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'Water reaches its level' for emerging Anderson

@JoeFrisaro
May 22, 2019

DETROIT -- The power numbers may not totally be there for Marlins third baseman Brian Anderson, who has gotten off to a slow start, but his hard-contact rate suggests it’s only a matter of time before his production increases. A couple of more indicators came in Tuesday’s 5-4 win in

DETROIT -- The power numbers may not totally be there for Marlins third baseman Brian Anderson, who has gotten off to a slow start, but his hard-contact rate suggests it’s only a matter of time before his production increases.

A couple of more indicators came in Tuesday’s 5-4 win in 11 innings over the Tigers at Comerica Park. Anderson hit three balls more than 100 mph, and finished with a double, a home run and two RBIs.

In the eighth inning of Wednesday's 6-3 win over the Tigers, Anderson homered for the second straight game, connecting on a two-run home run. Statcast projected the opposite-field shot at 394 feet, with an exit speed of 108.1 mph.

The double in the third inning off Spencer Turnbull on Tuesday, in particular, was telling, because the exit velocity, per Statcast, was 114.4 mph, making it the hardest-hit ball by a Miami player this year. The home run off Nick Ramirez in the seventh inning came on a breaking ball that Anderson was able to put an easy swing on and drive over the wall in left field with an exit speed of 104.1 mph. He also had a flyout that was tracked at 105.3 mph.

“It’s been kind of a slow start,” Anderson said. “Getting to find some barrels is a good sign for me. I feel like I’m kind of getting back to where I need to be.”

The Marlins are last in the Majors in runs scored and don’t have a lineup loaded with prolific middle-of-the-order producers. Anderson is regarded as a big part of the club’s core.

Per Statcast, the third baseman’s hard-hit rate is 49.6 percent, an increase from a season ago, when Anderson finished fourth in the National League Rookie of the Year Award race with a hard-hit mark of 42.4 percent.

Anderson’s average exit velocity on all balls in play is 90.8 mph, above the MLB average of 88.9 mph. A year ago, it was 90.2 mph, so he’s seen a gradual increase.

“Water reaches its level,” manager Don Mattingly said. “He’s hit everywhere he’s been. Those guys are going to hit.”

The Marlins are providing opportunities for a number of young hitters. But in Anderson, they feel they have a core player who projects to anchor third base for the foreseeable future.

The three hardest-hit balls for the Marlins this year are: Anderson (114.4 mph), Jorge Alfaro (113.7 mph) and Lewis Brinson (112.1 mph).

On balls hit at least 105 mph, Anderson is third on the club with 11, behind Alfaro (12) and Starlin Castro (17).

Anderson also is second on the Marlins in total barrels with nine. Curtis Granderson has 10, and Alfaro eight.

“I think that’s the way baseball is,” said Anderson, who has three home runs. “Sometimes you start off slowly, and come on strong. I think, for me, I just need to keep making adjustments. They’re going to be adjusting to me, and I’ve got to keep making adjustments.”

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.