Monday, July 14, 2008

Center Field of Dreams for Brian Anderson

Because we see more of him than any other bench player, Brian Anderson's role as a back-up Center Fielder is often debated. I, for one, happen to be on the Brian Anderson Band Wagon. WOO! WOO! (That was me tooting the horn or what have you. Do band wagons have horns or are they more of an Amish thing with nothing but wheels and room to stack your hay?) The reasons are simple: great center fielder (He’s tallied 3 career errors with the White Sox, none this year), he’s proven to be a good base runner in a team of, well, “slower” veterans, he has power at bat (He recorded a career-high .419 slugging average this far this year.), and I’m a big fan of young players in general (Floyd, Danks, Ramirez, Quentin, Logan).

The occupational hazard I’m running into is that for every person that agrees with me on something I write, I get a hundred reasons why I’m wrong from those that disagree. So, with that said, thanks to the internet’s abundance of blogs, forums, and news sources, I also understand why so many Sox fans aren’t Brian fans. To put it simply, as one fan has in this post in the WhiteSoxInteractive website forum, “Brian Anderson Sucks at Hitting.” If you want to try the strength of your migraine medication, you can try to follow the back-and-forth bickering and fact-swapping that occurs in that thread. I gave up on it and simply chose to skim, but picked up some interesting terms coined by those that are opposed to Brian, such as “FOBA,” and “FWOBA.” (That’s, ‘Fan of B.A.,’ and ‘Future Wife of B.A.,” respectively.)

So, according to everyone, what’s wrong with Anderson? For one, he’s a jerk for wanting to be transferred to get more playing time. To that, they add that he won’t get transferred because no one wants him. He chases bad pitches (He already has 32 strike-outs this year, just 7 shy of Crede who has had at least twice as many at-bats). He flies out too much in search of home runs. Dewayne Wise is so much better. (He’s batting .350, but has only 40 at-bats since being called up from AAA Charlotte and his career average is just .216. Hardly enough information here to really be able to judge.) He’s been in plenty of games in the previous years and hasn’t been spectacular. And, last, he puts on a show for the ladies. (I have to admit, this one ALMOST convinced me. Maybe a comment about his ears would have made this argument more convincing.)

A poll on this blog closed last week. The question asked was, "With the pending lineup change, which of these players deserves a spot as a starter?" Anderson was a clear leader with 40%, with Paul Konerko trailing at 27%, Dewayne Wise with 22%, Juan Uribe with 9%, while Pablo Ozuna gets a dunce cap and 0% of the votes. Clearly, there are enough "F.O.B.A."s out there willing to support Brian and defend his abilities as a player.

My take overall? Give the boy some at-bats and some serious batting practice. Feel free to disagree, but I think it was a slap in the face to Brian to have Swisher as a starter in center field when Swisher isn’t as good in CF and, really, they’re about the same at bat. (And I say this without the figures to prove it, because Brian certainly hasn’t had as many at bats, but statistically seems to be on track with what I’m saying.) Especially toward the beginning of the year, Swish looked an even bigger mess at bat. Only recently has Swish been distinguishing himself as a better batter than Brian. Admittedly, Brian has had about 3 career walks (I'm exaggerating, of course, but every time he does walk rather than fly out or strike out, it feels like a rarity), and that says something about him as a batter. What Brian needs (not that this is something realistic, but don’t you agree that it would help him?) is a batting battle against our best pitchers. Throw him about 100 pitches, show him everything. Surely, the debate over his talent or lack thereof can only be settled with solid proof that would come from big league batting experience. And as for him putting on a show, well, whatever works. Surely, the entire purpose of the baseball franchise is not to find the cure to cancer, but to entertain the masses that migrate to ballparks every summer. Plus, I’m sure experience has shown him that, “Hey, I’m Brian Anderson,” certainly won’t be a good pick-up line if it comes paired with a loss.

So, to B.A. or not to B.A.? That is the question you’ll have to wrestle with as the season goes on. Be sure leave comments with you opinions and to check back again for more editorials throughout the All-Star Break.

Picture Credit: Kelvinma


Mal92 said...

Love Brian!! They NEED to play him more (and send Swisher to first)!

Kaine said...

I hate to say it, but I think Konerkoe's time with sox is limited. He just isnt as good as he was in 05. I say, Swish at first and Brian in CF.

White Sox Blog said...

I'm hoping Konerko comes around, but I have to agree and say that if he doesn't, Swish at first and Brian in CF are definitely a winning combo.

Mizz Sarcastic Loves The White Sox said...

I Love Brian Anderson! Everytime he's in the game as a starter/pinch runner/or CF replacment I am always cheering loudly for him. I tend to get some looks but whatever... I think he is a really good player that needs some more at bats. I think he has shown that he has gotten better at the plate, not great, but somewhat of an improvement. His defense is great and needs to be in there! I like Swisher but sometimes he misses balls that BA would catch. I like him better at first and BA in center.