I found myself faced with an unexpected question this past Saturday at VEB day. The topic of the conversation was Bryan Anderson, longtime prospect and martyr of the “Veteran Backup Catcher” philosophy. He’d become something of an afterthought this year after seemingly falling by the wayside to one Matt Pagnozzi. So what has the erstwhile 2005 prospect sidekick been up to.
Bryan Anderson is having a good year by catcher’s standards. He’s posted a .792 OPS and a .344 wOBA. While the translation for those numbers are perhaps less inspiring (.657 OPS MLE) the manner in which Anderson is posting those numbers is, arguably, a noteworthy one.
With 7 homeruns in 2010, Anderson has surpassed his 2009 total and is just 2 away from meeting the combined 2008-2009 total. Given the paucity of recent at bats in recent years, this isn’t terribly surprising since we’re working with a counting stat. It does add to the narrative that he’s hitting for more power though. With a .192 ISO, he’s got the highest power rate of his entire career thus far. After having been pilloried in recent years for never developing the power he was projected for, at age 23, Anderson may be ready to make good on his initial promise.
Additional cause for optimism this season would be the appearance that Anderson has hit into bad luck with a 25% line drive rate and a meager .283 BABIP. Anderson is hitting just .267, which is a bit of a departure from previous seasons when the main point of his resume was his ability to hit .300 consistently. In reality, Anderson continues to make contact and put the ball in play.
Keeping in mind that Anderson plays catcher (an inherently valuable position) and is showing increased power to go with good contact rates, there’s still reason to keep an eye on this player who remains a valuable prospect.
Note: All statistics include games through 6/19.