Thursday, February 26

Lars Anderson: Coming to a Left Field Near You?

Currently, Lars Anderson only has a first baseman's glove, but that could all change soon. Rumors are flying around the organization that Boston's number one prospect could be moving to the outfield in order to increase future position flexibility.

According to Red Sox farm director Mike Hazen “Right now he’s a first baseman. We feel like he’s going to be good at that position,” ........“But if he’s the best guy available (in the minors) and his only way onto the team is to play left field, even to stand in left field, I have a hard time thinking we’re not going to run him out there for a few games to see what he looks like.”
Anderson has never played anything but first base in the pros, but admits to occasionally manning the outfield in high school (along with pitching at times). He is still learning the nuances of the first base position, but some believe the organization will experiment with him in the outfield once he reaches Pawtucket (which in all likelihood will be this year). There remains a lot to be hammered out on the big league club before finding a place for Lars, as Jason Bay and others will have upcoming contract negotiations, perhaps this is the Red Sox merely being proactive.

Personally, I understand many players are shifted around once they reach Triple A, in part to align their skills with the big league club's positional needs, but I don't think tossing Anderson in left is the best idea here. Let's be honest, everyone is extremely excited to see this kid come up to the bigs, he's one of the most hyped prospects within the Red Sox system in sometime, and certainly the best power-hitting option to come up through the minor league ranks in years.....but forcing a young kid into a new position may prove damaging. If this was Pittsburgh; with no media spotlight and an easy left field to handle, that would be one thing, but running a 21 year old out to play left field at Fenway, an extremely difficult position to play, and under the extreme pressure that is baseball in Boston, that's a totally different world. So much of young player's success is contributed to overall confidence and comfort levels, why challenge that at this point?

For now, I'm perfectly fine with Lars continuing to build on his skills and test his talent against upper minor league players. The 6'4", sweet-swinging lefty has been performing well thus far, and could provide a much needed, long term power solution for the Red Sox lineup....let's keep running with that and see where it takes us over the next year or two, and as Tito says "things will fall into place".

4 comments:

Tim Murphy said...

I would like the Sox to continue to develop him at first, especially since Lowell and Ortiz have deals that expire in the next few years.

They can move Youk back to third and bring Anderson up if he's ready.

Joe Murph said...

Definitely agree with Tim. Why is left field more available? Do they mean within the Sox organization or for general flexibility? My preferred scenario would be sign Bay to an extension (he's expressed strong interest in getting that done), let Lowell play out, then move Youk to third and hopefully Lars will be ready by then to come up full-time at first. Maybe they just mean having him in the outfield allows them to bring him up for some platoon duty this year, since health issues abound out there?

Anonymous said...

Am I right that Anderson hasn't really shown much power in the minors, or am I remembering that wrong? Do you think he's a legitimate power prospect or is this just something the Sox brass have talked themselves into?

D Vicino said...

Let's keep in mind we're relying heavily on potential here....

The Sox have identified Anderson as having plus 25 home run power. Much has been made of mining a lot of taters out of his left-handed home run swing as he matures. At only 21 years old, his body has yet to fully develop and the Sox are just now getting him on strict weight training programs. Over his first two seasons, he's averaged about 15 home runs in around 135 games while jumping from single to double A. He did so while batting about .315, holding an OBP of around .430, and slugging close to .500.

I don't think it's accurate to paint him as the next major league home run king, but it doesn't seem out of this world to consider him a potential power hitting addition to the lineup in the future.

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