Reds Sign Josh Anderson

Yesterday, the Reds signed LHB OF Josh Anderson to a minor league contract.  Nice to see a fairly local guy getting a spring training invite.

But what can he do for the team?  Here are his stats, courtesy of FanGraphs:

Hitting

Year Age Team PA %K %BB %LD BABIP AVG OBP SLG ISO wOBA wRAA wRAR
2006 23.9 AA 610 12% 4% --- 0.348 0.308 0.344 0.385 0.077 0.335 -1.2 15.7
2007 24.9 AAA 564 13% 6% --- 0.316 0.273 0.319 0.341 0.068 0.302 -16.5 -1.0
2007 24.9 HOU 75 8% 7% 19% 0.387 0.358 0.413 0.403 0.045 0.367 2.0 4.1
2008 25.9 AAA 541 11% 6% --- 0.346 0.314 0.353 0.405 0.091 0.356 11.0 25.4
2008 25.9 ATL 146 23% 5% 22% 0.370 0.294 0.336 0.426 0.132 0.348 1.9 5.8
2009 26.9 DET/KCR 298 14% 4% 16% 0.280 0.240 0.275 0.304 0.064 0.279 -14.2 -6.3
2010 27.9 James 198 13% 5% --- 0.317 0.277 0.313 0.351 0.074 0.312 -3.9 1.4
2010 27.9 CHONE 473 15% 5% --- 0.321 0.276 0.319 0.369 0.092 0.317 -7.2 5.4

Anderson's calling card is his speed.  He has 280 SB (69 CS, 80%) in the minors, and is 36 for 43 (84%) in the majors.  Unfortunately, that's his only offensive weapon.  Slugging is not his forte (19 HR's in 3200+ PA's in the minors), and his minor league walk rate is at Brandon Phillips levels, so he has to get on via the base hit to get on base and create HAVOC.  He avoids the strikeout reasonably well, and both James and CHONE think he might hit ~0.270 next season.  That's just enough to be a tad above replacement level as a hitter given his lack of other offensive skills.  

Fielding-wise, he seems roughly average--slightly below average in CF, above average in the corners.  CHONE projects him at -3 runs in CF per season, based on MLB & minor league numbers, which would negate his CF position bonus.  Fan Scouting Report has him at +7 runs in LF, which equates to right about average overall.  Detroit fans recognized him as having outstanding sprint speed, good acceleration, but below-average instincts and an average arm.

Overall, I see him as somewhere around a half-win player.  Assuming he'd make near-minimum salary if he makes the roster, he could be a decent guy off the bench, especially because you can leverage his speed for pinch running situations...  But hopefully not someone who will get a strong look at a starting job.  I'd definitely put him behind Chris Dickerson and Laynce Nix as a left-handed platoon option in left field, for example.  

He also seems extremely redundant with Willy Taveras--Anderson projects to be the better hitter, though he might be slightly poorer as a fielder--so I'm not sure what to make of the signing.  Could it be that Willy will actually not make the opening day roster?  Or did we just not get enough of Taveras last year and we need more?

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