March 18, 2009; San Diego, CA, USA; Cuda sfirst baseman Leslie Anderson (56) strikes out with runners on first and third during the sixth inning in the second round of the World Baseball Classic against Japan at Petco Park in San Diego, CA. Mandatory Credit: Photo By Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE

Will Leslie Anderson Get A Chance?


Back in 2010, Leslie Anderson was filled with promise. Considered a highly skilled international player, he defected from the Cuban National team, and was signed by the Rays in April of that season to a four year contract worth $1.725Million. The then 28 year old started his professional career with the Charlotte Stone Crabs, moved up to the Montgomery Biscuits, and ended the 2010 season with the Durham Bulls.

Anderson, however, has yet to get beyond Durham. Now 30 years old, the former hot international player has provided exactly zero return on the investment, unless one counts decent AAA statistics. This season, Anderson has had his best year with Durham, batting at a .315/.370/.456 clip. While he has yet to show much power, with only nine home runs in 298 at bats, he has also only struck out 38 times while making consistent contact. He has also has played 15 games at first base, 15 in left field, and another 12 games in right field.

Meanwhile, at the major league level, the Rays have had issues at first base and with their outfield depth. Carlos Pena, when not hitting home runs, has provided virtually nothing with the bat. While he has managed to draw 55 walks this season, he has also struck out 116 times. The backup outfielder is the ball player formerly known as Hideki Matsui, and the designated hitter, Luke Scott, recently went through a 0-41 stretch.

Even though reinforcements are on the way, with the eventual returns of Matthew Joyce and Evan Longoria, there are still issues with depth on the bench. If Leslie Anderson is ever to make an impact upon the major league roster, this may be the time. At this point, he has nothing left to prove in the minors – he is a .300 hitter with the ability to make contact. Given the players that have cycled through the Rays bench this season (Matsui, Stephan Vogt, Rich Thompson, Brandon Allen, et al.) he likely couldn’t be worse.

Should Anderson not make an appearance at any point this season, it may be an indictment upon how he is considered within the organization. While, in the grand scheme of things, Anderson’s contract is not egregious, his disappointing career is more about unfulfilled potential than anything else.

Tags: Carlos Pena Leslie Anderson

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