On Oct. 26, 2000, the New York Yankees took down the cross-town Mets in five games to win their third straight World Series, capping off a stretch of dominance matched by few in the history of the sport.
Since then, however, no team has managed to win even two World Series titles in a row. That’s a stretch of 19 consecutive seasons without a repeat champion—the longest such streak in MLB history.
As the sport has emerged into a multi-billion-dollar business with teams pouring resources into analytics departments and devising methods to gain a competitive edge any way they can, it’s become increasingly more difficult for champions to run it back the following year.
Scott Boras has been representing professional baseball players as an agent since the 1980s and has since developed into one of the most powerful sports agents in the world. He joined NBC Sports Washington’s Todd Dybas and Chase Hughes on Friday’s episode of the Nationals Talk podcast, where he was asked why he believes teams have struggled so much to go back to back.
“You normally see that the pitching staffs get exhausted in their run for the championship and because of that—you have those top three starters or four starters and the closers in the bullpen—you’ve got a fatigue factor where you go and look and those pitchers are not able to repeat what they did the prior year,” Boras said.
“However, with the Nationals I think there’s an asterisk on that because Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg are players that, they are who they are. I don’t think [Patrick] Corbin innings-wise was overtly stretched in 2019 so that impact on the pitching I think may be to a lesser extent for the Nationals.”
Boras, of course, represents both Scherzer and Strasburg—as well as Juan Soto and many other players on the Nationals—so it comes as no surprise that he believes Washington’s star pitchers are capable of retaining their 2019 form.
It also helps that the start of the 2020 season has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, giving the Nationals’ starters plenty of time to rest after the playoffs cut their offseason short.
Yet the pitching isn’t the only reason why Boras believes in the Nationals. Despite All-Star third baseman Anthony Rendon (another Boras client) departing for the Los Angeles Angels in free agency, the longtime agent is optimistic about what the future holds for the Nationals’ young outfield duo of Soto and Victor Robles.
“The other aspect of it is too is you got a Robles and a Juan Soto, who I think are going to produce more,” Boras said. “I also think the overall outfield of the Nationals has the ability to probably get more production out of it than they did in ’19. And the key factor will be for them is a very, very key player is no longer on the Nationals and it’s very hard to replace Anthony Rendon.
“So, with the outfield performance increase and the fact that depending how the young players from the minor leagues step in and fill that hole, I think that’ll be the measurement we’re going to look at to say which will be outcome determinative of how well the Nationals do in their quest to repeat.”
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