I had a chance to watch Miami Marlins outfielder Brian Anderson for the better part of the 2016 and 2017 minor league seasons down here in Jacksonville. You knew right away from watching him at the plate, he was going to be a star for this organization. It was only a matter of time.
Now, with 101 hits in 92 games to go along with a .284 batting average and a team-leading 45 RBI, could the rookie who has spent time at both third base and the outfield take home the National League Rookie of the Year Award?
In seeing how he has adapted to playing on the Major League level this season, I would think it is a strong possibility.
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Personnel within the Marlins organization knew about Anderson and his ability, but it was the Sirus XM Futures Game last season that helped make him more of a household name. While playing in Marlins Park during All-Star weekend, Anderson smacked two hits to help the United States beat the World Team 7-4.
It was a sign of things to come.
Despite the Marlins woes this season, Anderson remains a bright spot, setting a team record for the most hits by a player prior to the All-Star game in team history. The fact he has done this in his first season in Miami makes the feat that much more impressive.
At 6-foot-3 and 185 pounds, Anderson is tall and lanky. He does have some pop in his bat as he has hit seven home runs this season. There was even some talk he could be considered for the All-Star Game in Washington, D.C. next week.
We now know J.T. Realmuto will represent the ball club as a reserve catcher on the National League’s roster.
When I met Anderson before the start of Southern League season at Jacksonville, the Marlins Double-A affiliate, the soft-spoken 25-year-old was excited about the season and the chance to improve his game to fulfill a life-long dream of playing in the Majors. After the All-Star weekend last year, Anderson was promoted to Triple-A New Orleans and made his professional debut in September as a last-season callup.
Anderson is the future of this franchise at third base. It’s where he started on Opening Day in place of Martin Prado. Now, with the veteran back in the lineup, he spends time in the outfield, learning his craft and making a lasting impression.
The Marlins are counting on more success for Anderson the second half of this season and beyond. While his growth as a ballplayer is a work in progress, he is adapting well to the speed and changes on the next level.
There is hope he will be a fixture not only at third base in the future but also at the top of the Marlins order delivering key hits when this team needs them most.