Knowledge Is Power For Red Sox's Anderson
BOSTON—On the surface, Lars Anderson's 2011 season in Triple-A is difficult to distinguish from his 2010 campaign.
After an early-season promotion to Pawtucket in 2010, Anderson hit .262/.340/.428 with 10 homers and 45 extra-base hits in 113 games. In 2011, playing a full season there, he hit .265/.369/.422 with 14 homers and 47 extra-base hits in 136 games.
Yet there was evident progress, according to the player and Red Sox organization. Anderson, who turned 24 on Sept. 25, led the International League with 80 walks, a testament to his plate discipline.
Perhaps more interesting was a part of Anderson's game that did not show up in his statistics. Chiefly, in his age 23 season, the first baseman's knowledge of his swing evolved to give him a better understanding of how he might unlock greater power potential.
"Maybe the results weren't terribly different, but I feel like the season was better," Anderson said. "The knowledge that I have about my swing now and my approach now is greater this year than last year.
"I know that when my swing is short, tight and crisp, amazing things happen. The ball jumps. I get surprised about the results. It just shows that, instead of going up there and trying to swing as hard as I can, less is more. It's hard to do every time, but I know it's one of the keys to my swing."
PawSox hitting coach Chili Davis spent the year working with Anderson on the refinement of that compact swing, encouraging him to take the mentality of an all-fields, line-drive hitter who is capable of hitting the ball for power. In the 6-foot-4, 215-pound Anderson, Davis saw a player who has the offensive skill set of a big league first baseman with significant power potential.
"He knows he has power. He's got a great frame, good bat speed, good hands and a nice swing," Davis said. "Once he hones his skills and understands the hitter he can be, he has the skills to drive the ball to left field, center field or right field."
• Catcher Christian Vazquez was named Red Sox minor league defensive player of the year. The 21-year-old, a 2008 11th rounder, also hit .283/.358/.505 with 18 homers for low Class A Greenville.
• Third baseman Garin Cecchini, whose promising debut season in short-season Lowell ended in July due to a broken wrist, was slated to return to play in instructional league toward the end of September.