Josh Anderson: cheap speed in the outfield

AT the end of my 12-team head-to-head draft, one of the owners said they needed a little bit more speed in their lineup.

They considered trading one of their excess power bats for some wheels, but also asked me if there was anyone on waivers who could maybe help out.

I had a quick look over the outfielders on the waivers list and threw out the name of Josh Anderson – a 26-year-old leftie who came up through the Astros system after being drafted in the 4th round of the 2003 amatuer draft.

Anderson has a history of being fleet footed. He swiped 280 bases over six seasons in A-ball, including 40 at the Astros’ AAA team Roundrock Express in 2007 and 42 last year for the Richmond Braves (Atlanta’s AAA affiliate) in the International League.

During his short big league stay in 2008 in Atlanta, he stole 10 bases in just 136 at bats, so the upside is there for 25 or more with regular playing time.

Unfortunately, there were two main problems with Anderson.

  1. He was fighting for, and ultimately set to lose, the final outfield spot in the Braves’ Major League roster.
  2. He has no pop, and I mean none.


josh anderson.jpgLuckily for Anderson, one of those problems solved itself with the surprise departure of Gary Sheffield.

Anderson was traded to the Detroit Tigers at the end of March. Shef, seemingly a lock in the Tigers’ outfield, was cut free the very next day.

With Granderson and Ordonez the only two guarantees in the outfield, Anderson should get plenty of opportunities to play.

He is better than Thames and Guillen will be seeing plenty of at bats in the DH spot. Maybe more importantly, he is a left-handed bat in a lineup dominated by righties and he can play all three outfield positions.

Anderson will probably hit around the .270 mark, but he has the skills and potential to bat anywhere up to .290. If he could improve his patience and build on that 4 per cent walk rate, he could seriously raise his OBP and prove to be a real threat.

But with a histroy of being a career .340 OBP guy, the chances of that are slim. You’ve heard it a million times, but you can’t steal first base.

He hit three home runs and stole seven bases last September, so there is something there, but you are not going to be drafting him for his home runs and RBI.

Bid for the 20 steals and hope for more than 300 at bats. A tiny spattering of long fly balls are nothing more than a frequent and unexpected bonus.

If your fantasy league is anything like mine, there won’t be a surplus of speed in the free agant pool. Maybe only a Rajai Davis or Joey Gathright if you’re lucky. And even then, how desperate do you need to be to get them??

They only hit three home runs and walked 28 times between them in 493 at bats in ’08!

If you have a spare spot for a 4th OF on your roster, now might be the time to grab him. I just have.

 

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