banner
Aaron Schoonmaker

Big league numbers don't equal big league call for Bulls' Anderson

Posted September 3, 2013
Updated September 4, 2013

Leslie Anderson (24). The Durham Bulls hosted the Charlotte Knights for the Bulls final home game Tuesday night August 27, 2013. (Photo by Jack Tarr)

— In the movie Bull Durham, Crash Davis was a minor-league lifer who “was in the Show for 21 days once.” He went on to break the “dubious” minor league home run record touring the Carolina League, but aged out before he caught the big break. For the past four seasons, the real-life Durham Bulls have seen an aging star produce at a major league level, but at 31 years old, has yet to even crack a 40-man MLB roster.

“You have to be at the right place at the right time,” said Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo. “At this level you have to be more than good, you have to be lucky too.”

Before the start of the 2012 season, Montoyo approached Leslie Anderson and said, ‘if you hit .300 this year, you will get noticed.’ Anderson hit .309.

Before the start of the 2013 season, Montoyo told reporters at media day that he wants nothing more than to have a conversation with Anderson – in Spanish – telling him he’s going to the majors. That conversation never happened.

It boils down to talent, timing and good fortune.

Anderson has the talent part down – and always has. As an 18-year-old rookie in the Cuban league in 2000, Anderson hit .291 and set the rookie record with 28 doubles. He followed that up by hitting .309 in year No. 2. The next two seasons, he saw his average climb to .319 and .337.

As a member of the Cuban National Team, Anderson was an All-Tournament outfielder in the University Games in 2002 and earned a spot on the Cuban World Baseball Classic rosters in 2006 and 2009.

Following a 2008-09 campaign in which Anderson hit .381 and won a Gold Glove in the Cuban league, the Camaguey, Cuba native was dropped from the national team and defected. He signed a four-year, $1.725 million deal with the Tampa Bay Rays and debuted in Charlotte in 2010.

Hitting nine home runs and batting .344 in 69 games between Charlotte and Montgomery, Anderson was promoted to Durham in his first professional season. Unfortunately for him, that is where he has stayed.

“Talking with Charlie over the years, he says to keep playing and do as well as I can here and the chances will come,” Anderson said. “But I try not to worry about it. As long as I’m here, I’m focused on winning a championship with these guys.”

Anderson’s teammates will embark on a championship run starting Wednesday when their opening-round best-of-five playoff series with Indianapolis starts at DBAP. A big part of why they have got to this point is Anderson’s leadership and production.

The 6-foot-1 lefty finished the regular season 11th in the International League with a .292 batting average, was sixth with 74 RBI and tied for 24th with 14 home runs. That is after a 2012 season in which Anderson was third in the IL with a .309 average, committed just one error and led the team in home runs, RBI, total bases, runs scored hits and doubles. He was voted the team MVP each of the last two seasons.

Anderson was invited to big league camp in the spring of 2013, but was once again relegated to Durham when the final rosters were set.

“He’s a little more frustrated because he’s done it again and he hasn’t got the chance,” Montoyo said. “It’s tough when you go back to the same place and you keep doing well, you start thinking ‘what else can I do?’”

One of Anderson’s biggest issues has been timing – it’s less of what he’s doing and more of what others at the big league level are doing. Essentially, Tampa Bay has long rostered similar players with previous big-league experience.

Luke Scott has been the Rays’ left-handed designated hitter for the last two seasons. They also dress left-handed outfielders Sam Fuld Kelly Johnson, Matt Joyce and the newly acquired David DeJesus. If first base was the next option, veteran James Loney stands in his way. Before them were the likes of Carlos Pena, Johnny Damon, Casey Kotchman and Carl Crawford.

Anderson, who lives with his wife and two daughters in Tampa in the offseason and in Durham in the summer, said that he is grateful to his family back in Cuba for letting him pursue a professional baseball career. While in Durham, Anderson said he is grateful to have had four years to build a strong relationship with Montoyo, a native of Puerto Rico.

For the free-agent to be, that relationship could turn into a glowing letter of recommendation.

