Marlins' Anderson seeks power boost in Year 2

Third baseman hit 11 homers, 34 doubles in rookie season

March 1st, 2019

JUPITER, Fla. -- Reminders that can do damage with one swing surface every so often. That was on display Thursday when the Marlins' third baseman crushed a two-run home run on an elevated fastball off Bradley Rogers in a 7-5 loss to the Astros.

Anderson blistered a drive over the berm and into a vending stand at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches for his first Grapefruit League home run.

When these flashes of power occur on a more consistent basis is when Anderson will be listed among the top third basemen in the game.

"I think he's kind of a day-in, day-out guy, that his numbers will pile over time," manager Don Mattingly said. "Again, the numbers start piling quicker as he starts hitting for more power, and he will. As long as he doesn't try to force it."

Anderson is off to a solid Spring Training, batting .300 (3-for-10) with a team-high four RBIs.

Listed at 6-foot-3, 185-pounds, Anderson has the frame to be a middle-of-the-order threat. He also has the swing path and approach to be a well-rounded hitter, which he showed during his 2018 rookie season with a .273/.357/.400 slash line with 11 home runs, 34 doubles, 65 RBIs and 87 runs scored.

Anderson has the makings of a perennial 20-plus home run player. It's just a matter of developing that part of his game.

"I don't think we're really going to know until the season comes," Anderson said when asked about his power potential. "But that's something I want to improve on. I have an opportunity to improve on last year, as far as power goes."

The future certainly is bright for Anderson, one of the core young players on the Marlins. In 2018, he finished fourth in the National League Rookie of the Year voting.

"I like the way last year I was able to split the gaps," Anderson said. "That's my primary focus, is hitting the gaps and making sure I can score some runners, not necessarily hit home runs."

Anderson was valued at 3.4 WAR per Fangraphs in 2018, and he hopes to build off that in '19.

Unlike his rookie season when he also spent time in right field, Anderson will be at third base more exclusively now.

"As far as things I can improve on, I took away that I have room to be more consistent," Anderson said. "I was pretty consistent last year, but there is always room to improve. I had a slower second half. So for me, my takeaway was taking care of my body and taking care of my nutrition, and making sure I stay on top of that, so I can stay good through the whole year.”

Anderson admitted he started wearing down physically in the second half. After the All-Star break, his line was .245/.346/.349 with three home runs and 16 RBIs, compared to a .288/.363/.429 first half with eight home runs and 49 RBIs.

Over the course of the season, Anderson lost about 12 pounds.

"I was kind of dragging at the end a little bit," Anderson said. "It wasn't anything big. I was still able to go out and play, but I don't think I was able to get everything out of my body that I could.

"I think that was just me being young and inexperienced and not having to deal with a season that is that long, as far as travel. For me, it's just a process of getting better, and getting my routines down on the road, and making sure that I'm eating and working out the right way."