NEW BRITAIN, Conn. -- When the Boston Red Sox selected Lars Anderson in the 18th round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft, the talented first baseman had a decision to make -- kick off his professional career or accept a scholarship to play baseball at Cal-Berkeley in his home state.
Anderson chose the pros, receiving an $825,000 signing bonus from the Red Sox, and he quickly proved his value. He earned Boston's Minor League Offensive Player of the Year honor in 2008 after batting .317 with 18 homers and 80 RBIs between Class A Advanced Lancaster and Double-A Portland.
The 21-year-old was named an Eastern League All-Star this season and is batting .242/.335/.361 with eight home runs and 49 RBIs in 98 games for the Sea Dogs, striking out 100 times while drawing 51 walks. Disappointing numbers for Anderson, but at 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, he has the tools to hit for average and power. He's also worked on his defense, committing only six errors this year.
Aside from being one of the top prospects in the Red Sox system, Anderson is an avid reader and music fan. MiLB.com recently caught up with the California native to talk about being drafted by Boston, his prospect status and his take on all sorts of musical genres.
MiLB.com: You once said the Red Sox did a good job of selling themselves to you and persuaded you to sign. What exactly did they do to help you reach that decision?
Lars Anderson: Initially when I got drafted, [I thought] if I didn't go in the earlier rounds, then I wouldn't want to sign. I just wanted the Draft to be over and go to school. I wasn't really leaning one way or another, but I was fairly certain I was going to go to school. It was a long process with a lot of waiting. Red Sox scouts came out to tournaments and that's what made it make sense to me that I was physically and mentally mature enough to handle the jump. They explained it in a way that signing with them was the logical thing to do, which made it an easy choice.
MiLB.com: Being in the position you're in today, how happy are you with the choice you made?
LA: I love school and sometimes I really miss the social culture and academics, being able to be with that many open-minded people striving for the same goals intellectually. I think it would've been great, but right now I'm happy playing ball. I don't really know about spinning my wheels in college, but I know I'm getting better now than I would be if I were in school -- not bashing on any schools.
MiLB.com: How do you deal with all the media attention as you get closer to the Major League level?
LA: It gets tired, not just from the media, but when people talk to you, whether it's family or friends, they'll associate you with baseball. In the offseason, I'll see someone and it's like, "Oh, when are you going back? Where are you starting this year?" I've answered that literally hundreds of times. I'm sure you have a question that people always ask you: "How's your job going?" So, it's a matter of how old that can get. That's the tough part. I think it's important to not vary answers, but it's good to sometimes come at them with a fresh perspective and change things around a bit while keeping it the same.
MiLB.com: Paul Molitor was at one of your games and told me you have a sweet left-handed swing. What's it like getting a compliment like that from someone who had 3,000-plus hits and is in the Hall of Fame?
LA: That's awesome to hear, because it helps with confidence. I've always seen him as a classy guy and a consistent player who I looked up to. He was really in his prime when I was looking to collect baseball cards and ready to pay attention. He was maybe a bit past his prime when I got a chance to see him, but it's great to hear something like that from a guy who definitely knows what he was doing.
MiLB.com: So, all the reading and writing you do, did it come from where you grew up in California?
LA: Some of it. I don't live in the most counter-cultural hot bed, but I went to a pretty liberal school -- a lot of art and working with your hands. I even worked with some farm animals.
MiLB.com: What kind of work with farm animals?
LA: Off the top of my head, I've sheared a sheep, milked a cow. I also built a gazebo and I did a bunch of planting and gardening.
MiLB.com: So are you the handyman on the team?
LA: [Laughs] Nah, they keep pretty good care of us here.
MiLB.com: What's your favorite song? Favorite band?
LA: "Like a Rolling Stone" by Bob Dylan, and probably the Grateful Dead.
MiLB.com: When you step up to the plate, are there any songs going through your head?
LA: I try to be comfortable, so I've done that before. I liked Incubus' song "Privilege." They're also one of my favorite bands.
MiLB.com: What's your opinion on country music?
LA: I don't like country-rock, per se, but a few guys on the team play some stuff I dig. I find country music, at least older country music, to have influenced a lot of people. I like bluegrass and folk. The Grateful Dead did a lot of country-based music, but country-rock isn't my thing.
MiLB.com: How about rap?
LA: I used to love hip-hop, but I don't really listen to it as much anymore. I just got bored with it. There is nothing really new that pops out at me. There are a few underground guys who are really sick, but those guys get no love at all. All it is are guys on the radio with songs that have big bass, or are bragging about how big the size of their rooms are, so it gets old quick. I like underground rap. There is a rap band from Oakland that I like, Immortal Technique, who have some pretty political rap lyrics. I love Outkast, especially their earlier stuff, so they are definitely one of my favorite hip-hop groups.
LA: Never really fell in love with R&B. I don't know why, but I guess I'd dig the Temptations or something like that. But you know who I really do like? That guy D'Angelo. He did the music video with no clothes on. That was pretty crazy.
MiLB.com: So what exactly is your music taste?
LA: I like a lot of stuff. The common answer is "I like everything," but that's not necessarily true. That's what most people say when, really, they only like maybe two types of music. I'd say a lot of different forms of rock are my music taste. I'm kind of digging some techno [and] house music these days. They play it a lot in the clubhouse.
Matthew Stucko is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.