“Whoever calls me about him, I will tell them he can do well in the big leagues if he gets a chance,” Montoyo said.

With the average age of a major league player hovering around 28 years old, time is running out for Anderson, regardless of his gaudy Triple-A numbers. Question is, after 455 minor league games, will he get is 21 greatest days like Crash did?

2 Comments

This blogpost is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • BattlingBishop 5 Sep 4, 6:20 a.m.

    ^Agreed....he's earned a shot at the Bigs based on his play. Bet his age has a lot to do with it. He's a .295 career hitter in the Minors, clearly deserves to be on the 40 man.

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Sep 3, 10:28 p.m.

    My favorite Bulls player. As much as I like watching him play in Durham, he deserves his chance with the Rays.

  • The Logan Zone

    Today at 11:30 am on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Detroit at New England

    Today at 1:00 pm on FOX50

  • NFL: Cleveland at Atlanta

    Today at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Miami at Denver

    Today at 4:25 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CBB: NC State vs. South Florida

    Today at 4:00 pm on WRAL-FM

  • NFL: Washington at San Francisco

    Today at 4:15 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • NFL: Dallas at NY Giants

    Tonight at 8:30 on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
Final
NCCU 21
NCA 14
 
Final
DAVID 72
UNC 90
Final
ECU 34
TULA 6
 
Final
COL 4
CAR 3
Final
DUKE 70
STAN 59
4:00pm Today
CREI
NCCU
 
4:00pm Today
NCSU
SFLA
 
6:00pm Tonight
MIA
CHA
 
Final
ORL 92
MIA 99
Final
IND 83
PHO 106
Final
NYK 91
PHI 83
Final
CLE 93
TOR 110
Final
HOU 95
DAL 92
Final
MIN 101
SAC 113
Final
SAN 99
BRK 87
Final
MIL 100
WAS 111
Final
UTA 94
NOP 106
6:00pm Tonight
MIA
CHA
 
6:00pm Tonight
MEM
LAC
 
6:00pm Tonight
BOS
POR
 
7:00pm Tonight
OKC
GSW
 
9:30pm Tonight
LAL
DEN
 
Final
UGA 55
CHSO 9
Final
UF 52
EKU 3
Final
OSU 42
IND 27
Final
OKLA 44
KU 7
Final
UAB 18
MARS 23
Final
NEB 24
MINN 28
Final
PURD 14
NW 38
 
Final
ILL 16
PSU 14
Final
MSU 45
RUTG 3
Final
UCF 53
SMU 7
 
Final
SCAR 37
SALABAMA 12
Final
WKENT 45
TXSANANTO 7
 
Final
WAKE 6
VT 3
 
Final
ODU 30
LATU 27
Final
ARST 52
WASU 31
Final
CMICH 20
WMICH 32
 
Final
COLST 58
NMU 20
Final
LALAF 16
APPST 35
Final
BST 45
EMICH 30
Final
HOU 38
TULSA 28
Final
UTAH 10
ARZ 42
Final
FSU 20
BC 17
Final
UNT 17
FIU 14
 
Final
CLEM 28
GASTATE 0
 
Final
ND 28
LOU 31
 
Final
MICH 16
MD 23
 
Final
ARK 30
MISS 0
Final
PITT 30
SYR 7
Final
ISU 31
TTU 34
 
Final
ECU 34
TULA 6
 
Final
IOWA 24
WISC 26
Final
MEM 31
SFLA 20
Final
CAL 17
STAN 38
Final
NMST 17
LAMON 30
Final
ALA 48
WCAR 14
Final
OREG 44
COL 10
Final
MTST 35
FATL 34
Final
UVA 30
MIAMI 13
Final
AUB 31
SAMF 7
Final
TENN 21
MIZZ 29
Final
BAY 49
OKST 28
Final
MSST 51
VANDY 0
Final
UCONN 0
CIN 41
Final
UCLA 38
USC 20
Final
WYO 14
BSU 63
Final
NEV 20
FRES 40
 
