professional season for Syketo Anderson, an outfielder in
the Chicago Cubs organization, has been a major success for the
leadoff hitter and left fielder for the parent club's short season A
affiliate in Boise, Idaho. But the 2001 season didn't start
out that way for the Alabama native, as he hit only .161 in 18
games for the Lansing Lugnuts of the Midwest League.
A return trip
to the Cubs' extended spring training camp in Arizona after his
experience in Lansing lead to an adjustment in Anderson's batting stance.
The change in his approach at the plate resulted in a Northwest
League batting championship for Anderson.
"I used to be
squatted down more (when batting)," Anderson said about the
change in his stance, "and trying to slap the ball. When I came down
from Lansing, I told myself I was going to stand up (in the batter's
box), and it gave me a little more power."
After the end
of the extended spring season in June, Anderson was assigned to the short
season Boise Hawks, who were in their first season as a Cubs
affiliate after more than a decade with the Angels organization. The
transition for both the Hawks front office and their loyal fans was
easy, as the Cubs sent a solid club to Boise for the 2001 season.
This year's version of the Hawks have dominated the Northwest League,
coming close to setting a league record for wins and easily winning the
East Division title.
lead the way for Boise's high-powered offense from the leadoff spot in the
order. The Hawks' leftfielder, known to teammates and fans as
"Keto," is leading the league in batting with a .377
average, more than 30 points higher than teammates Condor
Cash and Brad Bouras, who rank second and third in the league. He
also leads the league in runs scored with 67, and ranks third in stolen
bases with 23, third in on base percentage (.406) and fifth in
slugging percentage (.527). With 106 hits, he still has a chance to
break the league record of 113 hits in a season, set in
hitter, who stands 5-11 and weighs a solid 180 pounds, has the ability to
spray the ball around the field but with the power to turn on a pitch and
drive it into the gap. Anderson has hit a more than respectable six
homeruns in 281at bats.
challenge facing Anderson is improving his defense. Like his brother
Marlon, a starter with the Philadelphia Phillies, he was a second baseman
prior to turning pro. Anderson made the change to the
outfield in his first professional season with the Cubs Arizona
League team in 1999 .
brother already in the major leagues has been a plus for Anderson.
"I get a chance to see how he works out," he says about his brother, who
is five years older than Syketo. "He's a role model for me."
The Anderson brothers have worked out together at their family home in
Alabama in past off-seasons. Marlon recently got married and settled
in the Tampa, Florida area, so Syketo will visit him for workouts this
goal is to advance to high class A Daytona in the Florida State League
next year instead of making a return trip to Lansing. His
performance in Boise this season certainly makes a strong case for that
jump in 2002.