The Marlins had their first position player make an MLB Pipeline Top 10 position list this week: third baseman Brian Anderson. The 24-year old Oklahoma native, selected in the third round of the 2014 amateur draft, is ranked as the ninth-best prospect at this rather top-heavy position (see Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. and Nick Senzel) entering 2018.
In the beginning of 2017, as the No. 3 prospect in the Marlins’ depleted farm system, he started with Double-A Jacksonville. In 87 games, Anderson batted .251 with 14 home runs, 55 RBIs, and a .791 OPS. Not eye-popping but solid, and by all accounts his defense improved as well.
After a successful appearance in July at the MLB Futures Game in Miami, he was promoted to Triple-A New Orleans. In 33 games with the Baby Cakes, Anderson hit .339 with 8 homers while driving in 26 to produce an outstanding 1.018 OPS. Riding this hot streak and power surge, Brian made his big-league debut on Sept. 1st.
Anderson’s first 25 MLB games showed some potential, but little of the power he had been displaying in the minors. His slash line was .262/.337/.369 with seven doubles, a triple and eight RBI. There were times that he looked over-matched, but that seemed to improve as the season wound up. (Per my “eye test” he looked more confident and comfortable at the plate and in the field.)
Currently ranked as the Marlins’ sixth overall prospect and second-highest ranked position player in the system, he is likely to make the big-league club out of spring training. Some of that decision may depend on Martin Prado’s status with the team on Opening Day, though.
Either way, it’s a refreshing sight to see MLB Pipeline ranking a Marlins position player highly, and hopefully this bodes well for not only Anderson’s future, but for Miami’s future as well.