Anderson Third Cards Prospect on Team USA

Top Cardinals catching prospect Bryan Anderson is expected to represent the USA in the IBAF World Cup in Taiwan in November, joining Colby Rasmus, Chris Perez and coach Rick Eckstein on the team.

We learned Tuesday night that St. Louis Cardinals minor league catcher Bryan Anderson has been invited to join Team USA for their upcoming training camp and exhibition games against Arizona Fall League squads. All that work will be in preparation to represent his country in the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) World Cup in Taiwan.

Team USA's training camp begins on October 22, with six games against AFL teams scheduled from October 25 through November 1. The World Cup play will commence on November 7 and conclude with the finals on November 18.

Anderson, 20, is the Cardinals top catching prospect, their most promising since Yadier Molina was drafted back in 2000. Bryan was ranked number four on our Scout.com Cardinals prospect list prior to the 2007 season. He is also considered one of the top catching prospects in all of baseball, consistently hitting against older competition.

Overall, Anderson's bat is considered above-average while his work behind the plate is deemed average at this point. Given his relative youth, there is still adequate time for his defensive game to fill out.

Drafted in 2005's fourth round at 18 years of age, Anderson skipped over High-A Palm Beach completely this season. In 2007, despite being one of the youngest players in the Texas League, the 6-foot-1, 200-pounder handled both his Springfield Cardinals pitching staff and the bat well.

The left-handed hitter posted a .298/.348/.388 line (AVG/OBP/SLG) with Springfield this season, with the power and on-base rate down somewhat from 2006. In three seasons as a professional, his career line is a solid .305/.367/.421.

Anderson was both a Mid-Season and Post-Season Texas League All-Star in 2007 and also played in the All-Star Futures Game in San Francisco. He is expected to compete for the starting job with Triple-A Memphis in 2008.

But first, he has some work ahead of him with Team USA.

Anderson will be catching a familiar pitcher on the USA squad as his Springfield teammate and closer Chris Perez is expected to be on the team, along with the Cardinals organization's top prospect overall, outfielder Colby Rasmus.

Formal announcement of the Team USA roster has not been made. However, the Perez and Rasmus selections first became public about three weeks ago.

Memphis Redbirds hitting coach Rick Eckstein will also help make Anderson feel at home as Cardinals shortstop David Eckstein's older brother reprises his role as one of Team USA's coaches (third base coach). Former MLB star and manager Davey Johnson returns as the club's skipper.

Team USA has a number of formidable opponents ahead of them, including Cuba. Castro's island retreat has dominated the World Cup, winning the last nine in a row and 12 of the last 13 since the USA squad last prevailed in the competition.

Team USA's most recent gold medal was all the way back in 1974 in the XXIII or 23rd Games. 2007 marks the XXXVII or 37th Games, with the competitions taking place roughly every other year.

Now, head over to our fine message board, where the news about Anderson's selection was already under discussion even prior to this article being published!



Brian Walton can be reached via email at brwalton@earthlink.net.

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