Has the Marlins Brian Anderson Hit the Rookie Wall?

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 02: Brian Anderson
MIAMI, FL - APRIL 02: Brian Anderson /

Once a Rookie of the Year candidate, Miami Marlins third baseman Brian Anderson is stuck in a slump late in the season.

In football, we talk about hitting the imaginary “wall” of playing longer and harder than a rookie has ever had to perform. That may not be the case for Miami Marlins third baseman Brian Anderson, but a late-season slump has him trying to get out of quicksand.

"“One of the National League’s top rookies, Brian Anderson is working through a tough spell over the past month,” writes Wells Dusenbury of sun-sentinel.com. “An everyday player for the Marlins — splitting between third base and right field — Anderson has been one of the team’s most consistent offensive players, leading all NL rookies in hits (143), runs scored (76), RBI (58) and doubles (30).”"

Maybe it is the change in scenery, starting at third base on Opening Day, moving to the outfield with the return of Martin Prado and the return to the hot corner after the veteran was placed on the 60-day DL to end his season.

Whatever the case is, Anderson is struggling – something manager Don Mattingly is giving him every opportunity to work through.

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"“[Anderson] looks tired,” Mattingly said. “He looks more mentally tired than physically tired to me. I think that’s what guys get to at this time of the year. Just the at-bats the past three or four days haven’t been very competitive. No matter if you’re getting your hits or not, you’ve got to keep fighting.”"

Anderson started the 2016 campaign in Single-A, and then moved to Jacksonville, the team’s Double-A affiliate. He immediately caught the attention of the organization and was tapped as one of the future stars of the franchise. In 2017, he started out in with the Jumbo Shrimp, played in the Sirius-XM Futures Game at the All-Star break in Miami and was promoted to New Orleans, the team’s Triple-A affiliate.

Anderson spent the end of this 2017 campaign on the Marlin 40-man roster. He started on Opening Day against the Cubs and had 102 hits the first half of 2018. It seemed as though there was no stopping him and he would compete with Atlanta’s Ronald Acuna for Rookie of the Year honors.

That ship might have finally sailed as Acuna is tearing baseballs apart of late and the former 2014 third-round pick out of Arkansas is trying to find his swing.

"“Anderson, who’s slashing .271/.354/.750 for the year, has seen his batting average dip .13 from the beginning of August,” Dusenbury points out."

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Mattingly has left Anderson alone, to allow him to work through this himself, but it might be time for the two to have a conversation. There are 20 games remaining this season and plenty of opportunities for the youngster to get back in the groove of hitting baseballs.