Braves One Year Wanker: Garret Anderson

Garret Anderson - Wikipedia

The OF of the late-2000s was largely a mess and that brings us to the subject of the day, Braves One Year Wanker Garret Anderson.

The Have Nots and Has Beens

If thinking about the outfield of the late aughts Braves makes you ache, then you’re probably remembering how poorly constructed and colossal disappointments they were.

By the time the run reached around 2007, the Braves had really run out of homegrown talent. Andruw Jones was nearing the end of his tenure, Ryan Langerhans’ bat had never really developed, and Jeff Francoeur had already started to show that he was not going to be able to make the adjustments to become an All-Star. If not for Matt Diaz, they would have had almost no production in the outfield. By 2008, the cupboard was bare with seemingly no reinforcements on the way. Gregor Blanco, Mark Kotsay, and Jeff Francoeur earned the most PAs in the outfield that year with only Kotsay being remotely acceptable (100 OPS+).

2009 comes, and there’s still nothing. They trade for Nate McLouth to play center, and he’s mostly ok with a 104 OPS+. He wouldn’t implode until the next year. Jeff Francoeur was clearly done, and after a .250/.282/.352 line halfway through 2009, the Braves ship him off for Ryan Church. Church is decent as a LH bat, but there’s still no full-time corner outfielders. Matt Diaz is doing a tremendous job crushing lefties and trying to convince you he can play outfield. But worst of all was who they handed left field to that year: ACHE. Mac Thomason coined that nickname for him, which was an acronym for “Anderson, Cleanup Hitter Extraordinaire.” Obviously we’re talking about Garrett Anderson, one of the worst players to be given a full season of PAs since the early 90’s run began.

Braves One Year Wanker, Garret Anderson

For his career, Garret Anderson was a perfectly cromulent player for the Anaheim teams of the 90’s and 00’s. But that’s about the best I can say about him. He had a career OPS+ of 102, though he did have a couple nice seasons in his peak that allowed him to make a couple All-Star teams and get a couple MVP votes. But he never won a Gold Glove, was never considered to be particularly athletic, and by the time he came to Atlanta at the age of 37, he was done. I can’t decide what was worse; his .268/.303/.401 line (85 OPS+), or the fact that he earned 534 PAs that year and logged 19 games as our clean-up hitter. Who cares; they’re both depressing.

All told, he ended the year with a -1.1 fWAR, a tremendous amount of suck for a team seemingly trying to win their division. They tried to get him off the field. Matt Diaz logged quite a bit of time in LF, especially against lefties, but Diaz was needed in RF because Frenchy had become so terrible. Jordan Schafer, in his rookie season after having tremendous Success as a prospect, only played center. Had he hit, which he did not, he might have played a lot of left field. But to be in a situation where your best possible option for a clear offensive position and the 4th and 5th spots in your lineup is a 37-year old, decrepit outfielder who was really not that good anyway, that’s simple organizational failure.

Braves One Year Wanker, Garret Anderson: An ACHE Repeat?

He’s a lesson for this season, as today’s version of ACHE might very well be Nick Markakis, a left-handed hitting late-30’s outfielder who also had such a low peak that we probably can’t survive his decline. Fortunately, if Nick becomes ACHE, then we have options that weren’t available to the Braves in 2009. I know I can’t survive two of these.

Thanks for reading on Braves One Year Wanker, Garret Anderson. If you enjoyed this piece, check out this wanker, Denny McLain.

18 thoughts on “Braves One Year Wanker: Garret Anderson”

  1. JC’d


    The Glaus DP was manna from heaven.
    The purest manifestation of courage on a baseball field.
    An electric decision making process.
    ‘A thing of beauty is a joy forever.’


  2. Oh ACHE. One of my most hated Braves. If I recall correctly, he did not have the greatest of attitudes either. Cannot remember specifics and maybe my memory is clouded because I disliked him so much.

    This is a great series by the way. Thank you.

  3. I’ll never be able to think of Tanderson without Shanderson. Perhaps the most apt way of describing Josh Anderson is that he did not even rise to the merit of being mentioned in an article about just how crappy our outfield options were that year.

  4. I don’t remember hating ACHE more than Caminiti. Maybe if we’d had someone like Pache or Waters sitting on the bench so Bobby could play ACHE, it would have been different, but he was just another suck outfielder playing in a suck outfield in a suck lineup (minus Chipper).

