Red Sox first base prospect Lars Anderson has gone through a lot in the past year. Before the 2009 season began, Anderson was considered the No. 1 prospect in Boston's farm system by many. With that pressure, Anderson struggled throughout the season and his stock dropped. He knew he had to make some adjustments going into 2010 and he did just that.
Namely? He's a grunter now. He likes to grunt when he swings.
Not only does he grunt, but his Momma told him to grunt, too:
Red Sox coaches noted that you seemed like a more aggressive hitter in spring training this year, and that you started grunting while swinging.
It kind of started in the offseason as getting back to being a primal being that we are, eating with my hands and whatnot. That was a huge thing, just attacking. I was hitting in my cage. My dad built a cage in our backyard. The day before I was hitting and the ball wasn’t going anywhere. I was like, ‘Man, I’m frustrated. I feel like I’ve got no pop right now.’ My Mom came out and she said, ‘Hey, I just read this article, you should grunt.’ I swear to god. She read it in a magazine. It increases tennis players’ serves by like 4.7 mph and their returns by like 4 mph. Your core contracts. So I started grunting. We went out on the field the next day and the balls were flying out. It was really wild.
Has anyone objected or given you grief?
There was a pitcher in Indianapolis who was yelling at me because I was grunting. He was like, ‘Stop grunting.’ … It’s not showing him up. I grunt at everybody. … It feels good, man.
Anderson also talked about the pressure of having the spotlight on him. He specifically notes when he met former Sox utility man and now WEEI analysis Lou Merloni at a Rookie Development Program. So, in a strange sort of way, Lou Merloni changed Lars Anderson's life:
I’m going to start a religion called Merloni-ism. We’ll wear little hats.
Oh, Lars. You'll learn soon enough. Yes you will.