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Loving Lars

Keith Law yesterday opened the Prospectalooza that is the numerous Top 100 prospects lists we see around this time every year. The big surprise (at least to me) is that power 1B Lars Anderson is the No. 7 prospect in all of baseball. I've heard lots of good things about him, but No. 7??

Law says this about him:

Anderson has outstanding plate discipline for a prospect his age – or any age, really, but his relative youth makes it much more impressive. His career OBP sits at .404, and you can see a cerebral approach to the strike zone. … once he gets started, he's very short to the ball and makes a lot of hard contact with good backspin. He has the swing and physical potential to hit 30-plus home runs, but is still working out which pitches to pull and which pitches to take to the opposite field. He's adequate at first base despite being a well below-average runner. Despite the fact that he finished 2008 with a strong performance in Double-A, Anderson is a few years away from becoming an impact big-league hitter with both a high OBP and big power, but he has the complete package and only requires development time to get there.

Well, I'll be. Color me a little more excited about him than I was before. The rest of the relevant (for this site) Top 100 (26-100 are Insider only):

  • 7: Anderson
  • 46: Austin Jackson — "he's still a great athlete, but it's not translating into baseball skills as quickly as hoped."
  • 52: Michael Bowden — "no ceiling" but also not likely to be more than a No. 4.
  • 81: Nick Hagadone — would have been Top 40 except for TJ surgery
  • 83: Jesus Montero — "Catcher in name only" but a "very promising bat" that would work at first
  • 90: Junichi Tazawa — could be in bigs by year's end, but looks better as a reliever
  • 94: Daniel Bard — all stuff, no head
  • 95: Andrew Brackman — "Significant upside" if he can stay healthy and regain command after TJ
  • HM: Dellin Betances — "All upside" with great stuff but needs a lot of development
  • HM: Josh Reddick — Great bat, great arm, poor plate discipline
  • Missed the cut for Boston: Casey Kelly, Stolmy Pimentel, Ryan Westmoreland, Michael Almanzar
  • Missed the cut for New York: Zach McAllister

Law ranked the Sox' farm system as seventh in baseball (Nos. 11-30 are obscured by the Insider, but another blog says the Yanks are ranked 15th).

8 replies on “Loving Lars”

Count me as one not surprised by Anderson’s ranking. He was the perfect reason not to sign Teixeira to a stupid deal. I think this is a good case where the team benefits from a move they were lucky not to make. Anderson is built for Fenway. He’s going to be a beast. And he could arrive as soon as this year with that discipline. If one of Ortiz or Lowell are hurt, I would not at all be surprised to see the kid have a solid camp and break with the big team. He could easily get out to a .280/.380/.440 MLB line and that’s an above average bat at 1b/DH. As a 21 year old.
KLaw is entertaining to me, but I think it’s obvious why he “left” professional scouting. The guy has a knack for liking some players and not liking other players, evidence be damned. Some of these rankings make no sense, for instance:
Hadagone – Old for the leagues he’s played in and only 34 professional innings. If he makes it back at all this year, he’ll be 23 in A+. To say he’d be higher is absurd.
If he’s calling both Bard (which Bard is now) and Tazawa relievers, then they have no place on this list if he’s also not including a guy like Melancon. Here, compare:
Reliever A: 23 yo, 103 IP, 78 H, 6 HR, 24 BB, 97 K
Reliever B: 23 yo, 77 IP, 42 H, 4 HR, 30 BB, 107 K
Reliever B obviously has better “stuff”. But Reliever A has the better K:BB rate. It doesn’t matter who’s better at this point, because as relievers, their impact is minimal (see VORP for middle relievers) if they ever break through.
If that’s the best top 100 KLaw can come up with, it’s time to get out of the kitchen and get back to watching games. He seems to rate guys based on reputation and draft slot more than evidence they can advance. Without caring about year-to-year consistency, like the Baseball America guys or John Sickles, he just seems to put something up and is done with it.

I think the thing for me with Lars was that he was being held out (by some) as THE reason for not signing Teixeira, which made no sense to me, so I probably underrated him in my mind as a response to those sentiments.
I’ve also heard people say he still needs to develop Major League power (as opposed to minor-league power, I guess), so I guess that downgraded him in my mind without really knowing how likely the ML power was to develop. Apparently, it’s pretty likely.

I don’t think Anderson was THE reason they didn’t sign Teixeira. I think they were genuinely interested in Teixeira. But Anderson is an excellent fall back, even if he only replaces Ortiz at DH. I do think they would have been all over Dunn if they didn’t have Anderson.
Even if his power never develops, he’s got enough of it, right now, to be an excellent gap hitter especially with that patience. Seriously, if he gets out strong in Spring Training and/or AA, there’s no reason he couldn’t fill-in with an injury. I have little doubt he’ll get his cup of coffee this year and that’s if he doesn’t stick. All at 21 years old.

Just to show Anderson is on track, check out two trends from each of his mL stops (> 100 AB) in just two years:
OBP – A = .385; A+ = .408; AA = .436
SLG – A = .443; A+ = .513; AA = .526
I’m calling it now. He’s going to be a better hitter than Teixeira, and before the ridiculous eight-year deal is up. This non-move smacks of the Albert Belle non-signing as a replacement for Bernie in 1997.

Can’t wait for Lars. So much better than Texeira in every way – younger, cheaper, and ultimately better. Let the Yankees sign all the old and overpriced players. We’ll be smarter than that. Heck, let them sign Papi too.

“Can’t wait for Lars. So much better than Texeira in every way – younger, cheaper, and ultimately better.”
Ha! Great statement. A guy who has never played above AA ball is better in every way than Tex who the sox wanted bad enough to bid almost as much as the yankees for.
Let the Yankees sign all the old and overpriced players. We’ll be smarter than that. Heck, let them sign Papi too.”
Apparently 28 is now considered “old” in baseball. I guess that means the sox have a pretty “old” team now – Youk, Beckett, Papi, Lowell, etc.
Im not saying that Lars may end up panning out but I think people should chill out a bit before crowing players before they do anything….

Yeah Lars is a very good prospect. Comparing a guy who’s tearing up AA to the second best first baseman alive is frankly laughable.

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