Name: Jacob Anderson
Acquired: 1st round (2011)
Opening Day age: 19
Height/weight: 6’4”/190 lbs
Best/worst tool: Power/arm
Risk factor: High
Despite playing almost exclusively first base in his final high school season, Jacob Anderson has many of the attributes that Toronto seeks in an outfielder, and he should be given ample opportunity to prove he can play there. Which outfield position he’ll eventually settle into is up for debate. He’s very athletic and has a tall, lean frame at 6’4” and 190 lbs. His fringe-plus speed gives him excellent range in the outfield, but he doesn’t always make the best reads. His arm is merely average, which could inhibit him from ever playing a good right field. Center field would be the ideal position for Anderson, but if his arm and/or glove hold him back, he could easily slide down the defensive spectrum to left field where he’d be a solid defender. There are far fewer questions regarding Anderson’s offensive abilities. Anderson stands tall in the box, using his height to maintain leverage in his swing. His timing mechanism is a quick toe tap with his front foot. Anderson has quick hips and a smooth follow through, generating excellent bat speed on a repeatable, level swing path. He can get overly aggressive at times which leads to some difficulties with breaking balls, but his plate approach should improve with professional coaching, as scouts consider him a student of the game. He could be an above average hitter. Anderson’s best tool, however, is his power. His bat speed and level swing are perfect ingredients for line drive power, but with the projection in his frame and the leverage in his swing, he has plus power potential. It’s still very raw, but he could be a 25-30 home run hitter at his peak.
2011 Statistics and Analysis
37 AB, .405/.476/.622 (1.098 OPS), 2 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 2 SB, 4/8 BB/K
As a late signee in the draft, Anderson only managed to play 9 games in 2011 with the Gulf Coast Blue Jays. Regardless, he still managed to show off the tools that made him a first round pick back in June. Similar to his high school career, Anderson racked up the extra base hits (217 ISO) while maintaining a high batting average. He also showed off his speed, stealing 2 bases in those 9 games without getting caught. While the sample size is extremely small, he had an excellent walk rate at 9.5%, with an acceptable strikeout rate of 19%. The 2012 season should provide a much better indication of the talent the 19 year old possesses, as he should see between 250 and 300 at-bats.
Expected 2012 Assignment: Rookie-class Bluefield or Low-A Vancouver
As a 19 year old who grew up playing baseball in the highly competitive state of California, I feel Anderson could handle moving straight into full season ball with Single-A Lansing. Despite that, it seems far more likely that Toronto will have Anderson follow a development path similar to that of another Californian and Blue Jays top prospect, Jake Marisnick. It seems probable that Anderson will start the 2012 season with one of the short season affiliates –- Bluefield or Vancouver -– before finishing the season with Single-A Lansing in preparation for his full season debut in 2013. Given his advanced offensive tools, it’s not out of the question for Anderson to cover the four full season levels (Single-A, High-A, Double-A, Triple-A) in three years, reaching the major leagues in late 2015, and competing for a regular spot in the lineup in early 2016.
Perfect World Projection: Everyday CF who contends for Silver Slugger awards.