Brian Anderson knows he is close to realizing his dream the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp infielder tore up the Arizona Fall League and was impressive during the Miami Marlins’ spring training. Could a solid start to the 2017 season in the Southern League be the ticket to the major-league roster in south Florida?
Anderson and his teammates were on hand for the Jumbo Shrimp Media Day at Bragan Field at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. In his second stint, here in Jacksonville, Anderson wants to continue to work on consistency both at the plate and in the infield with the hope of impressing the parent organization.
“It’s definitely exciting. Starting the last year off in High-A and then getting the call up was awesome in of itself,” Anderson said. The 23-year-old third baseman offers the Jumbo Shrimp versatility as he can also play at second and will be counted on as a leader in the clubhouse.
Anderson said playing in the Arizona Fall League for the second straight year gave him an idea of what he needed to do, to improve on.
Anderson may be one of the “veterans” on this roster, but he is still excited about a new season in north Florida.
The Jumbo Shrimp, formerly the Suns, will have a new skipper this season in Randy Ready, who told the media in attendance he is more concerned how this team finishes the season rather than how it starts. Ready, who managed the Jupiter Hammerheads, Miami’s High-A affiliate, believes it should be an exciting year.
“We kickoff on Thursday and look forward to player development number one, but also creating a winning atmosphere.”
The team here in Jacksonville finished with a losing record for the second consecutive season in 2016. Ready is hoping the team will be in the hunt throughout the season.
The Jumbo Shrimp will count on new members of the pitching staff to help get them there. Dillon Peters and Matt Tomshaw will anchor the rotation while Jarlin Garcia, a starter and the organization’s No. 4 prospect, will move to the bullpen, hoping to make the major-league roster in a reliever’s role.
Ready is hoping both pitching and hitting carry this team through 140 games.
“It’s 2017 and we are starting fresh. I think we have a great group of players,” said Ready. “It starts with our pitching and defense. We are going to do everything we can to be fundamentally sound.
While Peters will get the ball for the first game of the season, Tomshaw is also going to be counted on to give this team quality innings. The former Jacksonville University pitcher is excited about playing in front of the locals. Tomshaw worked with Jumbo Shrimp pitching coach Storm Davis while in Triple-A New Orleans. He said everything is new and offers everyone a chance to get a fresh start.
Tomshaw has taken on the leadership role with new teammates getting acclimated to the city and what it has to offer off the diamond.
He said his familiarity with players from last year and in the minors will help this team transition to a new staff and continuity.
The Jumbo Shrimp start the season on the road at the Mississippi Braves. Jacksonville plays it first series at home, a five-game set, starting April 12 against the Chattanooga Lookouts.