Creating Opportunity Is The Heart Of The Boras Baseball Classic
SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, Calif.—The origin of the Boras Baseball Classic is pretty simple.
Scott Boras—the tournament’s namesake and the most well-known agent in baseball—had a passion for the game and was blessed with the opportunity to make a successful career within the sport.
While Boras was drafted in the third round of the 1975 January draft by the Kansas City Royals, he played just four seasons with the Cardinals and Cubs organizations before his playing career ended. Still, baseball gave him an opportunity. And that is his sole purpose in bringing together the 16 best teams in Northern California and the 16 best teams in Southern California and pitting them against one another—to create an opportunity for as many players as possible.
“The other thing that’s most rewarding for me,” Boras said Thursday at JSerra high school, “is that you have student-athletes come up to you and say, ‘I played in your tournament and my college coach saw me there. And he took interest in me and that interest wasn’t there before.’
“It arrived in scholarships and education and we’ve gotten letters in the office where players have gone to college, graduated—they are off in life—and they say that the tournament helped them find a place to play baseball and get an education and advance their lives.”
And that opportunity doesn’t necessarily mean gaining attention from scouts and one day signing a big league signing bonus. Though lately, that has happened to be an influencer in players who competed in the Boras Classic later getting drafted.
Both Mickey Moniak—with La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad, Calif.) High—and Royce Lewis—with JSerra (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) High—played in the Boras Classic the spring before being drafted No. 1 overall by the Phillies and Twins, respectively.
“I think the college coaches and the scouting community provide a standard,” Boras said, citing the people who help select the Boras Classic field every year. “For them to evaluate players at levels where they can compete against the best hitter, against the best pitcher. I think the rarity of that in high school sports, it’s often hit or miss for them. And this tournament creates a greater likelihood of that happening and allows for players to be seen at levels that are important too.
“Royce played here and I know the Minnesota Twins got a chance to see him play in the tournament, face a premium pitcher, a draftable pitcher and a lot of times during a season in the league, the matchups may not be there to allow that to happen.”
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Smith turned in one of the best pitching performances of the tournament, striking out 12 batters over five innings.
But while the event can help teams figure out who they want to select in the early stages of the draft—including the 2018 tournament, which includes potential top pick Brice Turang—for Boras it simply comes back to proving as many players as possible the opportunity to allow baseball to advance their lives.
“For a lot of people that are in our game,” Boras said, “probably the biggest and proudest thing everyone gets to say is that everything we have in our lives has come from this beginning. That first scholarship, that first bonus you receive in the draft, the education that evolved from it. So the grass roots of our lives are baseball.
“And while I can’t prevent football, basketball from happening in America we can certainly do our best to create a focus on a sport that is the level and passion of our lives and something that allows a stature, a camaraderie and also where a parent can look and say, ‘If my child goes into this game, he is going to be assured of something that is very meaningful to his life.’ Whether it be at the professional level, and for most hopefully at the collegiate level and they can get that education and baseball is really that door to the education, so that they can go on and have successful lives.”