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Friday, February 13, 2009

The Braves' Own Juan Pierre (Except With A Few More Ks)

Position: Center Field
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 195 lbs.
2009 Age: 26

Josh Anderson was obtained after the 2007 season by the Braves in a straight up trade for reliever Oscar Villarreal. It's safe to say that the Braves have gotten more value out of that particular trade. However, it doesn't mean much.

Anderson played in center field in 30 games last season, and spent six in left field. He broke into the lineup for good on August 28 after a few games of some starts and coming off the bench. Anderson is another slap-hitter, like Gregor Blanco. Unfortunately, he doesn't have any of his teammate's base-on-balls prowess. He does have much more speed, though, and can create a little havoc on the basepaths. However, he needs to be able to get hits to get on base. If he doesn't change his approach when he's slumping, he won't be on base to create said havoc.

HE IS A BASE SWIPER: In 61 games, Anderson stole 10 bases and was caught only once. The catcher who threw him out? The Nationals' Luke Montz, one of the five receivers to be behind the plate for the team.

BLANCO OR ANDERSON?: They're both slap-hitters. Blanco alledgely has speed. So what's the difference?

Blanco: 519 PA, .251/.366/.309, 14 2B, 4 3B, 1 HR, 38 RBI, 74 BB, 89 SO, 13-5 SB-CS, 52 R
Anderson: 146 PA, .294/.338/.426, 7 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 12 RBI, 8 BB, 33 SO, 10-1 SB-CS, 21 R

Anderson bats better, but Blanco has more patience. It could be that their productions might have equal value given the same playing time. However, if they're the ones playing in the Braves' outfield together, the team is in trouble.

My Outlook: Anderson has the inside track to the starting center field job because of his previous major league experience with the club. However, if he makes the team, he has to keep his production levels up; Jordan Schafer is breathing down his neck. I expect Schafer to replace Anderson at some point in the season. If that happens, it's unclear whether the Braves would demote Anderson or keep him around to be a fourth or fifth outfielder.

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