Final
WASH 37
ORST 13
Final
HAW 37
UNLV 35
 
Final
PRIN 68
INCWORD 79
 
Final
UMASS 68
ND 81
Final
GEOR 80
RMU 66
 
Final
LAS 59
PETE 50
Final
VT 63
APP 65
 
Final
IUPUI 71
BST 69
Final
WMICH 91
DRAK 75
 
Final
RICH 80
HIGH 56
 
Final
MSST 71
UTST 63
Final
CAMP 48
COL 54
 
Final
DAVID 72
UNC 90
Final
NIOWA 66
UNF 49
 
Final
CSNO 79
SAMF 72
 
Final
YALE 61
MLOWELL 63
 
Final
NEV 50
CLEM 59
Final
PROV 80
FSU 54
 
Final
MARQ 89
NEOM 97
Final
DET 66
SALA 53
 
Final
TXSA 80
TXST 67
 
Final
CHIST 75
TRINCHRIS 52
 
Final
UMO 63
LIB 52
 
Final
BONA 59
CAN 53
 
Final
SAV 87
CLST 83
 
Final
NW 68
ELON 67
 
Final
RFLSH 57
MDES 53
 
Final
CARK 68
SEMIZ 74
 
Final
AFA 90
WSCO 60
 
Final
YOUNG 82
LONG 72
 
Final
MTST 66
SOUTH 48
 
Final
ARKLR 73
UMKC 68
Final
ABCHRIST 81
DUQ 102
 
Final
WEBER 58
LSU 72
 
Final
BUT 80
GHND 39
 
Final
CSFU 70
SJST 66
 
Final
WOFF 72
SD 68
Final
NORST 76
TXSOU 66
 
Final
COOK 42
TOWS 63
 
Final
SILL 46
YALE 53
 
Final
KNST 83
ALCOR 80
 
Final
MAN 78
BING 63
 
Final
JVST 88
MILES 71
 
Final
CSOU 79
WRST 86
 
Final
CITA 81
BOBJONES 50
 
Final
INDST 78
BRO 66
 
Final
WYO 56
COL 33
 
Final
GSOUT 97
FCCOL 41
 
Final
CCAR 76
PIEDINT 33
 
Final
LATU 63
AMER 44
 
Final
MAR 62
ARMY 76
 
Final
TENT 69
CHAT 67
Final
EKENT 115
CLERMONT 50
 
Final
SMU 77
EWASH 68
Final
NIAG 62
HART 65
 
Final
PENN 77
LAF 83
 
Final
UCSB 91
MASTERS 45
 
Final
BUCK 69
MNTER 73
 
Final
VMI 93
UNCW 110
 
Final
RIU 66
NEB 62
Final
NKENTUCKY 98
OHMWSTRN 48
 
Final
GTDNS 73
QUIN 76
 
Final
EMICH 70
UNCG 62
Final
ETST 98
UNCA 87
 
Final
TEMPL 50
UNLV 57
 
Final
STJOE 68
VERM 60
 
Final
MON 65
CCST 50
Final
KSU 78
ILLCH 60
Final
FAIR 60
SHSU 74
Final
LIP 74
TRANSYLVAN 63
 
Final
FUR 55
UCD 58
Final
WKENT 63
BEL 64
Final
NDST 74
HAMP 66
 
Final
IND 85
LAM 72
 
Final
TTU 80
MIZST 68
Final
HOU 72
MRGST 57
 
Final
NAVY 44
NE 68
Final
ALAAM 81
OAKW 61
 
Final
WILL 60
SELA 57
 
Final
TULA 89
SONO 45
 
Final
TXPA 82
A 77
 
Final
RICE 65
WMARY 69
Final
TXARL 87
HOUB 69
 
Final
MINN 69
UMBC 51
 
Final
UTEP 77
NMST 76
 
Final
GONZ 109
STTHOM 55
Final
SUTAH 75
WLVRN 85
 
Final
PBY 49
MORE 69
 
Final
DUKE 70
STAN 59
Final
WISC 78
BSU 54
Final
PORT 75
SIUE 53
9:30am Today
MAINE
VALPO
 
