Brandon Watson and Mitch Hilligoss have made it a bit difficult for people to appreciate a modest hitting streak. With streaks of 43 and 38 games, respectively, the duo has made a modest 10-game streak something about which not many will sit up and take notice.
Still, Bryan Anderson isn't complaining. The Springfield catcher carried a 10-game streak into Saturday's contest against Tulsa and had collected a hit in 15 of 16 games as well. So, even if the average fan hasn't taken notice, Anderson will still get a moment of recognition next month.
That's because the folks in baseball have noticed what St. Louis' former fourth-round pick (2005) has been doing in the Texas League this season. So much so they named him as one of the catchers for the United States Team that will play in the XM Satellite Radio Futures Game on July 8 at AT&T Park in San Francisco. Corpus Christi's J.R. Towles was named as the other U.S. catcher.
Anderson was hitting .325 through 53 games, fourth best on the circuit. While his teammate and former top pick Colby Rasmus garners much of the attention in Springfield and throughout the Cardinals' system, the unassuming Anderson is certainly making his case for some recognition this year.
"I really didn't even know at all that I was being considered," said Anderson, who has a lifetime .314 average through 213 Minor League games. "It was a big surprise when I found out. I was doing an autograph signing in the morning (Thursday), and my teammate Chris Perez was watching on the Internet. He called to let me know.
"It's probably right up there with being drafted. That day was like a dream come true. This is an honor to go, and it's really big for me. In the past, we've always been playing while that game was going on. Last year, I got to see a few innings, though. It looked great, and I'm looking forward to it."
What makes Anderson's selection more noteworthy is the fact that this he's playing this season at the Double-A level after playing in the Midwest League a year ago, skipping a stop in the Class A Advanced Florida State League. Still, he hit .327 in April and, after leveling off in May, has been tearing through June, hitting .417 through his first 60 at-bats.
"It's been going pretty much the way I expected," he said. "It's a big jump from low-A to Double-A, but I'm trying to learn every day and get better. The hardest part and probably the biggest thing has been the mental aspect. It's different up here. It's more intense.
"It's a lot of fun, but you have to know the hitters and the pitching staff, and you have to know how to call games and call what pitch. I ask a lot of questions because I'm trying not to make the same mistake twice. I know there have been one or two games when I see a guy late on a fastball and then I call for an off-speed pitch and he ripped it in the gap for a double. When I got back to the dugout the manager [Pop Warner] was like, 'Why did you just do that?' It's part of the learning."
Anderson said he's been working on a great deal on his blocking and receiving, particularly during the last month or so. While he's seen the number of passed balls he's committed go down, the nine he's let by were still the most among Texas League catchers heading into the weekend. Most pundits, however, believe that any shortcomings he has behind the plate -- and they are few -- will be offset by his bat.
"I've definitely set goals for myself," Anderson said. "My goal in Spring Training was to just get here to Double-A. Once I got here, my goal was to get better defensively. But I didn't set any numbers or anything. Offensively, I wanted to hit .300 and drive in a few more runs than I did last year ."
Anderson is working hard on the former (defense) and seems well on his way to the latter. And some people have begun to notice. Next month, when he takes the field in San Francisco, he'll get the chance to enlighten the folks outside of the baseball world.
Kevin Czerwinski is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.