Owners of Chris Perez and Shin-Soo Choo Cleveland Indians jerseys can rest easy; the annual July 31 deadline has come and gone, and they're both still on the active roster. The Indians appeared to have stood pat until the blockbuster deal, which brings Lars Anderson into the organization while the Boston Red Sox will have the pleasure of former Akron Aeros pitcher Steven Wright.
The 6'4" Northern California native plays first base and left field, which will fill the void for Eric Wedge fans who miss that combination of defensive skills. His Major League resume includes 30 games with the Red Sox sprinkled over the last three seasons, where he's boasted a .167 average with 4 RBI and a double while being utilized as a defenseive replacement and pinch-hitting in a lot of blowout-type games. Once upon a time, Anderson was a highly touted prospect, ranked in the Top 100 by Baseball America in 2008, 2009, and 2010, but the jump from AA Portland to AAA Pawtucket proved to be difficult for Anderson.
After a hot start, hitting .355 in the Eastern League in 2010, Anderson plateaued at the next level, and has been hitting at a .262 clip on the AAA level. He's right there this year, hitting .259 with 9 HR and 52 RBI. The 24 year-old is sixth in the International League with 56 walks and a .359 on-base percentage. He is hitting .261 against left-handed pitching, and to his credit he is htting .316 with the bases occupied while splitting his time between first and left field defensively. After being part of a rescinded trade for Rich Harden at the deadline a year ago, this is the second time Boston has attempted to give their 18th Round pick of the 2006 Draft his walking papers.
The scouting report on him, from SoxProspects.com reads as follows:
Tall left-handed hitter with well, filled out frame. Smooth swing. Demonstrates strong patience at the plate, comfortably working counts to get offerings to drive. Brings a plan to the plate and has knowledge of his strike zone. Lets the ball get deep on him and hits inside of the baseball. Extends well with his arms to drive ball to opposite field. Struggles with breaking balls, which leads to swings-and-misses and weak contact on the ground. Must improve contact skills to project as an average-to-better hitter for batting average at the big league level. Despite plus raw power, has trouble pulling the ball with lift. Swing shows too much hook and lacks leverage due to looping hands during swing load. Struggles to get good wood on inside fastballs. Average-to-solid-average home run projection at big league level. Below-average speed. Defense around the first base bag has improved the last two seasons. Has become more sure-handed. Digs throws in the dirt well. Average range. Adequate defensively. Ability to stick on a major league roster heavily tied into offensive production. Needs more consistency with focus and concentration. Projects as an up-and-down major leaguer, with potential to carve role out on a second division team.
Steven Wright was the Indians second round pick in 2006 out of the University of Hawaii at Manoa. In six minor league seasons with the Tribe's farm system, he has posted a record of 38-33, but he's 27-15 at the AA level. The 27 year old knuckleballer is 9-6 with a 2.49 ERA with Akron in 2012, and had yielded just a .207 batting average to opposing batsmen, best in the Eastern League. The Indians organization has gained a reputation for poor drafting, but Wright might be the exception where David Huff and Trevor Crowe are the rule.
If this deal leads you to believe that the Red Sox are competent and the Indians may not know what they're doing. I don't blame you; this seems like a swap of a guy on the way up for a guy on the way down.
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