Anderson showing signs of encouragement

Given that it was their first home run from an outfielder since May 1, the Braves had every reason to enjoy watching Garret Anderson jog around the bases after taking Max Scherzer deep during Sunday’s win over the D-backs.
But what I found most encouraging about Anderson’s first homer of the season was the fact that it produced a seemingly greater rarity   —  an obvious smile as he entered the dugout.
This isn’t to say that Anderson hadn’t previously smiled since joining the Braves in February.  Nor am I indicating that a player’s value is based on the amount of times that he shows his pearly whites.
But in this case, it was just good to at least see a sign that Anderson is having fun and seemingly getting comfortable with his new environment.   More importantly , in his past 17 games,  he’s hit .333 with a .424 slugging percentage.   
While those numbers might not be eye-popping, they’re pretty impressive when compared to those posted during this span by the Braves other outfielders.    
Dating back to Anderson’s return from the disabled list on May 5, the Braves left fielders have hit .306 with a .743 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage).   Their center fielders (primarily Jordan Schafer) have hit .156 with .408 OPS and their right fielders (primarily Jeff Francoeur) have hit .228 with a .493 OPS.
In other words the mix of Anderson and Matt Diaz in left could prove to be serviceable.  Of course while hitting  .406 with a .563 slugging percentage in his past 13 games, Diaz has also provided the Braves even more reason to also utilize him with greater regularity at the other two outfield positions.
Regardless of how they fix their problems in center and right, the Braves at least have reason to feel better about the $2.5 million that they spent on Anderson.  
In other words, I no longer view Anderson as the $2.5 million mannequin that Scott Boras was shopping.  When I wrote that in April, Anderson was preparing to go on the disabled list and prolong extended strings of inactivity that had started on March 6, when he injured his calf while preparing for his second exhibition games.
Had Anderson shown at least some form of emotion while dealing with his leg ailments, I’d have probably viewed his situation in a more sympathetic manner and strayed away from thoughts about the possibility that he simply didn’t want to be in Atlanta.    
But that’s not who Anderson is.  Instead, he’s a calm and reserved professional, who has remained true to his personality while never attempting to indulge the media with false emotions.    
Having dealt with a handful of players who have displayed a false personality in the public eye, I’ve grown to appreciate guys like Anderson who simply want to play the game and avoid the spotlight that it brings.
Anderson won’t be a defensive asset and he won’t provide the power the Braves desperately need. But while letting his play speak for itself over the past month, he’s steadily proven that he was the best option the Braves had when they were still seeking an outfielder during February’s final week.  
Schafer’s sticking around:   Since recording his most recent multi-hit game on May 7, Jordan Schafer has batted .160 with 25 strikeouts a .229 on-base percentage and a  .187 slugging percentage.   But even with Gregor Blanco showing some recent progress with Triple-A Gwinnett, the Braves haven’t provided indication that they’re ready to send Schafer back to the Minors.  
Over the past two weeks, Blanco has hit .348 (16-for-46) with eight strikeouts, a .426 on-base percentage and a .391 slugging percentage.  

5 Comments

A bad Jordan Schafer is still significantly better than anything Blanco will do. Gregor Blanco is not and never will be a legit major league center fielder. Players like Blanco play for teams like Pittsburgh, KC and Washington, not the Braves.
To his credit, he seems to get more bang out of each and every hot streak he has been on in the past couple years than anyone I’ve ever seen. He wasn’t better than Anderson last season except for the last 10 days of Spring Training, and he isn’t better than Jordan Schafer now, no matter what he hit last week. He took an entire season in Atlanta and showed what he is, a no power slap hitter, who is a non aggressive base runner that plays below average defense with little or no arm while not hitting for average and leading his team in strike outs. If he shows up in ATL, the opposing team’s SLG pct against Atlanta will go up immediately as he routinely chases balls to the fence to pick up and lob back in that Schafer either catches or cuts off.
UGGGGGGGGGGH. I have heard he is a real nice guy but come on. Please fix Schafer instead, or at least give Barton a shot to see what he has. He hustles on every play and is much better defensively than Blanco.

I totally agree. Blanco had his chance and I don’t see him doing any better than last year. I would much rather see Barton get a chance to spell Jordan every now and then. At least we would have some speed on the bench. Norton needs to go anyway. He’s really just dead weight at this point and can’t play in the field.
Maybe we can send Schafer to Texas during the All Star break to have him work with their hitting coach. He seems to be able to fix everyone that Terry can’t work with.

Who is it exactly that Terry CAN work with any more? If he wasn’t the “guy” being groomed to replace Bobby, he’d be out on his wallet looking for a roving instructor job in the minors somewhere. He has sapped the power from just about every guy on the team that dares listen to him.

Haha. Yeah that’s what I meant. None of the young power potential guys have done much after the first year or so after coming up, with the exception of McCann. Kelly should be hitting 25 HRs a year and Jeff should be hitting 30. Like I said before.. let’s keep the guys we have and trade some prospects for Texas’ hitting coach.

I also don’t care for Blanco hes average at best. Barton should be the top outfielder in our minors. B Jones is also nothing special…

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