Three years ago, the 2014 Arkansas Razorbacks won 40 games and ended up making the regionals of the NCAA baseball tournament. That team had Andrew Benintendi, who is now one of the main contributors in the Boston Red Sox offense. However, Benintendi didn’t lead the Razorbacks in many offensive categories that year.
That player was shortstop Brian Anderson, who had seven home runs, drove in 51 runs, and had an on-base percentage of .401. During that season, he was in the top ten in SEC in home runs, RBI’s, and slugging percentage.
The Miami Marlins ended up selecting Anderson in the third round of the 2014 MLB Draft. He was mainly a shortstop in college, but has played his professional career at third base and second base. In three professional seasons, he has worked his way up to the Triple-A New Orleans Baby Cakes.
Anderson was promoted to New Orleans on July 15 and has played well since the promotion. In 27 games, he has a slash line of .354/.418/.625 with seven home runs, 22 RBI’s, and has two or more hits in 11 games (one three-hit game on August 7 against Albuquerque).
However, he did have to leave Wednesday night’s game against Round Rock due to a concussion, according to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com
The Marlins have one of the lower ranked farm systems in baseball, but Anderson is one of their top prospects. In the preseason, John had him as the second best prospect in the organization. Here is what John had to say in his midseason review published earlier this week:
2) Brian Anderson, 3B, Grade B-/C+: Age 24, third round pick in 2014 from University of Arkansas; hitting .271/.355/.483 between Double-A and Triple-A, showing more power this year, defense has also improved. Sleeper although an older prospect at this point.
Last fall, Anderson had a chance to play for the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League. He hit .273 in 22 games with five home runs and 12 RBI’s. Here is some video of Anderson’s swing from the Arizona Fall League, courtesy of Fangraphs.
Compared to his time at Double-A Jacksonville this year, his line drive rate has gone up, but the groundball rate has gone up too. Last year, he hit a groundball 40% of the time. This season, that number has gone up to 48% (Fangraphs). That number is high considering that there are many hitter friendly ballparks in the Pacific Coast League.
While the groundball rate has gone up, Anderson is able to pick up a lot of extra-base hits. Down in Jacksonville this year (Southern League), about 40% of his hits were for extra bases. He had 14 home runs with the Jumbo Shrimp, which is still second on the team in that category.
During spring training, the Marlins had him in camp as a non-roster invitee. On Wednesday, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald wrote that Anderson could be in play for the Marlins third base job should certain roster moves happen
“Anderson likely will get every chance to win the third base job if the Marlins succeed in trading Martin Prado this winter. Prado is due $13.5 in 2018, $15 million in 2019.”
With Prado out due to injury, the Marlins have mainly been using Derek Dietrich and Mike Aviles as the third base options this year. Depending on how long Anderson’s concussion keeps him out for, that could determine whether or not he makes it to the bigs this year.
While Anderson might not make it to the big leagues this year, it’s certain the Marlins have high hopes for him in the future. Hopefully he gets better soon after the concussion.