Mar. 4, 2012; Fort Myers, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox first baseman Lars Anderson hits a grand slam against the Minnesota Twins at JetBlue Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE
This trade is hardly a blockbuster, but it does involve a couple of interesting players. At the deadline, the Boston Red Sox traded first base semi-prospect Lars Anderson to the Cleveland Indians for Steven Wright, a knuckleball pitcher. Here's the rundown.
Lars Anderson, 1B: If anyone ever needed a change of scenery, it is Lars Anderson. Although drafted in the 18th round in 2006, he was considered a possible first round talent who fell due to signability. He was very impressive in A-ball and ranked as one of the top hitters in the minors entering 2009, but since then his bat has stagnated. He's received three brief trials in the majors but hasn't done much with them, hitting .167/.268/.188 over 48 at-bats. That's a small sample spread over three seasons, however his Triple-A production has been inadequate for a first baseman, hitting .259/.359/.415 this year for example. That's just not enough to force your way into a major league lineup.
Anderson is a 6-4, 215 pound left-handed hitter, born September 25, 1987. He has a good eye and has drawn 56 walks this year, but his swing hasn't consistently translated his physical strength into useable power on the field. He's a solid defender at first base, but an experiment in left field this year hasn't convinced anyone that he can stick there. Perhaps the trade will help unlock his bat.
Steven Wright, RHP: Wright was a second round pick of the Indians in 2006, from the University of Hawaii. Originally a conventional pitcher with a standard arsenal (low-90s fastball, good slider), his effectiveness topped out in Triple-A and it looked like he had no real shot at the majors. He reinvented himself as a knuckleball pitcher, throwing the pitch 70% of the time, and the results have been strong: 2.49 ERA, 101/62 K/BB in 116 innings, 86 hits for Double-A Akron.
Wright is listed at 6-1, 200 pounds, a right-handed hitter and thrower, born August 30, 1984. Like any other knuckleballer developing the arcane craft, he doesn't always know where the pitch is going and is still learning how to use it. This makes his future impossible to predict or project through conventional objective or subjective means. He's certainly interesting, and it wouldn't surprise me to see him have a run of major league success eventually.