Brian Anderson is a name most Yankees fans probably don’t remember. He was once a highly touted outfield prospect for the White Sox, but today he is a non-roster invitee fighting for a chance to pitch for the Yankees.
His story is an interesting one. Anthony McCarron of the NY Daily News wrote a really good story about him yesterday that is worth pointing out.
The White Sox drafted Anderson with the 15th overall pick in the 2003 draft, giving him $1.6 million to sign. He was instantly their center fielder of the future, a player with offensive potential who offered terrific defense, too, including a splendid throwing arm.
Just over two years later, the Sox, who had won the 2005 World Series, traded their starting center fielder, Aaron Rowand, to Philadelphia, figuring Anderson would play the position while they defended their first championship in 88 years and for years to come.
But Anderson couldn’t seize the job permanently. Once one of baseball’s top prospects, he fizzled as a hitter, though he was a good defensive outfielder. As seasons passed, his role shrunk. He bounced around to different teams. Baseball wasn’t as fun as it used to be.
But, Anderson believed, it could be – if he went back to pitching. After all, he occasionally snuck in bullpen sessions and was forever bugging teammates who were pitchers for details on how they gripped their pitches. With the Red Sox in 2009, he regularly quizzed Jon Lester on how he held his cut fastball.
So when he did not make the Royals as an outfielder out of spring training last year, Anderson told them he wanted to switch positions. At first, Kansas City brass tried to talk him out of it because they knew they would probably need Anderson in the majors as an outfielder during the season, but they ultimately agreed and he began converting in the minors.
The rest of the story is definitely worth the read. It goes more into detail about Anderson’s road to the mound, discusses other players who have made the switch, and what he’s got going up against him. It’s also good to note that Anderson is determined to make it as a pitcher and has no problem spending more time in the minors to do it.