2017 stats: 95 PA, .262 AVG, .337 OBP, 0 HR, 8 RBI, -0.1 WAR (Baseball Reference)
Rated as the Marlins’ number three prospect to start the year, Brian Anderson began 2017 with the team's Double-A affiliate, the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp. While there, he batted .251 over 87 games to go along with 14 home runs, 55 runs driven in, and a .791 OPS. They are some solid numbers, but he hardly tore up the Southern League.
Nevertheless, after collecting two hits, including a double, at the Futures Game in front of the Miami crowd during All-Star Week, he was promoted to AAA New Orleans on July 15th. Against better competition, Anderson heated up, and then some. In 33 games, the third baseman hit a scorching .339, and put up a Giancarlo Stanton-esque 1.018 OPS. With that kind of performance over an extended period of time, there was hardly an doubt in the team's mind when they promoted him to the major leagues for the first time in his career on September 1st.
Given a lot of playing time due to the knee injury which plagued veteran Martin Prado all season long, the 24 year-old seized the opportunity to prove himself on the big stage. Anderson collected a hit in his very first MLB game, and went on to produce four multi-hit games, including two games in which he raked two doubles. While the power which helped him to thrive in the minors this season did not translate to the big leagues, Brian Anderson still showed a lot of promise at the hot corner for the Marlins, even if the sample size on which to go from is reasonably small.
At this moment in time, Prado figures to be the Opening Day third baseman for the Marlins in 2018, if he is healthy. However, the team may try to move him and the $28.5 million he is owed over the last two years of his contract this winter in order to try and cut costs. The odds of that happening may be unlikely due to his injury woes this season but, if the team is successful, Anderson will be in prime position to play third base for Miami on a permanent basis for the foreseeable future.
While a steady slew of players have arrived on the scene over the years to fill out the offensive core, it has been a few seasons since the Marlins have had a position player come through the minor leagues and make a significant and lasting contribution to the major league team. Brian Anderson looks like he could be the next to do so, and judging by his 2017 season, he could be about to start a long and successful career.