2011 Cardinals Prospect #12 – Bryan Anderson

Once a top-three prospect in the system, can the catcher continue to grow in a fourth year at Triple-A? Today's article is FREE!

Scout.com Player Profile (including links to full 2010 and career stats)

2010 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round
13 C 12/16/1986 6-1 200 L R 2005 4th

School: Simi Valley High School, California

Selected 2010 stats

MEM 0.270 270 39 73 12 0 12 42 27 54 0 0.341 0.448 0.789
StL 0.281 32 1 9 2 0 0 4 1 7 0 0.314 0.344 0.658

Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)

Dustin Mattison (15): I believe Anderson has been on these lists as long as I have been doing them. The bat still looks solid average while the glove doesn't look like it will ever develop where the current regime would want it. With Yadier Molina in town, the Cardinals are only in need of a backup. Tony La Russa and Dave Duncan emphasize above average defense from the team's backup catcher and that's where Anderson falls short.

The 24-year-old has a solid hit tool with gap power. Anderson hits right-handers well (.295/.357/.500 in 220 at bats) but really struggled against lefties (.160/.276/.220 in 50 at bats) in 2010. He is projected to post an OPS of .706 according to ZIPS while St. Louis backup Gerald Laird is only projected at a .684 clip.

Anderson's defense has improved but not enough to be considered by the manager to be a long term backup to Molina. At this point in his career, maybe it is finally time to consider making the position switch that has been talked about for years. With John Vuch now in charge of the farm system, that could be a very real possibility.

Message board community (12): Bryan Anderson showed them - not that it appears to have done him a lot of good. Going into 2010, there were two major criticisms of Anderson - 1) he didn't hit for sufficient power, and 2) his defensive skills were weak.

Anderson appears to have improved in both areas in 2010. His ISO SLG was the highest of any of his full season years (actually its improved the last three years) and his defense was given compliments by no other than former Cardinal Gold Glove Award-winning catcher Mike Matheny during spring training.

But is that enough? It didn't appear to be in September when Anderson sat on the Cardinals bench in favor of the now released Matt Pagnozzi. It didn't keep the Cards from signing Gerald Laird to be the back up catcher for next season.

So what more can Anderson do? A tough question which seems unanswerable at this point. I guess that's why they play the games - so we can see what happens. - CariocaCardinal

Brian Walton (12): The Laird signing makes it abundantly clear that Anderson is not in the organization's current plans. In other words, he comes to camp with no realistic chance of making the major league roster. Even in the case of a serious injury to one of the top two, I would expect the Cardinals to sign another veteran. I have no reason to believe that Anderson won't continue to work hard, but how must he feel being hard-wired into spending a fourth year in Memphis?

Having said that, this isn't a charity. I am sure the Cardinals have good reasons for having made their determination about Anderson and I don't begrudge them for that. My criticism is of their actions, or should I say lack of actions, in not proactively dealing with the situation.

What I mean is that by 2008, Anderson was recognized as being among the very best catching prospects in baseball and made many a top prospect list. He was just 21 and had already reached Triple-A. The Cardinals locked down Yadier Molina for the long-term, so why didn't they trade Anderson and get players in return that would at least have a chance of helping the major league club?

Instead, they have held onto Anderson so long, his value has dipped, but he still has no major league spot. He was the minor league system's Player of the Month last June, but continued to job share with a 27-year-old guy who would end up being cut loose after the season. I don't get it.

Our 2011 top 40 countdown continues: To see our entire list of 40 Cardinals prospects, click here. You can also read each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections.

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