Because of high signing-bonus demands, the Red Sox were able to draft a high-ceiling prospect in the 18th round of the 2006 Draft. Most teams were scared to pay a million dollars to a high-school kid, so his stock fell dramatically, allowing the Red Sox to take a chance with him. To the tune of $825,000.
Introducing the 553rd selection of the 2006 MLB draft: Lars Anderson.
Coming out of high school, the big power hitting first baseman was highly recruited, both by college scouts and professional clubs. His talent was obvious. He even came close to committing to UC-Berkley.
Many pro clubs thought he was unsignable. He didn't make his case any better when he asked for a $1 million signing bonus. But that didn't stop management from giving the late round pick a $825,000 one. Lucky for us, he signed it.
Now, Anderson is the new No. 1 prospect in the Red Sox farm system. And for good reason.
Anderson has the potential to be one of the elite power hitters in the game when he gets to the majors. He has a swing as fluid as J.D. Drew. He has excellent power to both sides of the field. His plate discipline is impeccable, and he draws a lot of walks, something that's key for a power hitter in Epstein's system.
He's got a solid work ethic and is very coachable. Confident but not cocky, he's smart and learns fast. He's got the personality you look for in a player, with the size and strength to be a difference maker.
Defensively, he's not a gold glover, but can hold his own. He's athletic for his size and over time his defense will improve. That's not to say he's a liability, but he's no Kevin Youkilis with the leather.
The real question is where he will fit into Boston's lineup when his time comes.
The clearest track I can see is, assuming the Red Sox don't sign Mark Teixeira, having Lowell and Youkilis man the corners for the next two years while Anderson continues development.
That's the last year of Lowell's contract and buys enough time to turn Anderson into a polished finished product.
Then, Youkilis can move back to third base, his natural position, while making room at first for Anderson.
However, even if Theo does sign Teixeira this offseason, that doesn't mean Anderson will have no place to go. David Ortiz will be a free agent going into 2011, the estimated time of Anderson's arrival.
If you have Teixeira and Youkilis at the corners, Anderson is a youthful and potentially great replacement at DH. And if Teixeira's defense was to fall off as he ages, Anderson can be put back into the infield.
The Sox have another great youngster in Anderson, with talent that complements the other stars in the farm system. Another great job of scouting and development by the Red Sox organization.
Be ready for another young stud in Boston.
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