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Anderson maturing quickly for young Marlins

Third baseman in future plans, looks to grow and lead youthful core
MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

JUPITER, Fla. -- On a youthful roster, Marlins third baseman Brian Anderson is a comparatively experienced newcomer.

The 24-year-old may have just 25 big league games under his belt, but he's already developed a sense of belonging. And if Martin Prado's right knee isn't ready by Opening Day, Anderson is a strong candidate to be in the starting lineup against the Cubs on March 29, at Marlins Park.

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JUPITER, Fla. -- On a youthful roster, Marlins third baseman Brian Anderson is a comparatively experienced newcomer.

The 24-year-old may have just 25 big league games under his belt, but he's already developed a sense of belonging. And if Martin Prado's right knee isn't ready by Opening Day, Anderson is a strong candidate to be in the starting lineup against the Cubs on March 29, at Marlins Park.

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"I think he's going to be a premier defender at third," manager Don Mattingly said. "I think he's going to be a really good hitter. … I think he's going to be a productive guy, who will drive in runs, and be a middle-of-the-order-type guy -- [batting] at four, five or six. A guy who can produce for you."

Ranked by MLB Pipeline as Miami's No. 9 prospect, Anderson is quietly making steady strides in Spring Training, and showing signs that he is not far from becoming a big league regular.

"I think we're just seeing a more mature guy," Mattingly said. "What you hope to see, when a guy gets to the big leagues, and has a big league camp under his belt. He is more comfortable in the locker room, and more comfortable with what we're doing. He's been to the big leagues, and now he's seen what it's like."

Video: Mattingly on Anderson's progress, future with Marlins

A year ago, Anderson made a strong impression in Spring Training, and opened the year at Double-A Jacksonville. He participated in the SiriusXM Futures Game, and then was promoted to Triple-A New Orleans, before being called up to Miami.

"Just knowing the guys in the clubhouse, and knowing the coaching staff," Anderson said. "That helps you stay even-keeled. Right now, I'm just trying to learn from what happened last year."

Anderson is sporting a new number this year, going to No. 15 after being 55 last September.

In limited big league action, Anderson had a slash line of .262/.337/.369 with seven doubles, one triple and eight RBIs.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Anderson has yet to hit a home run in the big leagues, but he projects to hit for power. At Double-A and Triple-A last year, he combined for 22 home runs and 81 RBIs. Earlier this spring, Anderson crushed a long home run against the Tigers at Lakeland, Fla.

Anderson is getting plenty of opportunities in camp with Prado recovering from knee surgery. Prado is scheduled to play in games in about a week.

With his locker next to Prado, Anderson is picking up pointers from the veteran.

"He gives me advice all the time," Anderson said. "Watching him go through his daily routine is something that I learn from every day. He's one of the first guys on the field. He's always working on something, getting better. His routine, as far as taking ground balls, and doing his defensive work -- everything is planned out. It's methodical, that's why he's so consistent, and that's why he's been the player that he's been."

On Friday, Anderson will get a good test, as he is scheduled to start against the Red Sox, who are starting Chris Sale.

"I just need to get more consistent," Anderson said. "That's the name of the game in the big leagues, is consistency. The [veterans] come out ready to play every single day. That's something I need to work on, making sure I'm ready to play every single day. Whether you're 0-for-10 or 10-for-10, you've got to be the same player every day. That's something I need to work on, and that's something I want to pride myself on going forward."

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

Miami Marlins, Brian Anderson