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2016 Arizona Fall League update: Marlins prospect Brian Anderson

Miami Marlins prospect Brian Anderson struggled at times during the regular 2016 season but has performed well enough to stand out in the Arizona Fall League.

Minor League Baseball: Arizona Fall League-Fall Stars Game Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

In 2014, the Miami Marlins drafted infielder Brian Anderson in the third round from the University of Arkansas. At the time he appeared to be a player who could move quickly through the farm system with a mixture of power, speed, and defensive versatility.

However, Anderson’s 2015 season was quite disappointing: just a .235/.304/.340 slash line in High-A. He returned to that level in 2016 and got off to a good start (.302/.380/.440 in 182 at-bats) but slumped after being promoted to Double-A (.243/.333/.359 in 301 at-bats).

The Arizona Fall League has been better: .306/.380/.532 with four homers and two doubles in 62 at-bats. Of particular note is solid strike zone judgment, with eight walks against seven strikeouts.

At age 23, Anderson is still fairly young. He’s athletic with average to slightly above-average speed and a strong throwing arm (60-grade) that works very well at third base. He also has experience at second base and is a generally very solid defender at both positions. He has no professional innings at shortstop or the outfield but is instinctive enough that he could probably play those positions in an adequate manner if given an opportunity.

Anderson’s future will depend on his bat. At his best he shows solid-average power and some knack for the strike zone, but his production as a pro hasn’t matched expectations. Whether the Arizona performance is a a precursor to a 2017 breakthrough or a small-sample fluke remains to be seen, but his bat should be tracked closely in the spring.