Cardinal Farm Report

Bryan Anderson
AAA-Memphis Redbirds
23 years old
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
Height: 6’1″
Weight: 200 lbs
Drafted by Cardinals in the fourth round of the 2005 MLB Draft
Just like every week here on i70baseball, the Cardinal Farm Report spotlights one of the prized Cardinal minor leaguers. This week, it’s one of the most interesting prospects I have ever studied, Bryan Anderson.

At the start of the 2010 MLB season, Anderson was a non-roster invitee to Cardinals Spring Training for the first time in his career. While he did not make the team and was optioned to AAA Memphis, Anderson was called up to the big leagues and made his Major League debut with the Cardinals on April 15th due to an injury to back-up catcher Jason LaRue. Anderson’s stint in St. Louis didn’t last long but he certainly made an impact. Appearing in four games, he was 2-for-7 with one run and one RBI. His shining moment came against Atlanta when his pinch-hit double brought in the tying run. The Cardinals later went on to win by a score of 4-3.

Even though the team isn’t quite ready to see him at the MLB level, Andreson is putting together a fine season with the Redbirds as their starting catcher. In 191 minor league at bats, he is batting .283/.353/.461 with 9 home runs, 31 RBI, and 19 walks. Those numbers are not bad by any means, but this is actually a down year for Bryan.

After being drafted in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, Anderson spent his first four minor league seasons crushing the ball at a .306 clip. At the start of the 2008 campaign, Baseball America put Bryan Anderson in their Top-100 Prospects list at #85. In 2007 and 2008, Anderson represented the St. Louis Cardinals in the annual Futures Game. However, in 2009, the prospect backstop suffered a strain to his non-throwing shoulder. Fortunately, the injury does not appear to be limiting him in any way. He only played 58 games last season and many people totally forgot about him as a prospect. The fact is, he’s still only 23. A 23-year-old starting catcher that is doing well in AAA should always be considered a prospect.

Anderson projects as a high-average MLB player with potential to hit the long ball at a pretty good rate. The problem for the Cardinals is that he has also been described as a “true disignated hitter”. There is no doubt that he can hit the ball, but his defensive ability behind the plate is rough. Of course this can be worked on, but ideally he is a future first baseman or DH in the Majors. I think it’s pretty obvious that the Cardinals need neither of those. That is why many fans believe Anderson is one of the Cardinals main trading chips as we approach the trade deadline.

If we don’t plan on trading him, it may be time to give him another shot with St. Louis. After all, neither of the Cardinal’s catchers are hitting. Yadi is batting a whopping .226, and LaRue’s average is even worse at .205. Molina needs a rest every once in a while but LaRussa is obviously uncomfortable starting LaRue (three starts in the past month). TLR has also expressed that he would like to add a left-handed hitter to the bench. Bryan Anderson is left-handed. To me, calling him up makes sense. Why not?

