Throughout the 2018/2019 offseason, Marlin Maniac will devote one article each for every player who appeared in the Miami Marlins system for the 2018 season. Every. Single. Player. This is Part 22…of 286. Stay tuned.
Brian Anderson is a 6’3″, 185 lb. third baseman from Edmond, OK. Born on May 19th, 1993, Anderson was chosen in the 20th round of the 2011 MLB June Amateur Draft by the Minnesota Twins, but he didn’t sign.
Instead, Anderson decided to pursue higher education at the University of Arkansas, and slashed .318/.418/.467 in 171 contests for the Razorbacks, with 13 home runs and 98 RBI. In 2014, the Miami Marlins chose him with their third round pick, 76th overall off the board. Follow Anderson on Twitter @AndersonBrian01.
20 players chosen 76th overall have made their way to the major leagues eventually, paced by Chase Utley (1997, Los Angeles Dodgers, 65.4 career WAR), Marquis Grissom (1988, Montreal Expos, 29.6 WAR), and none other than Giancarlo Stanton (2007, Miami Marlins, 39.2 WAR).
According to baseballsavant.mlb.com:
"Anderson has always shown power potential, combining strength with a leveraged swing and good extension through the hitting zone. He got to that power more than ever in 2017, driving the ball with authority from line to line, with plus raw power to his pull side. Anderson also can hit for average, showing good feel for finding the barrel while employing a selective approach. After bouncing between the infield and outfield in college and then working at both second and third base during his professional debut, Anderson has manned the hot corner exclusively since the start of 2015. His hands, range and plus arm are all fits at the position."
After signing with the Marlins for a $600,000 bonus, Anderson reported to the Batavia Muckdogs in the short-season-A New York-Penn League. He slashed .273/.333/.455 through his first month, and was promoted to the single-A Greensboro Grasshoppers in the South Atlantic League on July 15th. While there, he slashed .314/.378/.516. Overall, he smacked 11 home runs with 49 RBI despite the short season totaling only 59 games. He was chosen as a MILB.COM organizational all-star.
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In 2015, Anderson spent the entire campaign at the high-A level with the Florida State League’s Jupiter Hammerheads. In 132 contests, he slashed out a .235/.304/.340 line, leading the club with eight homers and 62 RBI, 40 walks and 109 strikeouts. The lukewarm stat line would see Anderson start out 2016 again with the Sharks, where he played in 49 games before earning a promotion. He hit .302/.377/.440 with three homers and 25 RBI, striking out 38 times while drawing 22 walks. He was chosen as a mid-season FSL all-star in both seasons.
On May 31st, 2016, as Miami’s #6 overall prospect, Anderson was promoted to the double-A Jacksonville Suns in the Southern League, where he slashed .243/.330/.359 in 86 games with eight homers and 40 RBI. He was chosen to represent the Marlins as an MILB.COM organizational all star. Anderson, by then Miami’s #4 prospect, remained in Jacksonville for the 2017 season, with the newly rebranded Jumbo Shrimp, and hit 14 homers in 87 games while slashing .251/.341/.450. On July 15th, he was called up another level to the triple-A New Orleans Baby Cakes, in the Pacific Coast League. For the third time, MILB.COM recognized him as an organizational all star.
The new level didn’t slow Anderson down, in fact he picked it up. In 33 contests, he slashed .339/.416/.602 with eight more home runs and 26 RBI. On September 1st, he earned his first callup to the major league level, with the Miami Marlins. In 25 games at the hot corner, he racked up a .944 fielding percentage. At the plate, he hit .262/.337/.369, drawing 10 walks and striking out 28 times, but failing to hit a home run.
2018 would begin with the now-#3 prospect-ranked Anderson expected to start at third for the season. With the injury to incumbent Martin Prado, the time was ripe for Anderson to make an impact.
Anderson opened the season with a seven-game hit streak, and hit safely in 10 of his first 11. In total, he had 46 multi-hit games, including nine three-hit affairs. On June 5th (see above), in a 7-4 win over the St. Louis Cardinals, Anderson hit two singles and a home run, totaling three RBI. On June 11th, he went three-for-four with two doubles, a homer, and a pair of RBI as the Marlins defeated the San Francisco Giants, 7-5.
In the 30 games from May 15th through June 15th, Anderson slashed .361/.417/.504 with 15 RBI. The Marlins, who enjoyed Anderson’s services for a team-high 156 games, went 61-95 when he played, versus 2-3 when he sat. He slashed .273/.357/.400 in total, leading the Marlins with 34 doubles, adding 11 home runs and a team-second 65 RBI. He also drew a team-second 62 walks versus 129 strikeouts in 670 plate appearances. With a 9.3 percent walk rate, a 19.3 percent strikeout rate, and 2.1 K/BB, Anderson still has work to do, but clearly, he was a top-five rookie in the National League.
Defensively, Anderson manned the hot corner in 71 games, totaling a .942 fielding percentage with eight errors in 137 chances, with a 1.96 range factor that ranked in the lower echelons of NL third basemen. Conversely, in his 91 appearances in right field, Anderson made just one error in 176 chances for a .994 fielding percentage, also making eight assists while maintaining a roughly league-average range factor.
Anderson is expected to continue to produce at a high level for the Miami Marlins for the foreseeable future. He will be the opening day third baseman in 2019.
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