In the past five seasons, Brian Anderson She was one of the few steady presences on the Marlins. With a long list of big names leaving town semi-regularly, one of the only things Miami fans could count on was seeing Anderson’s name every day somewhere in the middle of Don Mattingly’s lineup card. But after only starting 155 games over the past two seasons and sustaining numerous injuries, the Miami front office decided to let him go as well, and not put him out in free agency. Now he’s bringing his talents to Milwaukee, where he has a one-year deal with the Brewers worth $3.5 million.
From 2018-20, Anderson was consistently an above-average performer, with 115 WRC+ and 7.3 WAR across 341 games. He’s basically done everything on a solid level or better: he’s had his fair share of walks (and he’s been diving an insignificant number of times), his strokes haven’t been an issue, and while his extra raw power isn’t fully realized due to his high ball rate and the dimensions he Unforgiving for his home field, he still hit 44 home runs during this stretch. He basically defined what it meant to get a 50 or 55 score on each offensive skill, which made him a hit all around.
After an uneven 2021 season and a left shoulder injury that required off-season surgery, Anderson’s production appeared to pick up at the start of 2022. He missed most of June with a back problem but had a very strong 117 wRC+ by the All-Star break , right in line with his best seasons. But on July 23, Anderson dove for a ground ball and it landed on his left shoulder —his third injury to his left shoulder in just over a year, and one injury that has held him at the IL for three weeks. After his return, his numbers fell significantly below career standards, as he slashed just .188/.276/.318 in 174 plate appearances the rest of the way. This prolonged slump reduced his WRC+ season to 90, marking his lowest for the second year in a row.
It’s not clear which version of Anderson the Brewers will get, but his shoulder problem last year clearly affected his performance, especially in catching fastballs in the area. He was always a fastball hitter, and had far better results against them than against other types of pitches, but his weak forehand may have reduced his ability to lift his bat fast enough to make consistent contact with the high heat.
Bryan Anderson Slugging vs. Fastball
|year||SLG on Fastballs||Puff % on Fastballs is high|
Source: World Baseball
Anderson posted a low level of damage on contact with his fastballs last season, with a high whiff rate against Heaters in the top third or higher of the area. But these swinging and erroneous numbers seem even more disturbing when the 2022 season is divided into two halves. Prior to re-aggravating his shoulder injury on July 23, Anderson’s high fastball average was 26.8%, better than his career average. In 43 games after returning from the IL, she jumped to 37.8%, a career high. If these issues persist, pitchers will continue to target him with the type of pitch he previously mashed, potentially wiping out his entire offensive profile.
Despite a cold 40-game streak, Anderson’s latent power numbers were among the best of his career. A good measure to use to understand how hard the batter is consistently impacting the ball 90th percentile exit speed, which is a combination of raw and in-game power. Despite his left shoulder being compromised, Anderson just set the highest 90th outing percentage of his career last season and, most promisingly, 11 of the 20 balls hit the most came after returning from his injury, including Line 112 mph homer drive which featured the most hit ball in three years. Notably, only two of those missiles hit high pitches, but it dealt consistent damage to fastballs in the middle of the board. While his average exit speed has dropped by a mark or two in the past two years, his exit speed numbers on air contact (line drives and flyballs) have remained in line with his career averages, a potential sign of a return to the new format. The stadium that is classified as 26% more suited to right-handed hitters than Marlins Parkers.
Brian Anderson’s 90th percentile exit speed
|year||Ninety percentile EV|
Source: World Baseball
While there are many unanswered questions about Anderson’s left shoulder, his throwing shoulder is completely intact and ready to do better. His defensive range at both the hot corner and outfield corners was slightly below average, but he made up for it with a big C-arm cannon. According to StatcastTwo-thirds of the base average speed was better than Anderson’s 88.9 mph; In right field, where teams tend to field their best outside arms, he was alone at the top of the leaderboard, averaging over 96 on the gun. In about 1,600 outside innings, he had a -7 RAA (range measure only), but he nearly made up for it with his arm, hitting +6.9 runs pitched per UZR. On the field, the RAA, UZR, and DRS all make him in the league average range at third base, so it’s pretty safe to aggressively display the defensive average no matter where he’s positioned on the field. Anderson is also no stranger to the utility role, having made at least 40 outfield appearances and 40 starting third basemen in three different seasons.
The Brewers, who narrowly missed the playoffs last season, are continuing their somewhat uneventful season, with the total of big league collaterals bringing in just $8 million. As a result, they will rely on a variety of younger, less experienced hitters to fill out their lineup, such as Garrett Mitchell And Tyrone Taylor abroad and Brice Turang And Luis Urreas On the infernal dirt. The hope is that each of these young players can take it a step further, but Anderson provides insurance in case that doesn’t happen. His consistency in the corners allows him to start from many different players if needed, and he should anchor a Milwaukee roster that will try to compete even without major upgrades.