45 RBI.

Joe Maurer is right where he should be on the list, in first place in the All Star voting for catchers. He has only had 152 at bats because he was injured for the first month of the season, but he still has 13 home runs, 40 RBI, 35 runs, a .486 on base percentage, a .743 slugging percentage, and a .414 batting average in just 41 games. He also has a decent arm behind the plate, catching 36.8 percent of those who try and run on him. He is having a monster season and could be in the running for the MVP if the Twins can catch the Tigers for first place in the Central division.


The leading all star vote getters are Jason Bay from the Red Sox, Ichiro Suzuki from the Mariners, and Josh Hamilton from the Rangers. Bay is All Star worthy with 17 home runs (3rd in the AL), 61 RBI (1st in the majors), a good on base percentage (.401), and a good batting average (.286). Ichiro is leading the AL with a .360 average despite being on a team with no offensive support. That alone makes him All Star worthy. Hamilton is the dreaded undeserving player. He has been injured on and off throughout the season and his performance has suffered with only six home runs, 24 RBI, and a .240 batting average. Despite his poor numbers he is second among outfielders and, thus, set to start. I think a much better player would be Carl Crawford. He is hitting .316, has an on base percentage of .380, and is leading the majors with 36 stolen bases. If fans want more power, then they should vote for Torii Hunter who has 16 home runs to go along with a .319 batting average, 51 RBI, 44 runs, and 11 stolen bases. Personally I think Crawford deserves thee starting All Star nod, not Hunter and definitely not Hamilton, who is being lifted by a strong Rangers vote campaign.

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