Brian Anderson started his 2018 season with a statement, hitting .295 with eight runs and nine RBIs through his first 12 games. People were reluctant to pick him up and trust me, I get it. Who is Brian Anderson? The 76th overall pick in 2014 who wasn’t on ANY top prospect lists over the years? The week of April 11th, he regressed (as expected) with just two hits over his next 27 at-bats, one run and one RBI. Since the up and down weeks he has picked up hits in five straight games with two RBIs, one run and a stolen base.
We’ve seen the good and we’ve seen the bad to start this season. Digging further into the stats provides some context of what we can expect here.
Currently batting a robust .421 against lefties vs. a .206 against righties, he clearly prefers the LHP. Additionally, he has a home run, nine RBIs and only three strikeouts vs. lefties. In an interesting twist, while his batting average against righties is not so great, he has drawn 10 walks against righties to go with 14 strikeouts. He is clearly more patient and willing to go deep in the count vs. righties.
Batting .283 at home vs. .222 on the road
ISO is at .098, you won’t see a ton of power coming from him (which will be reiterated later).
Spray chart is fairly spread out, a slight concentration towards left field but an even spread of infield vs. outfield and pulled balls vs. center vs. opposite.
Last year he had 11 runs and eight RBIs across 25 starts (putting him around 71 runs and 52 RBI’s) with a .262 average and a walk rate of 10.5%.
Current MLB Averages (2018)
- Batting Average: .241 (Brian is above this by 15 points)
- OBP: .318 (Brian is above this by 66 points)
- Slugging: .394 (Brian is below this by 40 points)
- GB/FB Rate: .83 (Brian is at 1.89)
- AB/HR: 33.5 (Brian is at 99, you won’t see a ton of power with Brian as reiterated beneath this)
MLB Averages since 2002
- LD %: 21% (Brian is at 15% - slightly below average)
- GB%: 44% (Brian is at 55% - above average)
- FB %: 35% (Brian is at 29% - above average)
- K % 20% (Brian is at 17% - above average)
- BB %: 7.7% (Brian is at 13% - above average)
He’s not hitting home runs or line drives but he is a disciplined hitter keeping batted balls low and with a BABIP of .313 he’s not just a beneficiary of a lucky start. Comps for Brian would be Michael Brantley, Carlos Santana, Brett Gardner and Jesse Winker
.@Marlins Brian Anderson is 3rd in the #MLB for rookies with RBIs! #JuntosMiami pic.twitter.com/zp5nEOqUX5— FOX Sports Florida (@FOXSportsFL) April 25, 2018
The elephant in the room
He plays for the Marlins. They have the third fewest runs scored 2nd fewest total bases & stolen bases and fewest home runs in the league. It’s hard to have a decent RBI count when no one is on base, it’s hard to get a run when no one can drive you in. It’s due to this that Brian worked his way from 6th in the batting order down to a consistent 4th and 5th place (most recently playing cleanup hitter for a few straight games), as such, he has emerged as the top hitter for the Marlins (gasp was that too bold?). What about Stalin Castro, Derek Dietrich and Justin Bour? Well, Brian currently leads the Marlins in: stolen bases (tied at one), walks (13), doubles (tied at five) not to mention he’s 2nd in RBI’s (12), runs (10) and OBP (.384). The season is early but I don’t see why he can’t continue to be one of the most consistent hitters for this bereft team.
In summation, Brian is not bringing the power but he’s a disciplined hitter who will help you with an above average amount of RBI’s, Runs, Stolen Bases and Batting Average with strong OBP due largely to his strong plate presence where he holds above average K% and BB% rates. One final interesting point is eligibility, he’s made all of his starts this season at 3B and rumblings are that when Martin Prado returns Brian will move to outfield giving him potential for both 3B AND OF eligibility. I think he ends the season as a top fifteen 3B.
Did I forget to mention he’s only 6% owned?