With a rather disappointing loss in the Mark Teixeira sweepstakes this winter, the Red Sox didn't add the power hitter David Ortiz had been clamoring for.
However, the future of the Red Sox lineup is far from bleak. We may not have the luxury of having Teixeira around for the next eight years, but in only a few years, we will get to see first baseman Lars Anderson arrive on the scene.
Anderson is the top offensive prospect in the Red Sox's minor league system. Since he is pretty close to the majors, this is the appropriate time to start giving a scouting report on the kid so Sox fans know who we will soon see manning first base instead of Teixeira.
Lars Anderson plays first base, currently for the Red Sox's AA affiliate, the Portland SeaDogs. He is listed as being six-foot-four, weighing 210 pounds. Anderson bats and throws left-handed, and is very strong. The 21 year old Oakland native was drafted out of Jesuit High School in California, in the 18th round of the 2006 Amateur draft.
Anderson is large, powerful, and has a great hitters' frame. He has excellent power and has a very high ceiling. Anderson should be an elite hitter at some point in his career. His swing is smooth, level, and fluid, exactly what you want out of a good power hitter.
Like current first baseman Kevin Youkilis, Anderson is very patient and has a great eye at the dish. Anderson can hit well to the opposite field, where at the Majors Anderson can take advantage of a small left field in Fenway Park.
Anderson is most well known for his hitting, but he also brings some pretty good defense to first base, a position usually reserved for aging players on their last legs. Anderson is great at scooping throws out of the dirt, and he can make excellent diving plays for grounders and line drives.
However, with his size, Anderson has mediocre range.
Anderson has a very strong work ethic, he takes instructions well, and most importantly, he is a fast learner. He is confident as well as intelligent, a great combination.
This list is not as long as his strengths, but Anderson isn't perfect. For his skill set, Anderson would benefit from being an aggressive hitter. Although there is nothing wrong with being a patient hitter, sometimes you have to just swing away.
However, on that note, he still strikes out too much. Anderson especially struggles against off-speed pitches, something he needs to improve at very quickly.
Although nobody expects him to be a base stealer, his large size prevents him from being a speed threat. Also, his range is mediocre and sometimes looks awkward playing defense.
Minor League Awards
In May of 2007, Anderson was awarded the Red Sox Minor League Top Quality Plate Appearances award, as well as winning an Eastern League Player of the Week award in August 2008. Finally, in 2008, Anderson was honored with the 2008 Red Sox Minor League Player of the Year award.
Minor League Stats
Yr (League) avg/obp/slg hr rbi bb
2007 (A): .288/.385/.443, 10 hr, 69 rbi, 71 bb
2007 (high-A): .343/.489/.486, 1 hr, 9 rbi, 11 bb
2008 (high-A): .317/.408/.513, 13 hr, 50 rbi, 46 bb
2008 (AA): .316/.436/.526, 5 hr, 30 rbi, 29 bb