Garret Anderson is no stranger to Los Angeles. The L.A. native and Kennedy High School (Granada Hills) alumnus was drafted in the fourth round of the 1990 amateur draft by the California Angels and spent his entire professional career in their organization until leaving as a free agent and playing last season for the Atlanta Braves.
Anderson was a mainstay for the Angels, spending thirteen years there as a starting outfielder, peaking in the 2000 - 2003 seasons when in each season he drove in at least 116 runs, totaled at least 28 home runs, 39 doubles and 185 hits, and was twice awarded an AL Silver Slugger, accumulating an .843 OPS in that span. He is also the proud possessor of a ring in a box, finishing fourth in the AL MVP voting in the Angels world championship 2002 season.
The top of the Angels career batting leader board features Anderson's name repeatedly.
|Garret Anderson Angels career
His 516 career doubles are 35th all-time in the modern era (1901 - present).
The top similarity score for Anderson through the age-37 season is Dodger icon Steve Garvey with a 910 (where 1000 is a perfect match). In fact, Garvey appears at the top of Anderson's age similarity score for ten different ages, and Anderson on Garvey's for eleven! One clear similarity is their shared aversion to walking. Garvey had a 5.1% career walk rate; Anderson's is 4.7%. Check out their similar triple-slash stats:
|Through Age 37||Avg||OBP||Slg||OPS|
Anderson hopes that his age-38 season turns out better than Garvey's. Coming off a season where he sported a .692 OPS, Garvey tore a biceps tendon in his upper left arm in May and finished out the season on the disabled list, ending with a unsightly line of .211 / .231 / .276 / .507, and announcing his retirement in the off-season. Anderson's OPS last year was a less than robust .705.
Anderson is in the Dodger spring training camp as a non-roster invitee with a minor-league contract. He will make $550,000 if he makes the club, and can ask for his release if he isn't added to the roster by April 1.
|2010 Projections - Age 32 Season|
Anderson's bat may have been overexposed last year playing LF full-time (124 starts) for the Braves at age 37. It's possible that his bat might benefit with reduced playing time. It's also possible that he is in serious decline and about to suffer another drop in production.
Defensively his career UZR/150 in LF (since 2002) is 0.8. Single-season UZRs can suffer from smallness of sample size, so perhaps his poor 2009 rating isn't indicative of his true level, much like his 2008 rating isn't either. When Manny Ramirez is your starting left-fielder, Garret Anderson at one month younger is probably still an improvement.
Anderson isn't guaranteed a job with the Dodgers for 2010; he is competing with Doug Mientkiewicz for the left-handed bench bat job, a contest that will probably run through the entire month of March. One suspects that the AL-experienced Dodger coaching staff may still be enamored of the Anderson they saw in the past.
If Garret Anderson makes the team, and I think he will, I guess his stat line will be .252 / .295 / .380 with 99 PAs.
What are your predictions for Garret Anderson (BA/OBP/SLG and Plate Appearances)?
(Statistics courtesy of baseball-reference.com and fangraphs.com)