AAA-Memphis Redbirds
Memphis was visiting Round Rock earlier in the week and managed to win the seven game series 5-2. Lance Lynn led the way on Sunday with six strong innings of work to get the win and take the fourth game of the series 2-1. Ruben Gotay also had a productive day, going 2-for-4. Monday was much different however. Instead of the pitching duel, it was a slugfest that Round Rock ended up winning 11-6. Allen Craig blasted a grand slam to cut the Round Rock lead to one, but it wasn’t enough. Much like Sunday, Memphis inched out Round Rock again on Tuesday night with a 5-4 victory anchored by a huge game from Kevin Howard. Howard went 3-for-4 with one run, a double, a triple, and two RBI. P.J. Walters seemed to find his groove again as he pitched six beautiful innings only allowing one earned run while striking out nine. Round Rock’s luck changed a little on Wednesday, beating the Redbirds 7-2. While there weren’t many positives on the Memphis side of things, the recently called-up Mike Folli went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI. Thursday was the beginning of a new series as the Redbirds took on Nashville in a five-game set. Chuckie Fick took the mound and seemed to control the opposition for five solid innings, only allowing four hits and zero earned runs. Memphis shutout Nashville in game one, 3-0. The team had a double-header on Friday due to a rain-out in June. Memphis dropped game one by the score of 6-4. Bryan Anderson went 2-for-3 and, despite scoring four runs, was the only player to record two hits. Game two didn’t exactly go to plan as the ‘Birds had to watch their 4-0 lead disappear. Nashville scored two runs in the top of the sixth to take a 6-5 lead that they would hold on to for the victory. Next week, the Redbirds finish off the series with Nashville on the 11th before they enjoy a nice four-day vacation. They will then pick it back up in New Orleans for a four-game set.
AA-Springfield Cardinals
This was a pretty simple week for the Cardinals as they only played four games. Sunday was the start of a new series with Midland and one that the Cards won behind a fine performance from Nick Additon. Nick logged five innings of three-hit ball while the offense put up three runs to win 3-2. The roles seemed to reverse Monday as Springfield lost a tough one 3-2. Brian Broderick’s five shutout innings didn’t stop Midland from hitting the bullpen. Probably the best pitching performance for Springfield came on Tuesday as Ryan Kulik pitch a very efficient seven innings, only allowing two earned runs on six hits. Andrew Brown provided the offensive punch going 2-for-3 with a home run and four RBI. The Cards then took two days off thanks to a rain postponement on Thursday following an off-day on Wednesday. The postponed game on Thursday was supposed to be the start of a series against Frisco. Instead, game one was on Friday but it didn’t look like the two days off helped any. Scott McGregor got beat up, giving up six runs in four innings of work. The final scored ended up being 7-4. Next week, Springfield will continue their series with Frisco on Saturday (double-header), Sunday, and Monday. They will then take on Midland once again on the 11th-13th, and then cross the border into Arkansas for a four-game series.
A-Palm Beach
Much like Springfield, it was a pretty easy week for the Single-A affiliate. It started with a 5-3 lost to Bradenton on Sunday. The offense was pretty dead, but Jerred Bogany had a 2-for-4 day with an RBI. The Monday night game was cancelled due to “wet grounds”. The off-day must have been very beneficial for Bradenton because they came out on Tuesday and dismantled the Cardinals, 9-0. Palm Beach learned their lesson though. The offense was clicking on all cylinders and led the team to a 9-3 win against Jupiter on Wednesday. Alex Castellanos went 2-for-4 with one run, a triple, and two RBI. Luis De La Cruz also had a two-hit night with a double and two RBI. Not to mention, Richard Castillo pitched another good game, going seven innings and only allowing three runs. The bats were at it again on Thursday and Jupiter could not keep up. D’Marcus Ingram, Chris Swauger, Niko Vasquez, and Alex Castellanos all had an excellent game at the plate to beat Jupiter, 8-1. Brett Zawacki may have pitched his best game of the season. He allowed four hits and zero runs in seven innings of work. The Cards continued their ways on Friday night in another blowout win, 7-0. The hitting and pitching were, once again, great. Kyle Thomas struck out six in five shutout innings and Alex Castellanos kept riding his hot-streak, going 3-for-4 with one run and two doubles. Next week, Palm Beach will play Bradenton at home for three games, and then travel to Lakeland for a four-game set.
Niko Vasquez, 3B, Palm Beach
.421 AVG (8-for-19), .500 OBP, .789 SLG, four runs, two doubles, one triple, one home run, ten RBI, three walks
Believe it or not, Vasquez was recently called up to the Single-A squad and wasn’t even having a very good season to begin with in Quad Cities. On the year, Niko is only hitting .251 but does have 52 RBI.
P.J. Walters, SP, Memphis
Six innings, six hits, one run, one walk, nine strikeouts
There were several pitchers who had good weeks (Salas, Fick, Lynn, Kulik, Zawacki), but Walters was pretty dominating on Tuesday. This season, Walters is 2-2 with a 3.21 ERA and 52 SO in 47 innings.

Justin Hulsey covers the Cardinals for and his blog, Cardinals Front Office, that is also dedicated to Cardinal baseball.You may follow him on Twitter @JayHulsey by clicking here.

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