2009 Cardinals Prospect #3 – Bryan Anderson

After a relatively-quiet 2008, will the catcher continue to progress and reach the majors in 2009 at the still-tender age of 22? Today's article is FREE!

Scout.com Player Profile (including links to full 2008 and career stats)

2008 ranking: #2

Position: C

DOB: 12/16/1986

Height: 6-foot-1

Weight: 200

Bats: Left

Throws: Right

School: Simi Valley High School, California

Became a Cardinal: Selected in the fourth round (140th overall) of the June, 2005 First-Year Player Draft.

Selected 2008 stats

SPR 0.388 80 12 31 5 0 2 14 4 12 0 0.412 0.525 0.937
MEM 0.281 235 27 66 13 2 2 27 32 46 2 0.367 0.379 0.745
Tot 0.308 315 39 97 18 2 4 41 36 58 2 0.377 0.416 0.793
PR 0.240 25 2 6 0 0 0 2 5 4 1 0.406 0.240 0.646

Staff comments (individual rankings in parens)

Dustin Mattison (3): Anderson seems to have lost some of his luster since his highly productive 2007 and I really don't understand why. He improved his defense behind the plate, cutting down on his errors and passed balls. Anderson threw out 37.6% would be base stealers, the 19th best rate in all of the minor leagues.

At the plate, Anderson increased his isolated power and walk rate compared to 2007 as well as cutting down his strikeout total. Besides average, all of his offensive numbers were similar or better compared to 2007. And remember, he was a 21 year old playing at Triple-A.

With Anderson an underrated athlete, I like many would like to see the Cardinals try moving him to second base. His ability to drive the ball to the gaps would be a welcomed addition to a position that has been so unstable in recent years. With the coaching of Jose Oquendo, I am quite sure that Anderson could handle the switch. If not, he is moved back behind the plate.

Yes, I understand that Anderson has more value as a catcher. But according to some media outlets, the organization did not garner much interest in the backstop when offered in trade packages this winter. If no teams are interested, wouldn't behoove the Cardinals to try and get the most out of Anderson? At this time, he will most likely not unseat Gold Glover Yadier Molina. So, why not roll the dice and determine if you can make Anderson a full-time player instead of a backup to fan favorite Molina?

Ray Mileur (4): Ranked by the Birdhouse as the Cardinals #2 prospect in the preseason Top 40 Prospects ranking, Anderson responded by hitting .388 in 19 games at Double-A Springfield before getting promoted to Memphis. At Triple-A, Anderson hit .281 with two home runs and 27 RBIs in 73 games for the Redbirds. Anderson actually spent a couple of weeks at #1 one in the Birdhouse Prospect Power Rankings in 2008. He still hasn't hit for power, something that you would hope come in time. He continued to show improvement on his play behind the plate and earned a Futures Game selection in July. He's clearly the best catching prospect in the organization, time will tell if he's good enough to play in the majors.

Message board community (3): A trip around the Internet quickly shows that Anderson´s stock has fallen with many responsible for annual prospect rankings. Not here at the Birdhouse. It's hard to believe that a 21 year old catcher with a .740 AAA OPS could be downgraded but he was.

An objective look reveals that his LD rate continues extremely high, his GB% has not changed, his K rate has not changed much and his BB rate increased. The knock on Anderson is that he lacks power. However, that was the same knock after last year and all Anderson did in his second go round in AA is increase his ISO SLG by almost 50% (albeit only 20 games). I´m betting that in his second AAA trip that Anderson increases his power numbers again.

Anderson is often mentioned as one of the Cardinals prime trading chips due to the presence of Yadier Molina on the big club. While a trade may or may not happen eventually, expect to see Anderson behind the plate (and no where else) at AAA Memphis to start the season. - CariocaCardinal

Brian Walton (3): No wonder Anderson dropped on some prospect lists. In a curious strategy, the Cardinals kept him reigned in last season. It began 12 months ago, when the Cardinals signed veteran catcher Mark Johnson. That effectively relegated top prospect Anderson to a job share arrangement once he arrived in Memphis, despite having arrived there from Springfield on a roll, as the stats above illustrate.

Though healthy throughout 2008, Anderson was given only 315 at-bats all season long. To add insult to injury, when the September call-ups occurred, it was dead-end Johnson who was brought to St. Louis, a head-scratching move that offered no one any present or future value whatsoever.

This winter, Anderson headed to Puerto Rico, but again disappointingly, he didn't play full-time, picking up just 25 at-bats in total for Jose Oquendo's club. My hope is that Justin Knoedler, signed to a minor league deal ostensibly to replace Johnson for 2009, will sit in favor of Anderson, not vice versa.

I am counting on a strong 2009 for Anderson after him being put in the front lines and given the fair and full opportunity to either sink or swim. His placement in these rankings indicates our collective confidence which way it will go. At the current age of just 22 years old and one month, there is a lot of baseball ahead for Anderson.

To see our entire list of 40 prospects, click here. You can also read each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections.

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