Leslie Anderson arrived in Tampa with a lot of promise and high expectations. Now in the final year of his four year contract, Anderson has yet to get past AAA and is running out of chances to make an impression. In the Rays major league camp as a non-roster invitee, Anderson likely would need to have an exceptional spring and take advantage of virtually every opportunity he gets to have a shot at cracking the 25 man roster.
Thus far, Anderson has done just that. Even though it is extremely early in the Grapefruit League, Anderson leads the league with five RBIs, hit a two run home run in the Rays opener against the Red Sox, and had two hits on Sunday. Best of all, this start has gotten the attention of Joe Maddon.
“I think it is [coming together] quite frankly,” Maddon said. “Talking to him, he looks stronger to me. He’s definitely more confident. He’s more comfortable here. I think a lot of those things, when he showed up there was a lot of discomfort for him, culturally. Right now, he looks like he has a pretty good handle on things. Unequivocally, he looks good.”
Anderson has also drawn praise for his defense at first, where Maddon also noted that he appears more comfortable and seems to have a better feel defensively. With the Rays having an opening for a backup first baseman/corner outfielder, does this mean that Anderson may finally get a chance to make an impact on the Rays?
This hot start appears as though it may improve the long odds that Leslie Anderson had against him heading into camp. Catching the eye of the manager certainly helps. For someone that may have been on the verge of becoming nothing more than an afterthought and minor league filler, Anderson may force his way into the Rays’ plans if his hot start in spring training is something he can sustain.