He's right of course that the track record for pitchers taken number one is not as good as for position players. If you could choose between a consensus top position player and a consensus top pitcher, I think we'd all agree that you'd be safer and happier with the consensus top position player, if nothing else because of the injury factor.
But the obvious point that he's missing is that we're not drafting number one in a year in which an Alex Rodriguez or a Chipper Jones or a Ken Griffey is on the board. Just because you take a hitter #1 doesn't mean he's going to be a star. If you reach for a guy who isn't really a #1 talent, you get Matt Bush. Regardless, there's no ARod on the board--not even close.
The consensus top talent in the draft by far going away is Strasburg, a guy who is seriously being discussed by serious, smart baseball people as perhaps the best pitching prospect ever.
To pass on the best player available--to pass on this best player available--over either fear of pitchers or fear of Boras would be a disastrous debacle. This would be Matt Bush, Daniel Moskos, and Brian Bullington rolled into one times ten.
Also, consider this: the 2009 draft is shaping up as an overwhelmingly pitching-heavy draft at the top. If you follow Boz's admonition to avoid a pitcher at #1, you aren't only skipping the consensus #1, you are also skipping the current consensus #2, North Carolina right-hander Alex White. So, looking at Baseball America's top 100 draft prospect list, that leaves you with USC SS Grant Green, UNC 1B/OF Dustin Ackley, or Cartersville (GA) High School OF Donovan Tate. Good players, but not special, #1 pick type talents.
Oh, but then there's one other problem: Ackley, Green, and Tate are all Boras clients. So I guess according to Boz we can't take them either. After these three, the next seven prospects are all pitchers--11 of 14 top prospects on the board.
To find a hitter not represented by Scott Boras you have to drop all the way to Luke Bailey, the high school catcher out of Georgia. That's not what you should be rooting for Boz.
One last point: as Keith Law pointed out on the Baseball Think Factory chat, it's a myth that Boras clients don't sign:
The vast majority of Boras clients taken in the first round sign. Only one of five didn't last year, and that wasn't over money but over the kid's desire to go to school (or just his flaky makeup, depending on whom you ask). The year before, there were four, and they all signed. In 2006, I count three, and all signed.Mark it down: if the Nationals draft Strasburg and fail to sign him, it'll be on the Nationals, not Boras.