Meridian Star


June 12, 2014

West’s Anderson makes it official, signs with Marlins

MERIDIAN — COLLINSVILLE — West Lauderdale High School's Blake Anderson can recall the first time he fell in love with the game of baseball.

He was 4-years-old and was a regular at all of his father’s baseball games, of which he coached a travel-ball team to a World Series appearance.

Fast forward to present day, and Anderson has blossomed into a 6-foot-4, 210-pound tantalizing catching prospect. This past season, he led the Knights to a MHSAA Class 4A state championship while hitting at a .438 clip and slugging a team-high eight home runs. Additionally, Anderson was named the state’s Class 4A Player of the Year.

The accomplishments continued to roll in last week as the Miami Marlins selected Anderson No. 36 overall in Competitive Balance Round A of the 2014 MLB Amateur Draft.

“(Anderson’s) got what we call the tools of the trade,” Marlins area scouting director Mark Willoughby said. “He’s a big, strong kid, and has upside, and I think the swing works. He’s got great makeup, and he’s got a lot of passion for the game. He’s what we’re looking for overall behind the plate."

Wednesday, Anderson and the Marlins agreed to terms on a contract with a signing bonus slightly below the $1.57 million allotted to his draft position, according to Neil.

“It was negotiated before the pick happened," Neil said.

Added Anderson, “It definitely shows what (the Marlins) think of me and have invested in me. I hope I can prove them right.”

Anderson was in Destin, Fla. with other members of the 2014 state champion Knights, including Ole Miss signee Will Stokes and East Mississippi Community College signee Colton McKeithen, among others, when he received a call from the Marlin’s organization.

“They’ve been tremendous friends to me throughout the whole process,” Anderson said. “It feels good for them to be around for everything.”

Added Neil, “This is a tremendous year for all the talent in the surrounding area. It's not just Blake. All of these kids are tremendous baseball players and are a close-knit group.”

In the coming weeks, Anderson will report to the Gulf Coast Marlins, Miami’s Rookie Ball affiliate, in Jupiter, Fla.

“Being away from home is going to be a big adjustment for him,” Willoughby said. “Obviously, for any kid, being away from home is a big adjustment. The culture is going to be a little different than what he is used to, but I think he has the makeup to handle it.”

Added Anderson, “I’m just going to play baseball like I normally would, but there is a little more riding it on it now, and it’s going to be a grind.”

In addition to his catching duties at West Lauderdale High School under coach Jerry Boatner, Anderson has the added benefit of having participated in a number of highly competitive traveling squads, including serving as a member of the East Cobb Astros as a 16-year old, who finished as the No. 1 travel ball team in the country.

“It’s the best of the best, and that’s where you get to see yourself stacked up against the rest,” Anderson said of travel-ball. “That’s what I believe helped me out the most. Playing big tournaments against the best in the country showed me where I was."

Through the years, Anderson’s desire and dedication for the game would grow to the point in which he would eventually become a member of his own multiple travel-ball squads.

“When it got into the possibility of Blake having a future in baseball, he went off for a few summers for travel ball,” said Neil Anderson, Blake’s father. “He played it all growing up. Blake became more dedicated (to baseball) when he was 13, and he came up to me then and said that he wanted to play baseball and he wanted to be the best, and he always tried to work harder than anybody else.”

Yet it  didn’t always come so easily to Anderson, as travel ball allowed the top pick an avenue to evaluate himself amongst the nation’s best amateur players.

“It showed me where I was and where I needed to be and what I needed to work on,” Anderson said. “I needed to work out and get bigger. After watching some of those other guys’ swing, you get to see where you are as a player.”

With a state championship, player-of-the-year honors and a high-selection in the MLB Draft within the last month, it’s been a whirlwind of a ride for the Marlins’ prospect.

“It’s amazing,” said Anderson, who is also the son of Cissy and the brother of Cody and Amber. “I guess 10 years ago if I wrote down what all I wanted to accomplish, this is what I would have said.”

Text Only
AP Video
Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter

Local Sports