11:30am Today
GMAS
COC
 
12:00pm Today
FSU
UMASS
 
12:00pm Today
SHSU
WOFF
 
12:00pm Today
UNCG
YOUNG
 
12:30pm Today
CMICH
ARKPB
 
1:00pm Today
ILLCH
SILL
 
1:30pm Today
MORE
AMER
 
1:30pm Today
CORN
DREX
 
2:00pm Today
CCST
COOK
 
2:00pm Today
ARKLR
CSNO
 
2:00pm Today
LEH
CLMB
 
2:00pm Today
USB
MERMAR
 
2:00pm Today
FAIR
SD
 
2:00pm Today
NMU
TEXAM
 
2:00pm Today
STLU
TAMCC
 
2:30pm Today
EMICH
LONG
 
2:30pm Today
ND
PROV
 
3:00pm Today
RAD
CATAWBA
 
3:00pm Today
DEN
COPST
 
3:00pm Today
UAB
JST
 
3:00pm Today
WICHS
NWM
 
3:00pm Today
OKLA
NWST
 
3:30pm Today
PSU
USC
 
3:30pm Today
KSU
YALE
 
4:00pm Today
CREI
NCCU
 
4:00pm Today
NCSU
SFLA
 
4:00pm Today
UCR
STKAT
 
4:05pm Today
HC
NICHOLSCOL
 
4:30pm Today
BC
DAY
 
4:30pm Today
MON
TOWS
 
4:30pm Today
SAMF
UMKC
 
4:30pm Today
HOF
WAGN
 
5:00pm Tonight
CIN
EILL
 
5:00pm Tonight
UGA
FATL
 
5:00pm Tonight
BRAD
NCAT
 
5:00pm Tonight
LATU
PBY
 
5:00pm Tonight
RUTG
Terriers
 
5:30pm Tonight
NAVY
BING
 
6:00pm Tonight
SHU
GWEBB
 
6:00pm Tonight
UNT
IONA
 
6:00pm Tonight
KENT
MNTST
 
6:00pm Tonight
FORD
MLOWELL
 
6:00pm Tonight
UCF
USCU
 
6:30pm Tonight
SCAR
AKR
 
6:30pm Tonight
WVU
UCONN
 
7:00pm Tonight
CALST
DEL
 
7:00pm Tonight
HOW
HOOD
 
7:00pm Tonight
OSU
SHU
 
7:00pm Tonight
VANDY
TENST
 
8:00pm Tonight
NE
MAN
 
8:00pm Tonight
COLST
MERC
 
8:00pm Tonight
MISS
NARZ
 
8:00pm Tonight
WASH
PAC
 
8:00pm Tonight
LMU
SDCHR
 
9:00pm Tonight
CHAR
MIAMI
 
9:00pm Tonight
ILLST
ODU
 
9:00pm Tonight
GAELS
UCI
 
10:00pm Tonight
UCLA
LBSU
 
10:30pm Tonight
SEAT
MONT
 
Final
OTT 2
STL 3
Final
WAS 1
BUF 2
Final
PHI 4
CLB 2
Final
TOR 4
DET 1
 
Final
TAM 2
MIN 1
Final
BOS 0
MON 2
 
Final
NYI 4
PIT 1
 
Final
NAS 3
FLA 2
Final
DAL 5
LOS 4
Final
COL 4
CAR 3
Final
EDM 1
CHI 7
Final
CAL 5
NJD 4
 
Final
SJS 3
ARI 4
4:30pm Today
WIN
STL
 
7:00pm Tonight
NYR
MON
 
8:00pm Tonight
ANA
ARI
 
9:30pm Tonight
VAN
CHI
 
1:00pm Today
HOU
CIN
1:00pm Today
ATL
CLE
1:00pm Today
NEP
DET
1:00pm Today
MIN
GBP
1:00pm Today
IND
JAC
1:00pm Today
CHI
TAM
1:00pm Today
PHI
TEN
4:05pm Today
SEA
ARI
4:05pm Today
SDC
STL
4:25pm Today
DEN
MIA
4:25pm Today
SFX
WAS
8:30pm Tonight
NYG
DAL
Final
NCCU 21
NCA 14