Ask and ye shall receive.
Lars Anderson was the winner of a recent poll on here, asking which Around the EL feature you’d like to see next.
The Sea Dogs slugger entered the season as the Red Sox top prospect, according to Baseball America. During Portland’s last trip to Waterfront Park this year, I sat down with the laid-back California native for a few minutes and asked him a number of questions…
(Note: Friend and colleague Kira Jones, who works for MiLB.com, was also there for part of the interview and asked one of these questions as well…)
Mike Ashmore: The Boston Red Sox picked you in the 18th round in 2006, certainly a bit lower than I’m sure you thought you might go. Thinking back to the day you got selected, what comes to mind?
Lars Anderson: “At the time, I was really indecisive about if I wanted to play pro ball or if I wanted to go to school. I kind of felt some relief, because I was supposed to go a little higher than that and I slipped. So I was like, ‘OK, I kind of want to go to school.’ Then the Red Sox picked me. I was on my way to baseball practice and my brother called and said, ‘Hey, how do you like Boston?’ And I thought that was cool, so it just worked out nicely.”
Ashmore: Baseball America has got you rated as the Red Sox number one prospect this season. Does being held in such high regard like that weigh on your shoulders at all, or do you not really think about it?
Anderson: “I try to not pay attention to that, and I think I would be able to do that, but people remind you of it. So it’s there, and it’s a matter of managing that. I don’t think it reflects on me as far as how I am as a ballplayer or as a person, it’s just a subjective opinion of the organization. I don’t even know if that person who made that list has seen me play. So it’s pretty arbitrary. I know a lot of guys in this organization are at the top of their game, so I don’t really know how accurate that whole thing is.”
Ashmore: Can you give me a little scouting report on yourself for someone who hasn’t seen you play?
Anderson: “Offensively, when I’m going really well, I’m quiet, my swing is easy and I’m driving the ball up the middle and in the gaps. When I struggle, I’ll start to pull off of balls. And I think that’s true for a lot of hitters. I like hitting fastballs, but I think I’m getting better at hitting offspeed stuff. They always say that the best offspeed hitters are the guys that hit the fastballs, so it seems like it’s a nice approach to take.”
“Defensively, I’m pretty pleased with some of the strides I’ve made. There’s some situational stuff that I’ve made mistakes on that it’s good to have that happen now. There was a play last night where that happen, and I was like OK, next time I’ll be a little bit more aware of that. I feel fundamentally a bit more comfortable on the field, which is great. I’m working hard at it.”
Ashmore: You got to play in the Eastern League All-Star Game here in Trenton recently. What was your experience like?
Anderson: “It was great. I wish the All-Star break was about four days long so I could have a couple days to myself, but it was fun. It was really cool meeting up with all these guys and kind of picking their brains and seeing where they’re at. I really had some good connections. A lot of times they’ll just come through first base and you’ll have a brief conversation, but there I was able to connect with them a little bit more. That was a cool thing for me.”
Ashmore: You came into tonight’s game hitting around .270, and a lot of people consider that struggling for you considering what you’ve hit in the past. Does that seem ridiculous to you at all?
Anderson: “No, it’s not. I know I can do better than what I’m doing, and I always feel that way. I think I’m going to look back on this year, regardless of what happens in the next month and a half, and be like, ‘Wow, that was a huge year for me, I learned a lot.'”
Ashmore: In reading a lot of scouting reports on you, it seems a lot of people feel like you can hit in the big leagues right now. Is that an asssessment you’d agree with?
Anderson: “I don’t know, I haven’t really had much experience. I had a few at-bats in spring training, but it’s just a handful. I feel like if I was locked in, I could probably hold my own. I don’t know. I’m sure if they execute their pitches…those guys get big leaguers out, so it would probably be tough. I don’t know, I’d like to try.”
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com