I have several friends (Paul Bourdett sent me the cell phone photo above) that are out in Phoenix, Arizona this week attending the First Pitch Forums put on by Ron Shandler and his group from BaseballHQ.com. If I did not have to throw $1000 of work into my wife’s car over the past five weeks, I would have been with them last night to watch Leslie Anderson hit the game-winning home run in the Rising Stars game. As it was, my good friend Mike Siano from mlb.com had to rub salt in the wound with this tweet last night:
Leslie Anderson (TB) hits walk off homer to win #afl Rising Stars Game @jasoncollette goes nuts and curses his not being here #firstpitchaz
Anderson is someone that could be on the 25 man roster for 2011 because he is very cheap. Cot’s site tells us that if Anderson is on the 25 man roster in 2011, he would make $0.45m and get another $.05m if he had 400 plate appearances, $.075m if he made it to 450 plate appearances and another $0.1m if he got to 500 plate appearance. Simply put, if Anderson was the everyday first baseman next season, he would make $0.55m.
Last season he was rushed through three levels of the minors and in 387 at bats, he hit .302/.359/.442 with 11 home runs and 49 RBI. This comes on the heels of Anderson hitting .328/.417/.488 in his previous four seasons of baseball down in Cuba before he defected to the United States. The numbers look good so far, but temper your excitement before it is too late.
R.J. Anderson wrote a piece the other day showing the less than exciting impact of older Cuban players and Anderson will be 29 years old during the 2011 season and Anderson would be the oldest of the bunch. Additionally, a scout I know who has seen Anderson play several times in the AFL had this to say about him the other day:
He has been pushed, hard. Not terribly impressed with what I saw. Nice stroke, but I’m a little concerned about bat speed. Problems with breaking stuff as well.
The fact that he’s been pushed that hard, and left in for all nine innings of the Rising Stars game last night, might hint at what the Rays are thinking for 2011. Anderson can play first base and also has the athleticism to play the outfield as he played first, right field, and left field in the minors in 2010. That kind of versatility is always welcome on Joe Maddon’s roster and I believe that versatility and his very affordable salary will result in Anderson being on the 25 man roster as the club breaks camp in late March in a reserve role.
Safe travels to all of my friends out in Arizona as they head back home today and I look forward to seeing some of you all next month at the winter meetings and the rest of you at NFBC in March.