Now Calling Leslie Anderson?

By David Hill

As the rosters have expanded, teams are making their callups from the minor leagues. Thus far, the Rays have called up six players – Jeff Niemann, Cesar Ramos, Rich Thompson, Reid Brignac, Brandon Gomes, Dane De La Rosa, and Stephen Vogt. As the minor league seasons begin to wind down, more players are expected to be called up soon.

One of the players that would seemingly have an opportunity for a September callup would be Leslie Anderson. This season, Anderson has put together a line of .309/.356/.452 with 14 home runs, 21 doubles, and 56 RBI. His .309 batting average ranks third in the International League, trailing only the slap hitting Jose Constanza and Mauro Gomez. Anderson has been versatile this season for Durham, appearing in twenty or more games at first base, left field, and right field.

Theoretically, calling up Leslie Anderson would seem to make sense. First off, Triple-A Durham’s season is over, so would not be losing a key player in their lineup. Secondly, Carlos Pena essentially been a black hole in the lineup, and has lost playing time to Jeff Keppinger at first base. So, why not see what they have in Anderson, and give him a chance?

Part of the problem may be due tot he fact that Anderson is not on the 40 man roster. To promote him, they would need to add him to the 40 man roster, which can be done with any player in the minor leagues at any time. However, since the Rays already have every spot on the 40 man roster filled, they would need to place one of those players on waivers, and risk losing their services. Considering the 40 man roster has players such as Thompson and Josh Lueke currently taking up space, would this be much of a loss?

Apparently, the Rays believe so. As unlikely as it would seem to be that a player like Thompson would be claimed due to his two total major league hits or a player like Lueke would be claimed for his 7.25 ERA in the majors and 5.59 ERA at Triple-A this year, the Rays seemingly would prefer to retain their services instead of giving Anderson a trial for fifty or so at bats.

Next season, Anderson is heading into the final year of a four year, $1.725Million contract signed in 2010. Perhaps he gets a chance to prove that he can contribute on the major league level in 2013, as their would appear to be room for him on the 40 man roster. However, between his age, 30, and his lack of progress until this season, Anderson appears to be buried as organizational filler, regardless of his performance.