    I remember Cam going on a micro-tear (maybe the 3-4 day) right before the deadline & thinking “uh-oh, now they’re not going to sign somebody good.”

  5. Yeah, I don’t recall ACHE having an especially offensive personality — he wasn’t like a Robert Fick. I think he may have had a bit of the classic veteran thing of not being able to see that his production was falling and didn’t realize that he wasn’t entitled to a job.

    But there’s never a bad time to remember Operation Shutdown, one of the dumbest and funniest hills an athlete has ever died on:

  6. @Alex

    Speaking of Fick, I had 0 idea he was a child actor! He made cameos on Cheers, Webster, Who’s the Boss, and was in a Gatorade commercial.

    He also sounds like he’s learned from his scumbag ways on the diamond.

  7. Looking back on Josh Anderson, they couldn’t have possibly had any hope in him, though they probably continued to hope that Frenchy would right the ship, Church could at least hit righties well, and/or Schafer was ready to contribute. Josh Anderson just seems like a “well, might as well try”.

  8. I think you might be misremembering Josh Anderson a bit, at least his time with the Braves. He had little to no power to speak of, but had decent on-base skills, was really fast (10 SB to 1 CS), and could play a decent OF. Also put up a 0.7 fWAR that year.

    He never duplicated his stats with other teams, but he carried a .764 OPS in 146 PAs for the Braves.

    Josh was traded in 2009 for Rudy Darrow to clear the path for “Effing Success”.

    Career fWARs
    Effing Success: -0.1
    Josh Anderson: 0.7

  9. @7: The interesting thing is that Operation Shutdown worked. Indeed, I think it works a lot more than people can prove, albeit not by announcement, but by subpar play/attitude to get management to give up on a player. Normally, the player doesn’t announce it because that affects his pay at the next stop, and thenceforward. BUt I do think there are guys who essentially give up to play out the string or get traded.

  10. He wasn’t bad in short time, but he was out of baseball within a year!

  11. Sure, but if I had a team as bad as the Pirates, just for the demonstration value, I would have said: “Fine. There is no competition. You just won’t play. And as long as you’re not playing, itt would be helpful if you pitched BP and helped clean the concession stands after the game.”

  12. @Alex
    Correct. I feel like if JA would’ve played a decade forward or 2 decades back, he would’ve had a decent career. The 2000’s had no time for defensive first speedsters. The 2010’s utilized them the way they should’ve been utilized, and the 1980’s used them because it was written in stone that speedy non-hitters had to leadoff games.

  13. Garret Anderson was the absolute embodiment of indifference in his time here. He was so aggressively apathetic that it perversely made an indelible impression. One example — 2009 was also the year of Boog Sciambi trying to teach Joe Simpson about WAR and Twitter, and one of the features he used to spice up the broadcasts was a graphic showing a few of each player’s favorite things. It was only 3 or 4 questions, and everyone played along. Eventually they got around to Anderson. “Favorite Band” was one of the categories, to which he replied “R&B”. He couldn’t even be bothered to name a band!

  14. I’m not sure that Josh Anderson got a bum rap. He was an unheralded prospect that got a nice little opportunity at the age of 25 based on the ineptitude of the Braves’ front office. He had a nice 146 PAs with the Braves, which he was then able to parlay into an opportunity with the Tigers. After a 57 OPS+ with the Tigers, he got released, but still got another opportunity with Kansas City. Then after a 49 OPS+ with the Royals, he was released again and never played again. For a guy that can’t really hit, I don’t know what he was supposed to be given after he was a career 75 OPS+ 27-year old outfielder. At some point, teams probably figured out that they could knock the bat out of his hands, so stealing bases (his main source of value) became pretty irrelevant.

  15. By no means do I think JA got mistreated and/or a reputation he didn’t deserve. My point to the matter was, like Lane Adams recently, I feel like most will think his time in Atlanta was a failure, when in all actuality, he played pretty well.

    Lane, IMO, is the biggest example we have on this. The dude carried an .818 OPS over 2 years in 151 PAs with 7 HRs and 11 SB to 0 CS, and still many think he was awful.

    Remember the little contributions.

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