The Demise Of Lars Anderson


The transaction wire for 7/18 summed it up. Lars Anderson was released by the Chicago White Sox and now became baseball compost.
Apr 24, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA: Boston Red Sox first baseman Lars Anderson (62) hits a single in the ninth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. The Red Sox won 11-2. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Anderson was signed out of high school as an 18th round selection for the Red Sox in 2006. Signability issues had dropped Anderson significantly in the draft, but the Red Sox offered $825,000, and that bonus represented a bargain for a player who could have been a round one pick, a round that had Clayton Kershaw, Tim Lincecum and Evan Longoria . Daniel Bard was the Sox selection in that first round and the book is ready to close on Bard.

Anderson had California surfer looks combined with a high end potential. The marketing department had visions of jersey sales with the baseball ops side fantasizing about a power bat for years. Some of the more giddy in the fan base even mentioned comparisons to various sluggers of the past – even (heart be still) Ted Williams. No Sam Horn with this Anderson kid.

There was no shortage of baseball hyperbole for the next few years as it was just a matter of time before Anderson was anchored at 1B and ringing up impressive numbers. Baseball America had him as high as #17 on their prospect list and the scouting reports reflected an excellent upside. Just a matter of time.

Something happened to Anderson on his way to Red Sox glory – he failed. There were multiple reasons put forward and you hear them all when an up in lights prospect fails. Sure, Anderson had a brief fling in Boston, but accomplished little. In 2012 the Red Sox packed it in and Anderson was shipped to Cleveland for Steven Wright. Then he ended up with the Toronto Blue Jays and finally the White Sox.

I think of Anderson or even Billy Consolo when I see player projections. A simple fact of baseball life is very few really make a lasting impact, even those in the first few rounds. Just examine the Sox top 20 of today and the fact is most will not make a significant impact, including some that have the “can’t miss” label. I find some of the projections like astrology – fun to read but don’t take it seriously.

If Anderson had been the real deal, the Adrian Gonzalez trade never would have happened, but that is another story for another time. Plenty of “what ifs” in the draft process.

Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus both compile top 100 prospects lists. Interesting going back through the years.