Giving Brian Anderson His Due | The Process Report

Giving Brian Anderson His Due

Given my critical nature towards Kevin Kennedy, it only seems fair to praise Brian Anderson for his work this season.

I have a simple rubric to evaluate whether I enjoy the analyst portion of the booth or not. All I want is someone who can go through a road trip without resorting to truisms and clichés while also being able to display some chemistry with the color man. I hold Dewayne Staats in high company, so it’s not like Kennedy was held back by his partner.

Anderson passes. The chemistry between Anderson and Staats is reminiscent of the days of Joe Magrane. As for the actual analysis, I find myself floored by his thinking at times, but in a good way. Just a week ago, Anderson explained why Joe Maddon uses so many lineups. Previously, he talked about Wade Davis’s splits after getting ahead or falling behind—stuff you’d tend to find by digging around on Baseball-Reference—and there have been other vague hints at a bit of statistical understanding.

As for the in-game analysis, Anderson’s pitching acumen is strong. His willingness to point out good sequencing (and bad sequencing) shows that he is involved and aware of the game and the strengths and weaknesses of the pitchers and batters involved. That sounds like a inconsequential detail, but the most enlightening thing Kennedy ever shared was a tidbit on how Jose Molina was able to transfer the ball quickly because the pitch was located on his throwing arm side. To hear Anderson detail how Jeremy Hellickson set up a pitch is a breath of fresh air.

There are some minor annoyances—he seems to only talk about Shields mechanics as if they were off when bad results occur—but most of it is a given because of his position. Anderson, who relied upon control during his pitching days, has the same self-deprecating sense of humor as Magrane. It’s not unusual to hear him talk about David Price’s velocity in a seemingly wishful manner. Anderson never comes off too strongly and gives Staats room to go off on random tangents when necessary. And for his part, Staats does a fantastic job keeping Anderson’s often subtle and wry remarks from diving into awkward silences or sophomoric hijinks.

Maybe it’s the good vibes from a first place team or maybe it’s the residue from the bizarre REM experiment. Either way, going from Kennedy to Anderson has been a pleasure.

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